Hiking in Ireland: Discover the best walks!

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Hiking in Ireland: Discover the best walks!
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For such a small island, Ireland is a unique place when it comes to hiking. And yes, we are talking about both Ireland and Northern Ireland here. A walking holiday to Ireland and Northern Ireland is therefore a must-go for every hiking enthusiast. There are some 954 developed hiking trails across the two countries with vastly different landscapes. One day you can climb the hills around Belfast, the next you can walk along Cork's rugged coastline.

As well as burning some calories, hiking is a great way to explore hidden parts of this beautiful country. All you need is a pair of sturdy shoes, a raincoat, some lightweight gear and you're good to go. Can't you decide where to start? Here are some tips to get you started, with walks suitable for beginners to advanced hikers and from multi-day hiking holidays to one-day hikes.


The Best Season for Your Irish Hiking Holiday

As beautiful as Ireland is, its turbulent climate can be difficult to predict. The country does enjoy pleasant temperatures for year-round hiking, and if you come in the warmer months of May-August you can expect temperatures of between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius. The summer months also coincide with the high season in Ireland, so expect higher prices for your stay along your route. You can avoid this with a visit to beautiful Ireland during the shoulder seasons (spring & autumn). It doesn't matter when you come or where you go, you're likely to get wet one day. Ireland is a rainy country, with an average of 150 days of rain a year on the east and southeast coasts and up to 225 days a year on the west coasts. If you come during the warmer months, you reduce the chance of heavy rainfall. If it does happen to you, you will realize that this is part of your authentic Irish experience.

The Best Season for Your Irish Hiking Holiday

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Your Accommodation Along the Hiking Trails in Northern Ireland and Ireland

Perhaps the best thing about a multi-day walk in Ireland is the fact that each stop is a village or small town, with the right accommodation for the weary hiker. Depending on the route, this ranges from full-service hotels in cities like Dingle to self-catering pubs, inns and bed-and-breakfasts in the more remote areas. The availability of meals and other essentials follows a similar pattern: routes with many developed stops, such as the Barrow Way and the Causeway Coast, have more than enough options in store for you. But if you're going further off the beaten track, it's advisable to stock up on snacks and other essentials.

Your Accommodation Along the Hiking Trails in Northern Ireland and Ireland

Packing List for the Ireland

No matter where you go hiking or for how long, bringing the right equipment is of utmost importance. For your hike, the first thing you need is a good backpack. The size of it will depend on the number of days you will be trekking, the season and the clothes you take with you. If you have luggage transport, the comfort level of your daypack is most important. We have compiled a packing list with a few essential items of clothing you should bring and some extras you might find useful:
  • Essentials

  • Extras

The 5 Best Multiday Walks in Ireland and Northern Ireland

Below, you will find the 5 best multiday hikes in Ireland and Northern Ireland according to our Bookatrekking.com experts.

The 5 Best Multiday Walks in Ireland and Northern Ireland

1. The Kerry Way (133 miles / 214 kilometers)

With just over 1000 meters, the Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain, isn’t exactly a highlight. But what Ireland lacks in height, it more than makes up for in rough natural beauty. One of the best ways to experience this is by walking the Kerry Way, a circular walking route of approximately 214 kilometers across the Iveragh Peninsula. This route starts and ends in Killarney. This is the walking alternative to the famous Ring of Kerry driving route and passes through some of Ireland’s most spectacular scenery.

1. The Kerry Way (133 miles / 214 kilometers)

2. The Beara Way (95 miles / 152 kilometers)

The Beara Peninsula is a 48-kilometer-long mountainous strip of land that extends into the Atlantic Ocean. The rather remote location makes it perhaps one of the most pristine parts of southwest Ireland. The Beara Way is a magical world of mountains and lakes, surrounded by a picturesque coastline. The route leads past grandiose archaeological remains of prehistoric inhabitants, in the form of standing stones or Tombstones.

3. The Burren Way (71 miles / 114 kilometers)

The Burren is known for its unusual landscape. And what better way to experience the limestone pavements than on foot. On the road from Lahinch to Corrofin, the characteristic rocky landscape forms a penetrating contrast with the deep green of the Atlantic Ocean. It takes about five days to make your way along the quiet tarmac roads, forest trails, and a few tiring climbs.

3. The Burren Way (71 miles / 114 kilometers)

4. The Dingle Way (111 miles / 179 kilometers)

The Dingle Way is a circular walk and begins and ends in the thriving city of Tralee, Co Kerry. During the eight to nine days needed to walk it, you'll experience the foothills of Slieve Mish, the crashing waves of the Atlantic at Slea Head, and the golden beaches on the Maharess. And also an abundance of Irish history, from standing stones to a multitude of beehives.

4. The Dingle Way (111 miles / 179 kilometers)

5. The Ulster Way (625 miles / 1000 kilometers!)

This 1000 kilometer route is a big step forward! But if you really want to explore Northern Ireland, there are few better ways to do it than on foot. The route runs through the Mourne Mountains, the coast of Antrim and the Sperrin Mountains, so there are a few climbs along the way. The hike takes about three weeks and usually takes place on quiet roads and forest paths. However, at a distance of this magnitude, there will inevitably be some busy roads.

