I realise that the title above is a little arsey, but bear with me a second…
Over the past year or so, thanks to work and a few other things, I’ve found myself getting out on hikes and walks in Ireland less and less.
Which is a disgrace, as there’s an almost endless clatter of incredible walking trails in Ireland that offer the kind of scenery that knocks you on your arse.
So, in an attempt to motivate myself to get out more often, I lashed together a list of scenic Irish trails that I want to tackle over the next couple of years.
In the guide below, you’ll find a heap of the best hikes in Ireland (in my opinion) along with loads of lovely walks that you can tackle on your days off.
Table of Contents
The best hikes and walks in Ireland
There’s a solid mix of long and short Irish trails below. Some, like the Wicklow Way, could easily take a week whereas others, like the Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail, can be conquered in a few hours.
There are a fair few walks and hikes on the guide below. They’re numbered, but that’s just for my own OCD – I’m not saying number 1 is the best hike in Ireland.
Right, I’m sure you’re sick of me at this stage, let’s dive into the guide. Note: if we’ve missed any great Irish walks or hikes (we definitely have) let me know in the comments section!
1. Eagle’s Rock (Leitrim)
Leitrim doesn’t get half the credit that it deserves. It’s a brilliant little county that packs a mighty punch, once you have a solid itinerary (here are loads of things to do in Leitrim).
Now, if you’re not familiar with Eagle’s Rock, it’s the largest free-standing rock tower in Ireland (only a handful of people have scaled it, apparently).
I’m not suggesting that you try to get up it, don’t worry. There’s a 2.5 to 3-hour walk here that offers sensational views of the surrounding countryside and beyond.
It can be a little tricky, however, and is definitely one for the more seasoned walkers among us. There’s a gravel path to follow from the nearby car park, but this will only take you so far.
There’s no clear trail across to Eagle’s Rock, so you’ll need to have your wits about you and find the best route to towards the top.
2. The Torc Mountain Walk (Kerry)
The first on our list is a hike up Torc Mountain near the buzzy town of Killarney in Kerry. There’s a mighty 7.5km scenic walk here that leaves from the Upper Torc car park and that takes 2 to 2.5 hours to complete.
The walk, which takes you to the summit of Torc Mountain, offers outstanding views of Killarney town, the National Park, Muckross House and the McGillicuddy’s.
You’ll also catch a glimpse of Torc Waterfall. There’s a clear path to follow on this ramble and a good chunk of it is covered by railway sleepers (the boardwalk in the photo above).
3. The climb to the Caves of Kesh (Sligo)
If you’re not familiar with the Caves of Kesh in Sligo, they’re a series of limestone caves on the side of Keshcorran Hill near the village of Keash.
It’s roughly an hour trip to get up to the caves and back down (leave time for soaking up the view) but you’ll easily spend half an hour more admiring the view from the top.
This is a way-marked trail and it kicks-off from the car park of the Church in Kesh village. The walk to the top is steep and strenuous in places, so decent footware is a must.
4. The Lough Curra Walk (Tipperary)
Those that conquer the Lough Curra Walk will be taken to the highest lake in the Galtee Mountains over the course of a moderate, 3 to 4-hour ramble.
This walk follows a signposted trail that begins at Glencush car park. It follows a trail through a forest and past old ruins and open moorland before arriving at the mountain path that leads to the lake.
I’ve a friend that did this walk towards the end of last year and it looked incredible. Here’s a guide with more detailed directions to follow.
5. The Divis Summit Trail (Antrim)
If you’re visiting Belfast and looking to escape the city for a bit, then get yourself up Divis Mountain. You’ll catch a superb view out over the city from here.
There’s a 4.8km looped walk on Divis that was specially designed to ensure that the condition of the mountain slope is maintained, while also providing handy public access.
You’ll kick this walk off at the Long Barn car park (bring change) before joining the Tipperary road and following the waymarkers.
6. The Blackstairs Mountain Loop (Carlow)
The Blackstairs Mountains run along the border between Carlow and Wexford. There are several different marked trails that you can head off on here.
One that I’ve done in the past and can’t recommend enough is the Blackstairs Mountain Loop. If you’re driving, there’s handy parking at Sculloge Gap. You can also join a trail to the top from here.
It’ll take you between 2 and 2.5 hours to complete the loop and you’ll be treated to fine views of the surrounding patchwork-like green fields from the top.
7. The Mount Errigal Loop (Donegal)
We’re off to Donegal next to Mount Errigal walk, the highest peak in the Derryveagh mountain range.
The walk here can take between 2.5 to 3 hours, but allow for extra time to chill and admire the views.
