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Irelands Best Hikes

Hiking ireland, irish walks, forest walks, pilgrimages ireland

Ireland, renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, offers some of the most captivating hiking trails in the world. From rugged coastal paths to serene mountain treks, the country’s diverse terrain provides a hiker’s paradise. Here’s a guide to some of Ireland’s best hikes, each offering unique experiences and stunning views.

1. Wicklow Way

Location: County Wicklow
Distance: 127 kilometers (79 miles)
Duration: 7-10 days

Overview: Starting in the suburbs of Dublin and winding through the Wicklow Mountains, this trail offers a mix of forests, lakes, and mountain views. Highlights include Glendalough, an ancient monastic settlement, and the tranquil Lough Tay, often called the “Guinness Lake” due to its dark peaty waters and surrounding white sand.

2. The Kerry Way

Location: County Kerry
Distance: 214 kilometers (133 miles)
Duration: 9-12 days

Overview: One of Ireland’s longest signposted walking trails, the Kerry Way takes you through the picturesque Iveragh Peninsula. The trail offers stunning coastal views, lush green landscapes, and quaint villages. Points of interest include Killarney National Park, the Lakes of Killarney, and the rugged Skellig Islands visible from the trail.

3. Croagh Patrick

Location: County Mayo
Distance: 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) round trip
Duration: 3-4 hours

Overview: Known as Ireland’s holy mountain, Croagh Patrick is a pilgrimage site offering panoramic views of Clew Bay from the summit. The hike is steep and challenging, but the breathtaking scenery and spiritual significance make it a rewarding experience.

4. The Dingle Way

Location: County Kerry
Distance: 179 kilometers (111 miles)
Duration: 8-10 days

Overview: This circular route around the Dingle Peninsula is famed for its coastal scenery, historical sites, and vibrant Gaelic culture. Walkers will pass through charming villages, ancient ring forts, and the iconic Slea Head, one of the westernmost points in Europe.

5. Slieve Donard

Location: County Down
Distance: 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) round trip
Duration: 4-5 hours

Overview: The highest peak in Northern Ireland, Slieve Donard offers a challenging climb rewarded by spectacular views of the Mourne Mountains and the Irish Sea. The trail follows the Glen River before ascending steeply to the summit.

6. The Beara Way

Location: Counties Cork and Kerry
Distance: 206 kilometers (128 miles)
Duration: 9-12 days

Overview: Less frequented than its neighbor, the Kerry Way, the Beara Way offers a more remote and rugged experience. The trail encompasses coastal paths, mountain tracks, and ancient sites like the stone circle at Ardgroom. The Beara Peninsula’s wild beauty is a hidden gem.

7. Carrauntoohil

Location: County Kerry
Distance: 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) round trip
Duration: 6-8 hours

Overview: As Ireland’s highest peak, Carrauntoohil in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks range presents a challenging climb with several routes to the summit. The Devil’s Ladder route is the most popular, offering steep ascents and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lakes.

8. Connemara National Park

Location: County Galway
Trails: Various, from short walks to longer hikes
Duration: 1-4 hours

Overview: Connemara National Park offers a variety of trails suitable for all levels, from easy walks to more strenuous hikes. The Diamond Hill Loop is particularly popular, offering panoramic views of the Twelve Bens, Kylemore Abbey, and the Atlantic coastline.

Additional hikes:

For Moderate Hikers:

  • Mount Errigal, County Donegal: Climb “Errigal, king of all mountains” for panoramic views of Donegal’s rugged landscape. This is a popular route, so expect company on the trail.
  • The Causeway Coastal Walk (Sections), County Antrim: Explore dramatic coastlines and geological wonders on sections of this famous route. Choose a shorter section like the Giants Causeway Loop or Kinbane Head for a moderate challenge.
  • Crone Wood and Maulin Mountain Loop, County Wicklow: Explore the beauty of Wicklow Mountains National Park with this varied loop. Hike through ancient woodlands before ascending Maulin Mountain for stunning views.

For Leisurely Strolls:

  • Cliffs of Moher Coastal Trail, County Clare: Walk along the edge of these awe-inspiring cliffs for dramatic ocean views and seabird sightings. This is an easy, well-maintained trail with plenty of photo opportunities.
  • Howth Cliff Loop, County Dublin: Enjoy coastal scenery close to Dublin. This easy loop trail offers stunning views of the Irish Sea and Howth Head.
  • Slieve Foye Loop, County Louth: Hike through rolling hills and farmland with panoramic views of the Irish countryside. This is a peaceful and scenic route perfect for a relaxing walk.

Whether you’re seeking a challenging mountain ascent or a leisurely coastal walk, Ireland’s diverse hiking trails offer something for everyone. Each hike provides a unique way to experience the country’s natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. So lace up your hiking boots, pack your gear, and embark on an unforgettable adventure through Ireland’s most scenic landscapes.

Author: Thiago

I moved to Ireland 2012. I work as a business administrator and travel a lot to Europe with my work. I enjoy writing and athletics during my vacation and try to visit friends and family every year in Brazil.
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