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Hiking in Ireland

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Photo: Maren Ingrid

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Green, lush and wild, Ireland is a hiker’s paradise. Walks in Ireland boast a veritable plethora of wonderful experiences: from jaw-dropping cliff top walks and magnificent ocean headlands, to a treasure trove of dramatic and varied mountain ranges.

With six unique national parks, a sinuous coastline and an extensive network of waymarked trails, it’s as though Ireland was designed to be the perfect hiking land. Its mountains come in all shapes and sizes. From the iconic and evocative rosy glow of Errigal’s quartzite ramparts, to the razor-sharp arêtes and deep gullies of MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, even the most discerning hillwalkers extoll Ireland’s virtues.

Discover the sensation of walking high above the tempestuous Atlantic. Some of the most spectacular hikes in Ireland are found on its 1,700 miles (2,800 km) of dramatic coast. And of course, you’re never too far from the famous hospitality of Ireland’s hostelries and a well-earned pint of Guinness.


Top 20 best walks and hikes in Ireland

    1
    Intermediate
    02:20
    4.42 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,075 ft
    1,075 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    2
    Intermediate
    04:07
    9.51 mi
    2.3 mph
    625 ft
    625 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
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  • 3
    Intermediate
    04:38
    8.98 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,200 ft
    1,200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    4
    Difficult
    05:40
    10.7 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,775 ft
    1,775 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    5
    Intermediate
    03:38
    8.14 mi
    2.2 mph
    800 ft
    800 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    6
    Intermediate
    04:05
    9.66 mi
    2.4 mph
    425 ft
    425 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    7
    Difficult
    05:25
    7.55 mi
    1.4 mph
    2,850 ft
    2,850 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View
    8
    Intermediate
    03:01
    6.74 mi
    2.2 mph
    600 ft
    600 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    9
    Intermediate
    03:35
    7.06 mi
    2.0 mph
    450 ft
    450 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    10
    Intermediate
    03:08
    6.07 mi
    1.9 mph
    375 ft
    375 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    11
    Difficult
    04:18
    4.55 mi
    1.1 mph
    2,175 ft
    2,175 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.
    View
    12
    Intermediate
    03:06
    5.80 mi
    1.9 mph
    1,050 ft
    1,050 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    13
    Intermediate
    03:58
    7.96 mi
    2.0 mph
    625 ft
    625 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    14
    Intermediate
    02:35
    5.58 mi
    2.2 mph
    750 ft
    750 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    15
    Intermediate
    03:18
    7.57 mi
    2.3 mph
    550 ft
    550 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    16
    Intermediate
    02:32
    5.42 mi
    2.1 mph
    750 ft
    750 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    17
    Intermediate
    02:34
    5.30 mi
    2.1 mph
    925 ft
    925 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    18
    Intermediate
    02:06
    4.63 mi
    2.2 mph
    525 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    19
    Easy
    02:00
    4.35 mi
    2.2 mph
    500 ft
    500 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    20
    Intermediate
    02:31
    4.71 mi
    1.9 mph
    475 ft
    475 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View

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More Information

Ireland’s national parks

Ireland’s six national parks are wonderfully varied. If there’s one commonality, it’s fantastic hiking on waymarked trails. On Dublin’s doorstep, Wicklow Mountains National Park is a beautiful region of rounded granite peaks and scenic forested glens. In the north of the country is Glenveagh National Park where sumptuous sights abound, such as that of the golden eagle circling high or the classic visage of Lough Veagh’s castle standing proud by the picturesque lakeshore.

In the west, Connemara National Park’s raw splendour and wilderness comprises of forests, mountains and Ireland’s only fjord. Ballycroy National Park is wild and remote, containing one of the last active blanket bog systems in Western Europe. Superb forest hikes through internationally important yew and oak woodland await in Kilarney National Park. Meanwhile, Burren National Park’s glaciated karst landscape features vast limestone pavements and an incredible array of flora.

Towering cliffs and sharp aretes

Hikes on Ireland’s coastline contain some staggering sights. The Dingle Peninsula is effortlessly dramatic; an ascent of Mount Brandon at 3,123 feet (952 m) rewards with astounding ocean views. On the south western edge of the Burren region are the famous Cliffs of Moher. Ravaged by the elements and towering above the waves, they are an awesome sight and make for a superb hiking objective.

Some of the best hiking trails in Ireland, and certainly the most adrenaline-inducing, are those found in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range. Characterised by deep gullies, sharp arêtes and dramatic corries, it offers sensational ridge walking for those of a strong constitution. At its heart stands Ireland’s highest peak, Carrauntoohil at 3,408 feet (1,039 metres), one of Britain’s most prominent mountains.

Climate and other considerations

Ireland’s climate is at the whim of the Atlantic, with generally warm, wet summers and cool, wet winters. During walks in Ireland it is not uncommon to experience four seasons in a day so, regardless of the forecast, a waterproof is always a good idea. Wild camping is legal, though there are areas which are out of bounds, such as in Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains, so check during the planning stage.

Like the Scottish Highlands, Ireland’s uplands are inhabited by ticks: tiny arachnids that love nothing more than clamping onto exposed flesh. Check yourself post-walk and if you have picked up one of these unwanted hitchhikers, remove carefully using tweezers or specialised tick twisters.


Ireland's best walks and hikes on the map

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