Pop ‘Errigal Mountain Hike Parking’ into Google Maps (cheers to whoever added this!) and you’ll find the starting point for this climb. Now, hopefully it goes without saying, but you’ll need decent footwear for this climb.
You’ll need to cross boggy ground in places, and there’s nothing worse than wet socks! There are two different peaks to reach on this walk. Expect unbeatable views of the Derryveagh Mountains and the rolling Donegal countryside from the top.
8. The Loop Head Cliff Walk (Clare)
The cliff walk at Loop Head is one of the most overlooked walking trails Ireland has to offer. I’ve done this walk twice in recent years – on both occasions, we only met a handful of people.
The walk here kicks off at the little car park in front of Loop Head Lighthouse. Park up and ramble past the lighthouse and over to the right – you’ll find a big aul sea stack here.
When you’ve had your fill of the view, walk back in the direction of the car park and continue on straight ahead. You’ll be met by outstanding cliff views as far as the eye can see.
This is a handy walk but extreme care is needed if you visit with kids. The cliffs are unguarded (naturally enough) and the wind here can be extremely powerful. If you’re looking for a lengthy walk, you can do a 5-hour looped walk from the lighthouse car park to Kilbaha.
9. The Croaghaun Sea Cliff Hike (Mayo)
Next on the list is one of the best hikes in Ireland and it tends to get missed by many visiting Achill Island in County Mayo.
If you’re not an experienced walker who knows their way around a map and a compass, consider a guided hike – there are no clear trails to follow here and if the weather changes abruptly, you could be in the deepest of shit.
The climb here can take between 4 and 5 hours in total (if you start on the southerly side and come back down on the northerly side).
10. The Slieve Donard Mountain Walk (Down)
At 850m, Slieve Donard in County Down is the highest peak in the Mourne mountains (it’s also the highest in Northern Ireland!).
There are several different trails that you can head off on here, but the pick of the bunch (in my opinion) is the one that kicks off at the car park in Donard Park and that follows the Glen River and then the Mourne Wall.
The hike here will take you between 4.5 and 5 hours, depending on pace, and offers magnificent views of everywhere from the Isle of Man and the Wicklow Mountains to the peaks of Wales, Scotland, and Donegal.
The Mournes are home to some of the best hikes in Ireland – if the climb up Slieve Donard is too much for you, there are plenty of lower level trails to try.
11. The Vee Gap Walk (Tipperary)
The walk up around the Vee Gap in Tipperary is incredible (especially if you do it between May and June when parts of the mountain are covered in a beautiful blanket of pink and purple rhododendrons).
Park (safely) at the side of the road across from the Grubb monument (you’ll find it on Google Maps). Follow the path up towards the monument and then continue on the trail that leads right up Sugarloaf hill.
This part can be tricky for the less seasoned walker. When you reach the top, you’ll see the path that leads to the top of Knockmealdown.
The walk here will take between 4.5 and 5 hours. Experienced walkers should find it moderate while the less fit should find it strenuous enough. There’s more detail in this walking guide.
12. The Malin Head Coastal Walk (Donegal)
There are several different walks that you can head off on at Malin Head, but the 1.5-hour looped walk is arguably the most popular. On a clear day, you’ll be treated to views of Horn Head, Tory Island and plenty more.
It kicks off in the car park near Lloyd’s Tower and follows a decent path towards craggy cliffs. The walk then continues towards the most northerly point in Ireland – Banba’s Crown. Take a break here, let the wind pour over you and admire the mighty views.
I’ve heard of people spotting whales and sharks while doing this walk, so keep an eye out. It’s also said that this is the best place to see the Northern Lights in Ireland when the weather is just right.
13. The Coumshingaun Lake Walk (Waterford)
The Coumshingaun Lough Walk is one of the finest Irish trails there is and it’s also one of the best things to do in Waterford (if you’re not afraid of a 4.5 – 5 hour, relatively strenuous climb, that is).
You can kick this hike off in the car park at Kilclooney Woods. You’ll stroll through the woods for around 5 minutes before taking a forestry road to the open mountainside. That’s when the climbing starts!
Those that conquer this walk on a clear day will be treated to one of the best views in the county. When you finish up, take the short drive to Mahon Falls to round off your trip!
14. The Benwee Loop Walk (Mayo)
The North Mayo coastline is some of the most rugged that Ireland has to offer. It’s also in a corner of Ireland that still falls into the ‘Hidden Gem’ category.
There’s a 5-hour looped walk that you can tip off on here (here’s a guide) that’ll take you along a bog trail.
Expect cliffs, waves, incredible coastal views and an unmissable encounter with the enormous Benwee Head (above).
15. The Lough Derg Way (Limerick + Tipperary)
The Lough Derg Way is one of many walking trails in Ireland that takes walkers between two counties. In this case, it’s Tipperary and Limerick.
