Hiking in Ireland: Our Guide from an Experienced Traveller

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What do you know about Ireland? Of course – this is an emerald island. Heather fields and ancient castles, beautiful hills and incredible floral diversity. Want to get to know all this wealth more closely? And did you know that Ireland is one of the best places in the world for hiking?  This is a country in which historical and natural attractions alternate and meets with tremendous frequency.

After all, where else can you visit the famous “cliffs” – cliffs of almost two hundred meters high on the Atlantic coast of the country, as well as dull, but no less beautiful heathlands and hills – the scene of all local legends and traditions.  Would you like a trip to the legend? Then get ready!

Let’s Discover Walking Ireland!

Walking Ireland

So you are already about to start hiking in Ireland. Here are the first steps you should take: 

  • decide where you will spend nights – should it be a tent or hotels on the way;
  • collect the necessary equipment;
  • bring the right clothes – from natural fabrics;
  • surely comfortable proven shoes, this is very important;
  • And, of course, decide on the route.

Everyone already knows that Ireland hiking trails are the best. But you have to choose only one way.

Where Are the Best Hikes in Ireland?

Best Hikes in Ireland

What to watch in Ireland? Lots of locks, they are almost everywhere there. What about the mountains? They are not tall in Ireland, and they are more like hills.

  • Bray Head – its height is only 241 m, but its surroundings are very picturesque
  • Corrán Tuathail – the highest one, 1038 m, 
  • Kippure – from the top offers a beautiful view of Dublin
  • Macgillycuddy’s Reeks – mountain range with several notable peaks
  • Slieve League – highest cliffs in Ireland and Europe, best view on the sea.

From the lightest to the most inaccessible rocks, there are wonderful hiking routes. Let’s have a look at them:

1. Causeway Coastal Way

Causeway Coastal Way
Giant’s Causeway in a beautiful summer day, Northern Ireland

Distance – 33 miles/ 52 km

Duration – 4 days

Level of training – easy

Start point – Portstewart

Finish point – Ballycastle

This route should not be missed by fans of the cult series “Game of Thrones”, because it will go exactly to the places of filming. For those who have not watched the film, this region is included in the UNESCO list as a protected area. The whole way may be divided into 6 parts or route – and you can decide at what speed to pass them and where to stop.

All itinerary divided into 6 parts – 

  • Portstewart to Portrush (10km)
  • Portrush to Portballintrae (9.3km)
  • Portballintrae to The Giant’s Causeway (4.3km)
  • Giant’s Causeway to Dunseverick Castle (7.3km)
  • Dunseverick Castle to Ballintoy Harbour (7.8km)
  • Final. Ballintoy Harbour to Ballycastle (12.6km)

This route is the longest offered. It often attracts students from American universities – they are not afraid of the vast distances that must be overcome for the sake of fantastic views.

2. Glendalough – Upper Lake

Glendalough Upper Lake
Twilight at Upper Lake in Glendalough Scenic Park, Ireland

Distance – 5.5 miles/ 9 km

Duration – about 3 hours

Level of training – easy

Start/finish point – Glendalough

Walk along the route with wonderful views to a very picturesque lake. The route starts and ends at the bus station, Glendalough. A great option for a day trip.

3. Hare’s Gap

Hare's Gap
Landscape in the Gap of Dunloe in Ireland

Distance – 11,27 miles/ 18 km

Duration – about 9 hours

Level of training – medium

Start/finish point – Castlewellan

Great slieve and river trail for a day trip from Newcastle. The maximum height of the route is about 800 meters. 

4. Cronin’s Yard Loop

Cronin's Yard Loop

Distance – 5 miles/ 8 km

Duration – 3 hours

Lever of training – medium

Start/finish point – Cronin’s Yard

For spectacular views, any should take part in the walk follow the easily visible signposts. Parts are a bit wet, so waterproof hiking boots are a must. 

5. Divis Ridge Trail

Divis Ridge Trail
Trail Ridge Road, the highest (12,183 feet) continuous highway in the USA in high alpine tundra with rocks and mountains at autumn. Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, USA

Distance – 5 miles/8 km

Duration – 3 hours

Level of training – medium

Start/finish point – Long Barn

Fantastic view on Belfast and Belfast hills, on the way along Black Mountain. You should take a gravel path for all your way.

6. Ballycotton Cliff Walk

Ballycotton Cliff Walk
Ballycotton Cliff at Sunny Day

Distance – 4 miles / 7 km

Duration – 3 hours

Level of training – medium

Start/finish point – Ballycotton

Great walk along the top of the cliff with amazing sea views. A very narrow path will not prevent you from enjoying the walk.

7. Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail

Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail
View of The Stairway to Heaven at Cuilcagh mountain from the top

Distance – 5 miles /8km

Duration –  6 hours

Level of training – medium

Start/finish point – Cuilcagh Boardwalk

There is a real climb to the mountain. The reward for your efforts will be beautiful views. The peak itself is closed to visitors, but many endemic plants are found along the way.

8. Slieve Gullion

Slieve Gullion

Distance – 8 miles/13km

Duration – 7 hours

Level – medium

Start/finish point – Armagh

Walk to the summit of an extinct volcano, in a zone of volcanic activity. Now at the top of the volcano is a beautiful lake. Also, beautiful views open from the summit, you shouldn’t miss them.

9. Glenariff Forest Park Scenic Trail

Glenariff Forest Park Scenic Trail
Waterfall Trail at Glenariff Forest Park near Causeway Coastal Route, Country of Antrim, Northern Ireland

Distance – 6 miles/10 km

Duration – 5 hours

Level – medium

Start/finish point – Cushendall

Moorland, waterfalls, steep river gorges. This is same Ireland and one of the best Irish national park. A long walk distance through the forest will bring a lot of pleasure even to a sophisticated tourist.

10. Carrauntoohil Hike

Carrauntoohil Hike
Group of hikers descending on a mountain with raincoats during rain

Distance – 7 miles/12 km

Duration – 8 hours

Level – medium

Start point – Cronin’s Yard

Finish point – Carrauntoohil

In front of you is the highest mountain in Ireland and hectares rocky paths. The route will go through Devils Ladder – be careful. Ascent to the mountain – along a rocky way.

11. Diamond Hill

Diamond Hill
Beautiful view of Connemara National Park, famous for bogs and heaths, watched over by its cone-shaped mountain, Diamond Hill, County Galway, Ireland

Distance – 4 miles/7km

Duration – 3 hours

Level – Strenuous 

Start/finish point – Connemara National Park Visitor Centre

This is the indisputable highlight of all of Ireland – 400 meters peak, from the top of which overlooks the coastal strip, the sea, 12 Bens, neighbouring mountains. You will see all of Ireland in miniature.

12. The Pilgrim’s Path at Slieve League

The Pilgrim's Path at Slieve League
Priest – pilgrims going to the place Sermon on the Mount

Distance –  2 miles/3 km

Duration – 2 hours

Level  – Strenuous

Start point – Teelin

Finish point – Slieve League

The road involves a rise to a height of 425 meters. According to legend, this is a pilgrim trail. And like all such paths, it is not the easiest. But real tourists are not afraid of difficulties.

13. Mt Errigal in Glenveagh National Park

Mt Errigal in Glenveagh National Park

Distance – 4.2 km

Duration – 2 hours

Level – Strenuous

Start/finish point – Falcarragh

Climbing the mountain, tourists walk along almost all the main types of the Irish plain, and upon ascending to the top, they enjoy magnificent views of the ocean. It’s one of the best day hikes in Ireland.

14. Croagh Patrick

Croagh Patrick

Distance – 7.1 km

Duration – 4 hours

Level – Strenuous

Start/finish point – Murrisk

Croagh Patrick Pilgrim Trail – a barely noticeable path leads upstairs. But upstairs, a chapel awaits you. Come in.

15. Achill Head 

Achill Head

Distance – 10 km

Duration – 6 hours

Level – difficult

Start point – Keel

Finish point – near Newport

The road runs along the seashore, offers unique views – a combination of mountains, the ocean and waterfalls will give you a unique experience.

16. Mam Ean

Mam Ean

Distance – 16,5 km

Duration – 6 hours

Level – difficult

Start point – Maam

Finish point – Inagh.

Mam Ean – “bird road”. It’s another pilgrim route with unexpected finds. Be prepared for the fact that the road is steep. 

17. Inishbofin Westquarter Loop

Inishbofin Westquarter Loop

Distance – 8 km

Duration – 3 hours

Level – difficult

Start/finish point – Innishbofin Pier

Tourist may view the Island’s blowholes and sea arch, the Dún More Cliffs and Iron Age promontory fort ruins, picturesque Trá Gheal beach and famine road. Your way will go through grass paths, turf banks and shingle beach pebbles. 

What Hiking Trail Should I Choose to See Ireland?

There are many more routes – for example, the Wicklow way near Dublin. In general, hiking in Ireland is the whole country, step by step, meter by meter.

As you can see, absolutely all routes in Ireland are not just impressive – they are magnificent. And their organization attracts a large number of tourists, primarily students – the USA, Europe, other countries. Any trail – tourist is guaranteed an unforgettable experience. That is why, once in Ireland, you can’t help but return – after all, there are still so many unsaved paths. Let’s go!

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