5. The Ulster Way (625 miles / 1000 kilometers!)

The 5 Best Day Hikes in Ireland and Northern Ireland

You will also find various day hikes in Ireland, and below, we have created an overview for you with our top 5.

The 5 Best Day Hikes in Ireland and Northern Ireland

1. Ballycotton Cliff Walk in Cork (8 miles / 13 kilometers)

During this hike, you will be flanked by meadows on one side and the wild Atlantic Ocean on the other. There are plenty of vantage points along the route and the area is great for wildlife watching - so lookout for anything from peregrine falcons and oystercatchers to dolphins and whales.

2. Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail ('Stairway to Heaven') at Co Fermanagh (5 miles / 8 kilometers)

One of the largest stretches of moorland in Northern Ireland can be traversed thanks to a 1.5-kilometer-long promenade which is opened in 2015. Locals call it the Stairway to Heaven. There is a steep climb to reach the 665m high summit of Cuilcagh Mountain. It is located in an area with a unique habitat and is part of the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark, so be sure to spend some time in the nearby caves.

3. Slieve Gullion in Co Armagh (8 miles / 13 kilometers)

This large circular walk climbs to a mountain lake, two peaks and the ancient tomb on the Slieve Gullion mountain. Moreover, during this route, you have an epic view of Northern Ireland. Guillon is a mountain formed from a volcano that erupted more than 50 million years ago. You'll walk through the hills of the world's most famous ring dyke, the Ring of Gullion. What are you waiting for?

3. Slieve Gullion in Co Armagh (8 miles / 13 kilometers)

4. The Causeway Coast in Co Antrim (5 miles / 8 kilometers)

The entire Causeway Coast Way is regarded as one of the best coastal walks in Ireland and stretches for 50 kilometers, from Portstewart to Ballycastle, past Dunluce Castle and Northern Ireland's most popular tourist attraction, The Giant's Causeway. To avoid the crowds, go a little further where you'll find a secluded coastline rich in geological wonders, mythology, and great views. The trail runs along a rocky coastline.

5. Glendalough and the Spinc cliffs in Co Wicklow (8 miles / 13 kilometers)

For a spectacular hilly walk within easy reach of Dublin, head to Glendalough, home to 20,000 hectares of mountainous trails and landscapes. This trail runs through Glendalough's world-famous monastic complex and Lower Lake, before going steeply uphill next to the Poulanass waterfall to the towering Spinc cliffs. Enjoy views of the Lower and Upper lakes before descending again.

Safety tips for the Ireland

Although this is far from being a trek in the Himalayas, unexpected things can always happen and you might also find obstacles on the hiking trails along the way. The Ireland is safe, the trails are quite straight forward and there is not an extreme difference in altitude. However, for your safety, every hike deserves a level of respect; respect for the terrain, the trails, wildlife and vegetation, local rules and regulations, and above all, your physical capabilities and safety. Therefore, for an unforgettable and safe hiking memory, please keep the following safety recommendations in mind:

  • Know your limits

    Always prepare each stage carefully to use your energy wisely, respect your physical and mental limitations, and avoid taking unnecessary risks. When ascending or descending, if applicable, always use the aids provided, such as handrails and ropes. Is this trek suitable for you? Well, familiarize yourself with the grading system and figure out if this trek matches your capabilities. If you still need professional advice you can always contact Bookatrekking.com experts.

  • Stay on marked trails

    The most important thing is to never leave the marked paths. For easy navigation we work with our trusted partner Komoot, whose interactive maps, also available offline, provide you with the necessary digital means to get from A to B in the Ireland. As a backup, make sure to bring a hiking guide or a paper map with you.

  • Fully equipped

    Make sure you have the necessary gear for the conditions you'll be facing, including appropriate clothing, footwear, and any necessary equipment for the terrain you'll be hiking on. Always wear clothing adapted to the weather of Ireland and protect yourself from cold and wetness or heat and sun. Besides, make sure you carry enough food and water for the duration of your trek. On the way, you might (or might not) be able to buy snacks.

  • Stay reachable

    If you are hiking solo or in small groups it is advisable to inform people back home about your plans, what route you are taking and when you plan to return. Even small incidents can lead to unpleasant emergencies so make sure you are available at all times. Bring a charged phone containing at least the phone numbers of immediate family members, your accommodations en route and the emergency phone numbers operating in the Ireland.

  • Respect for nature

    Do not litter, prevent noise, stay on the marked trails, do not disturb wildlife or grazing animals, and respect protected areas.

Where can I book my walking holiday in Ireland?

At Bookatrekking.com you can book many treks in Ireland. We take care of all the details for you, give you personal trekking advice and give you the best service possible. Find all our offers for Ireland here. Our easy-to-use platform allows you to browse and compare different trekking options and find the perfect fit for your interests, abilities, and budget.

If you have any questions about a specific trek or need help choosing the right one for you, our team of Trekking Experts is here to assist you. Simply reach out to us and we will be happy to provide you with personalized recommendations and advice to help you plan the trekking adventure of a lifetime.

Is a walking holiday in Ireland not your cup of tea and are you looking for other epic adventures? Check out one of our following blog posts:


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