You’ll kick this walk off in Limerick City and finish up in Dromineer in Tipperary. This is one of the longer walking trails Ireland has to offer, and needs a good 2.5 days to complete.
Over the course of the walk, you’ll soak up to some of the finest scenery that the magnificent Lough Derg has to offer.
16. The Brandon Hill Walk (Kilkenny)
The summit of Brandon Hill is up there with the best places to visit in Kilkenny. On a fine (aka clear) day you’ll have mind-boggling panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.
The walk to the summit of Brandon Hill can take between 3.5 and 5 hours, depending on pace. Here’s an official guide with directions that you can follow.
17. The Wicklow Way (Wicklow…)
The Wicklow Way is one for your Irish bucket list. If you complete this walk from start to finish, it’ll take you around 7 days.
This route takes walkers on a journey along waymarked trails that take in mountains, upland lakes, beautiful mountain streams, forests, and much more.
The walk begins in Rathfarnham in Dublin and travels through a good bit of Wicklow before ending in the village of Clonegal in Carlow. The total walking distance is 127km, which isn’t to be sneezed at.
18. The Sheep’s Head Way Cahergal Loop (Cork)
If you’ve never heard of Sheep’s Head, it’s the headland at the end of the Sheep’s Head peninsula in West Cork. This peninsula is a little chunk of paradise for walkers, with 20+ looped walks to choose from.
My favourite walk here is known as the Cahergal Loop. It kicks off at the Black Gate/Alice West Centre and takes roughly 3 hours in total to complete.
The folks at Discover Ireland have created a detailed guide to help you navigate the walk. Expect mighty views throughout.
19. The Ballyhoura Attychraan Loop (Limerick)
If you’re visiting Limerick and you fancy escaping the city for a walk, there’s a heap of lovely forest walks a stone’s throw away.
The Ballyhoura mountains cover south Limerick and north Cork and can be accessed from a trailhead not far from Ardpatrick in Limerick. There are several different looped walks that you can try here.
Renowned for its beauty, Ballyhoura is one of those places that often gets missed on a trip to Limerick. Bang it onto your to-visit-sharpish list.
20. The Fairy Castle Loop Walk (Dublin)
The Ticknock Hill walk is a grand and handy walk in the Dublin Mountains that offers views of Dublin Bay, Bray Head and the Wicklow Mountains as you stroll.
There are several different trails on Ticknock. I’ve done the Fairy Castle Loop (allow between 1 and a half hours with stops to admire the view) a couple of times and it’s brilliant!
Ticknock boasts 10km of glorious mountain and forest walks for those looking to escape the city for a bit. If you aren’t driving, you can take a 30-minute bus journey (the 44B) from Dublin City.
21. The Bray Head Loop Walk (Kerry)
If you’re visiting Kerry, make sure to carve out some time to visit Valentia Island. It’s incredible. There are several different walks on the island, but the best is the Bray Head Loop Walk.
This is a 2.5 to 3-hour walking route that takes you up to Bray Head and along the coastline at the western end of Valentia. You’ll catch mighty views of the Skelligs on the horizon.
When you finish, make sure to take a spin up to the Geokaun Cliffs for one of the best views in the land.
22. The Diamond Hill Upper Trail (Galway)
Many people that visit Galway tend to never venture far from the city, which is a shame, as the best that this county has to offer lies in the Connemara region.
Connemara is also home to one of the best hikes in Ireland – the Diamond Hill walk. Take a second to look at the view from the top of Diamond Hill in the photo above… magic.
There are two different walks here; the first is the lower walk – a 3km walk that takes 1 to 1.5 hours to complete. The second is the upper walk, which stretches for around 7km and takes between 2.5 and 3 hours.
23. The Galtee Mountains Horseshoe Walk (Tipperary)
This is one of the longer hiking trails in this guide. The North Horseshoe Walk is one for the more experienced climber among us.
This is a 5.5 – 6-hour looped walk that’ll take you up to the peak of Galteemore Mountain, between the border of counties Limerick and Tipperary. This walk kicks off in the Glen of Aherlow and is relatively handy to follow.
Those that reach the summit can soak up views of the Slievenamuck mountain range and an almost endless tapestry of scenery.
24. The Devil’s Ladder Trail (Kerry)
Next on our list is Carrauntoohill Mountain – a mountain that’s home to one of the best hikes in Ireland. This is another one for the more experienced hillwalkers (unless you’re taking a guided climb with an experienced hiker/group).
Standing at an impressive 1,038.6 metres, Carrauntoohill in Kerry is the highest mountain on the island of Ireland. One of the most popular routes here is the Devil’s Ladder Trail
This hike begins in Cronin’s Yard and it’s one of the more accessible climbs on Carrauntoohill. It’s a 12km hike which involves some climbing and scrambling. Here’s a guide to the climb if you’re thinking about trying it.
25. The Carrickgollogan Forest Walk (Dublin)
Our next walk can be found around 2.5km south of Kilternan village where it straddles the Dublin/Wicklow border.
The trails on Carrickgollogan are fairly short, but they provide walkers with magnificent views of the Dublin and Wicklow countryside and the sea beyond.
If you fancy giving this a bash, park up in the car park at Carrickgollogan and follow The Lead Mines Way. It’ll take around 40 minutes.
26. Sruth in Aghaidh an Aird (Sligo)
Our next walk is one of the shorter Irish trails on our list and it takes those that saunter along its path up to see Sruth in Aghaidh an Aird, or ‘the Devil’s Chimney’ as it’s sometimes referred to.
It’s often said that this is Ireland’s highest waterfall. However, there’s also one similar on Carrauntoohill that runs during/after heavy rain.
The name ‘the Devil’s Chimney’ comes from when the waterfall gushes upwards following rainfall. There’s a 45-minute walk here that’ll take you up to see the waterfall and that’ll treat you to views of the surrounding valley and Glencar lake on your way.
27. Mount Brandon (Kerry)
You’ll find one of the best views on the Dingle Peninsula at the summit of Mount Brandon. There are several different routes for reaching the summit.
The only one that I’ve done in the past starts at Faha, a stone’s throw from the village of Clogane.
This is a strenuous walk that can take from 4 to 5 hours. It kicks off in the car park near Faha Grotto and it takes you up to the highest point of the Dingle Peninsula.
28. The Causeway Coast Way (Antrim)
The chances are you’ve heard about the Causeway Coastal Route – it’s a scenic route for drivers, cyclists and walkers and offers the perfect combination of rugged coastline, towering cliffs and gorgeous little towns and villages.
For those looking to get the heart rate up, one of the best ways to experience Antrim’s landscape is by heading off on the Causeway Coast Way walk.
This trail links the towns of Ballycastle and Portstewart and it takes in some of Antrim’s most popular nautral attractions over 2 to 3 days.
29. The Old Head of Kinsale Loop (Cork)
The Old Head of Kinsale is a solid spot to stretch the legs and to soak up some of Cork’s only gooorgeous coastline.
There’s a handy 6 km (roughly 1.5 hours) loop walk at the Old Head that takes in spectacular views at every turn.
Take your time and enjoy the gush of Atlantic wind that’ll crash against you from every angle over the course of this ramble.
30. The Promontory Fort Trail (Cavan)
We’re heading to the Burren next, and not the one in Clare! Now, although the Cavan Burren Park only opened to the public in May of 2014, the land is pretty damn old…340 million + years old, in fact!
There’s a heap of different trails to explore here. I’ve only been here once, and I’m 97% sure that the walk we tried was called The Promontory Fort Trail.
This is a 2.9km trail that includes a bog bridge and that offers fantastic views across the landscape that engulfs it. The walk takes around an hour and it’s nice and handy.
31. The Hook Lighthouse Walk (Wexford)
Hook Lighthouse in Wexford dates back to 500-1000 AD and is one of the oldest lighthouses on earth. I’ve been here a handful of times over the years and it has been lashing down every time but twice.
If you arrive here on a fine day, head off for a walk along the rugged coastline to the left of the lighthouse. On a sunny day the water is crystal clear (see above).
32. The South Leinster Way (Carlow/Tipperary)
This is another of the longer Irish walks out there, with the full trail taking between 4 and 5 days to complete. The South Leinster Way is a long-distance walking route that runs from Kildavin in Carlow to Carrick-on-Suir in Tipperary.
It takes walkers along 5 different stages
- 1: Kildavin – Borris (22km)
- 2: Borris – Graiguenamanagh (12km)
- 3: Graiguenamanagh – Inistioge (16km)
- 4: Inistioge – Mullinavat (30km)
- 5: Mullinavat – Carrick-on-Suir (22km)
33. Slieve Foy (Carlingford)
You’ll find Slieve Foy in Carlingford, one of the most beautiful little towns in Ireland. The climb up Slieve Foy is reasonably moderate, and takes around 2 hours in total (it’ll take longer if you linger at the top to enjoy the view – which you should!)
If you fancy giving this hike a bash, park near the village and take a right turn when you come to Ma Baker’s Pub. There’s a handy marked trail to follow from here.
34. Dún na Rí Forest Park (Cavan)
If you’ve never been to Dún na Rí, lash it onto your to-visit-sharpish list. A stroll here is hands-down one of the best things to do in Cavan.
I went for a ramble here last summer and couldn’t believe 1, how I hadn’t heard about it before and 2, how gorgeous the grounds were.
There are four different walking trails at Dún na Rí. The looped walk that we nipped off on started out in the car park and went on for around 2km, taking in a beautiful river, a Holy Well and the ruins of Fleming’s Castle.
35. Slieve Gullion (Armagh)
You’ll find Slieve Gullion mountain in south Armagh. It’s here that, on a clear day, you’ll be treated to some of the best views in Ireland.
There’s a 15.2km circular route up Slieve Guillion that’ll take you through lush woodland, along steep paths and across peaty grounds.
When you pass the end of the forest, you’ll be treated to views like the one in the photo above. This is a brilliant walk that can take the guts of 4 hours, when you factor in time for stops.
36. The Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail (Fermanagh)
When it comes to hiking Ireland’s home to a number of routes and trails that tend to receive a heap of attention online. The Cuilcagh Mountain Walk is one of them.
This is a straightforward walk that follows a clear path from top to bottom and should take no more than 3 hours to finish.
It’s not overly strenuous, so it should suit walkers with lower levels of fitness. One thing to keep in mind if you try this walk is that the car park can be a bit of a nightmare. Get there early or you won’t get in at all.
37. The Murlough Bay Nature Trail (Antrim)
You’ll find Murlough Bay in Antrim, between Fair Head and Torr Head, where it offers views of Rathlin Island and beyond.
The Murlough Bay Nature Trail is a 4km walking route that starts and finishes in the nearby car park and that shouldn’t take much longer than 90 minutes to complete.
The walk follows the main walkway to the magnificent Murlough Beach before taking the Archaeology Path to the Central Reserve. It then loops back to the car park.
38. Croagh Patrick (Mayo)
Climbing Croagh Patrick on a clear day is hard to bate. The views out over Clew Bay from the summit are just out of this world.
A lot of tourists that I talk to are put off by the fact that it takes around 4 hours to get up and down it (can take longer depending on pace).
Don’t be. It’s from Croagh Patrick that, on a clear day, you’ll get one of the best views in Ireland. You can drop into Westport Town after for a bite and a post-adventure pint.
39. The Slieve Bloom Way (Laois/Offaly)
The Slieve Bloom Way is another lengthy walking route that can take up to 3 days to complete.
Expect high, heathery ridges, deep, gorgeous glens, and plenty of streams, forest roads, and peace and quiet.
This is an ideal ramble for a long weekend if you’re looking for a break away with a difference. The trail crosses high ridges and dips into deep glens and treats walkers to plenty of fine views.
40. The Doolin Cliff Walk (Clare)
The Doolin Cliff Walk is one of the best ways to see the Cliffs of Moher if you’re looking for a unique experience that dodges the crowds at the main viewing points.
There are a number of local guides in and around Doolin that offer guided walks along this trail. If you’re looking to hear local tales and legends, try one of these for something a little bit different.
41. Tonlegee (Wicklow)
I did this hike recently and it took around 3 hours from start to finish (note: there are longer hikes around Tonlegee!). We parked in Turlough Hill car park and followed the trail directly across the road to the top.
We kept going until we had a decent view of Lough Ouler (above) and chilled on the grass for a bit. The climb from the car park to the summit is steep, but there’s a nice trail to follow.
It’ll take you 70 minutes to drive from Dublin City Centre to Turlough Hill car park. Nip into our Wicklow guide for loads more to see and do nearby.
42. The Dart Mountain Loop Walk (Tyrone)
The Dart Mountain Loop Walk is a 17km looped walk that can take up to 5 hours to complete. It’s one of several brilliant walks in the Sperrin Mountains and it takes in the peaks of Sawel and Dart.
Although this is a tough hike, it’s a reasonably straightforward one thanks to wire fences that can be used to help navigate the trail.
if you’ve yet to explore the Sperrins, get them on your to-visit list. They straddle the Tyrone and Derry border and are the largest mountain range in Ireland.
43. The Rossbeigh Hill Loop Walk (Kerry)
The Rossbeigh Hill Loop Walk is one of the finest walking trails Ireland has to offer. On a clear day, the views out over Rossbeigh Strand and the surrounding countryside are out of this world.
I’m currently sat in a very grey little housing estate in Dublin looking at the photo above.. it’s giving me serious FOMO (the fear of missing out…).
This walk can take between 3 and 4 hours depending on pace, and it offers a magnificent view out over the surrounding countryside.
44. Loughcrew Cairns (Meath)
The walk up at Loughcrew in Meath immerses visitors in an area that boasts a whopping five thousand years of history.
This hill here stands at just 276 meters high and you’ll reach the top after a steep 10 -15 minute walk from the car park.
Once there you’ll be treated to fantastic views of the lush green and hilly landscape that envelopes the area.
45. The Waterford Greenway (Waterford)
The chances are you’ll have heard of people cycling the Waterford Greenway, but it’s also a fine spot for a walk. If you’re not familiar with it, the Greenway is Ireland’s longest off-road trail.
The walk here, which takes 6 to 7 hours if you stop for coffee/food, will take you past deserted railway stations, historic pubs, churches, Norman castles, the site of a Viking settlement, along with a tonne of scenery.
46. Portstewart Strand (Derry)
Portstewart Strand is a 3.2km long stretch of beautiful golden sand that’s widely regarded as one of the finest beaches in Northern Ireland.
Visitors to ‘the Strand’, as it’s known locally, will be treated to unbeatable views of the Inishowen headland along with Mussenden Temple.
How long you spend sauntering along the sand at Portstewart is up to you. You can walk the entire length of it or just tackle a chunk.
47. The Blackslee Waterfall Walk (Fermanagh)
We’re off to County Fermanagh next to the magnificent Navar Forest. There’s a brilliant walk here known as the Blackslee Waterfall Walk.
This is a 6.5km 2.5-hour walk that starts with a bang at the Aghameelan Viewpoint, where you’ll catch some excellent views out over the Fermanagh countryside.
The highlight of this walk is the beautiful Blackslee Waterfall. If you visit, bring a mini picnic and kick-back here for a while as you watch the water crash down from a 20-metre high cliff.
48. The Scrabo Hill Walk (Down)
If you’re after a short walk that’ll treat you to a breath-taking view, get yourself to Scrabo Hill in County Down. There’s a handy 5 to 10-minute walk from the car park to Scrabo Tower.
The views of Strangford Lough and North Down from the summit of Scrabo Hill will knock you on your arse.
You can take a walk to the summit of the hill where you’ll find Scrabo Tower, which was built in 1857.
49. The Magical Lough Gur I-Trail (Limerick)
Lough Gur is one of the most historical places to go hiking in Ireland. The area is one of Ireland’s most important archaeological sites and is home to the islands largest stone circle, dolmen and prehistoric ruins.
You can find physical evidence of occupation from the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Early Christian, Medieval, Early Modern and Modern eras in and around Lough Gur.
The Magical Lough Gur i-Trail is a 2.5km walk that’ll take you around Lough Gur. Allow 1.5 to 2 hours and revel in the sights, sounds and smells of this ancient little part of Ireland.
50. The Bray Head Walk (Wicklow)
The climb up Bray Head is one of my favourite (handy) hikes near Dublin. You’ll find this 241m tall hill and headland slap bang in the middle of the towns of Bray and Greystones.
It’s a reasonably easy climb to the top and shouldn’t take you any longer than an hour to get up and back down again. At the top you’ll find a now-iconic concrete cross which was placed there back in 1950.
It’ll take you around 50 minutes to get here from Dublin. If you’re not driving, hop on the DART.
51. The Downhill Demesne walk (Derry)
Downhill Demesne is home to several gorgeous sheltered garden and cliff walks. I’ve been here in the past and the Downhill Demesne walk is well worth doing.
It starts at the Bishops Gate entrance to the Demense, and begins by taking you through the walled gardens.
The 3.2km 2-hour walk climaxes at Mussensen Temple where there are exquisite views out over Portstewart Strand.
52. The Knocknarea Queen Maeve Trail (Sligo)
The Knocknarea Queen Maeve Trail one of my favourite walks on our Wild Atlantic Way itinerary. It’s a 1.5-hour ramble that takes you up Knocknarea Hill.
This mountain dominates the Sligo skyline from many angles, so you should get a good look at it from the distance as you approach.
When you leave the car park, follow the path along the bog bridge all the way until you reach the summit.
You’ll be treated to panoramic views of Sligo from the top. Here’s a full guide to the Knocknarea walk if you fancy giving it a lash sometime soon.
53. The Tain Way (Louth)
The Táin Way is a 40km circular route that starts and finishes in Carlingford and that takes you through an area that’s steeped in history and legend.
I know a couple of people that have done this over the years and most did it over a Saturday and Sunday.
After leaving from Carlingford, you’ll climb along the northern slopes of Slieve Foy before making your way across Clermont Pass, to reach the village of Ravensdale.
From here, the route passes along a ridge between Carnawaddy and Castle Mountain before crossing back along Slieve Foy and on to Carlingford.
54. The Glenveagh Derrylahan Nature Trail (Donegal)
I love Glenveagh. It’s 16,000 hectares of pure and utter perfection. For those looking to get a lungful of fresh air, there are several walks you can choose from.
My favourite hike here is the Derrylahan Nature Trail. It follows a gravel path and takes a little under an hour to complete.
This is another walk that’s ideal for those with lower levels of fitness. Expect excellent views of the beautiful Glenveagh Valley.
55. The Dingle Way (Kerry)
You’ll often hear of the Dingle Way referred to as one of the best hikes in Ireland. It’s 176km long walking route that snakes around the coast of the Dingle Peninsula, taking in some of the best coastal scenery that Ireland has to offer.
It takes 8 days to complete but may take longer depending on your level of fitness. That being said, if you’ve less time to play with, you can easily join the trail at any number of points.
56. The Beara Way (Cork)
Located south of the Iveragh Peninsula, the Beara Way is a 152km long circular route around the Beara Peninsula – a place that’s home to some of Ireland’s wildest scenery.
Like the Dingle Way and the Wicklow Way, the Beara Way is one of the longer hikes in Ireland.
It’ll take you between 3 and 9 days to conquer this one, depending on how much of the route you aim to conquer.
57. The Trail Through Ards Forest Park (Donegal)
Our next stop is to Ards Forest Park where you can choose from nine different trails to head off on.
Over the course of your stroll, you’ll encounter sand dunes, beaches, salt marshes, saltwater lakes, rock face and, of course, plenty of woodland.
You’ll also happen upon the remains of four ringforts together with a holy well and a mass rock. Grab a coffee in Ards Coffee Tree and head off on your merry way.
58. The Tollymore Forrest Red Trail (Down)
A summers morning ramble through Tollymore Forrest in County Down is up there with the best things to do in Northern Ireland.
The park covers an impressive 630 hectares at the foot of the Mourne Mountains and is the perfect location for a bit of walking. There are 4 different trails that you can head off on at Tollymore.
I did the Red Trail here last year and it was excellent. It’s a 4.8km walk that passes through beautiful woodland and that offers dramatic views of the Pot of Legawherry.
59. The Rock an Thorabh Loop (Tipperary)
Now, if you’ve never heard of the Glen of Aherlow, it’s a valley in Tipperary that’s nestled between Slievenamuck and the Galtees. It boasts an abundance of breathtaking scenery and unspoiled countryside, making it the perfect spot for a ramble.
There are several looped walks that you can do here. My favourite is the Rock an Thorabh Loop. The trail is roughly 6km in length and should take you around 1.5 hours to complete (depending on pace).
It kicks-off at the Christ the King statue, follows a forest track and continues up along the ridge of Slievenamuck (expect unreaaaaal views from here).
The valley is home to numerous prehistoric, early Christian and medieval sites which, along with the incredible scenery, will keep you amused as you stroll.
60. The Benbulben Forest Walk (Sligo)
We’re back to Sligo next for the Benbulben Forest Walk. This is a gorgeous 1.5-hour stroll that’ll treat you to glorious views of the table-top-like Benbulben, Donegal Bay, Slieve League, and Mullaghmore.
There’s some handy space to park (pop ‘Luke’s Bridge’ into Google Maps) and the walk is suitable for people of all fitness levels.
You’ll ramble through a secluded forest area that later opens up and treats you to spectacular close-up views of Benbulben Head.
61. The Pilgrim’s Path (Donegal)
The chances are you’ll have heard of the Sliabh Liagh Cliffs in Donegal. They’re some of the highest sea cliffs in Ireland and they’re a fine spot for a walk with views.
The Pilgrims Path is a breath-taking 4km route that takes walkers to the plateau of Sliabh Liag. The walk follows an ancient path up a U-shape valley that offers remarkable views out over Teelin Harbour and beyond to Sligo.
Those that conquer this climb will encounter a waterfall, the remains of an old chapel, a panoramic view that takes in 7 counties and endless cliffs and coastline. This walk can take up to 3 hours in total and it’s one for experienced climbers.
62. The Killaspugbrone Loop Walk (Sligo)
As you’ve probably gathered at this stage, Sligo is home to an almost endless number of walks and hikes. The Killaspugbrone Loop is up there with the best hikes in Ireland.
This is a lovely looped walk that passes the early Christian site of Killaspugbrone church and that takes between 1.5 to 2 hours to complete.
If you give this a bash, expect to encounter a smattering of coastal habitats, including sand dunes, salt marsh, and pine woodland along with spectacular views of Ben Bulben, Knocknarea, Sligo Bay, and more.
63. The Doolough Valley Walk (Mayo/Galway)
The Doolough Valley is home to one of the best drives on the Wild Atlantic Way. If you visit, keep an eye out for a plain stone cross engraved with the words ‘Doolough Tragedy 1849’.
This memorial marks a tragic event that took place during the Great Famine during the mid 19th century. I’m not going to do this event the discourtesy of summing it up in a paragraph. Here’s a detailed account of what happened.
A yearly walk is held along this route in memory of the Doolough dead and to highlight the starvation of the world’s poor still today.
64. The Monaghan Way (Monaghan)
The Monaghan Way is a 56.5km walk that kicks off in Clontibret and finishes in Inniskeen. This is another long-distance walking route and it can take 3 days to complete.
If you don’t have 3 days to spare, you can always tackle a section of this trail (Inniskeen to Castleblaney, for example). I’ve never walked any of these routes, personally, but I know several people that have.
Each ranted and raved about the quietness of the area, with one saying that they felt like they were ‘the last person left on earth’.
65. The Carlingford Greenway (Louth)
The Carlingford Greenway follows the route of a disused railway line and offers cyclists spectacular views from the edge of Carlingford Lough.
The greenway, which connects Carlingford to Omeath, is 7km long and can take from 2 and a half to 3 hours from start to finish (depending on pace).
Over the course of your spin here you’ll encounter fields packed with grazing sheep, old railway crossings and a couple of bridges along with plenty of views of the stunning scenery that surrounds the area.
66. The Drung Hill Walk (Kerry)
The Drung Hill Mountain Walk is my favourite chunk of the wonderful Kerry Way. The trail, which takes between 4 and 5 hours to complete, follows an old pilgrimage path to the summit of Drung Hill.
If you reach the summit on a clear day, you’ll have a magnificent 360 view that takes in everything from the MacGillycuddy Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range at a dizzying 1,038m, to Valentia Island.
67. The Howth Cliff Walk (Dublin)
If you’re visiting Dublin and you’re looking to escape the city for a bit, get yourself out to Howth (you can grab a DART if you’re not driving).
There’s a lovely walk from the DART station (or from Howth Summit if you want a shorter walk) that takes you out along the cliff at Howth and that offers gorgeous sea views.
Here’s a full guide to the Howth Cliff walk along with info on how to get to Howth if you’re using public transport.
68. The Ramparts Top Walk (Derry)
Derry is far too often overlooked by those exploring Ireland. The city of Derry is officially the only completely walled city in Ireland, and it’s home to a tonne of history.
The Derry City Walls were built between 1613-1618 and were originally used to defend the city against 17th-century settlers. There’s a nice walk around the top of the ramparts that offers a brilliant view out over the city.
The walls are around 1.6km in length, so it won’t take you too long to work your way around them. You can kick things off near the city’s Guildhall Square.
69. The Spinc Loop (Wicklow)
The Spinc Loop in Glendalough is arguably the most popular trail in Wicklow. It takes walkers along the Spinc ridge and offers endless views over of the surrounding hills and mountains.
I’ve done this walk 9 or 10 times over the years and I’ll never get tired of it. It’s brilliant from beginning to end.
If you follow this route, it shouldn’t take you any longer than 4 hours to complete (with stops).
70. Lough Coolaknick Loop (Mayo)
Our next walk takes us to an island off the coast of County Mayo – Inishturk. This is a proper hidden gem on the Wild Atlantic Way that’s well worth exploring!
If you visit, give the Lough Coolaknick Loop a bash. This is a handy 5km walk that has a 150-metre ascent and it shouldn’t take you any more than 1.5 hours to complete.
The loop circles around the island’s Cairn Hill and offers gorgeous views of the islands and mountains of West Mayo and Connemara.
71. The Knockomagh Hill Walk (Cork)
I did the Knockomagh Hill Walk with my aul lad a couple of years ago. It took us just over an hour to finish and the views out over Lough Hyne were cracking!
The trail here is pretty well maintained, and there’s plenty of places where you can stop for a bit and admire the scenery through the gaps in the trees.
When you reach the top there are several little spots to sit for a while, catch your breath and soak up the picture-perfect scene that lays in front of you.
72. The Horn Head Walk (Donegal)
We’re off to Horn Head in Donegal near the little town of Dunfanaghy, next. There’s a nice and easy walk at Horn Head that’ll take you the guts of 2 hours if you stop to soak up the views.
It kicks off at the little lookout point (it has the large bronze-coloured Wild Atlantic Way sign so you can’t miss it) at Horn Head and follows a trail down towards an old Signal Tower.
The tracks here are along peaty ground, so expect them to be pretty wet under-foot. Although this walk is handy on a fine day, it shouldn’t be attempted in bad weather.
73. The Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk (Wicklow)
If you fancy a longish stroll that’ll banish the stickiest of cobwebs, then the Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk is just the job.
At around 7k in length, this walk shouldn’t take you any more than 2 hours to finish, and you’ll be treated to spectacular coastal scenery throughout.
Kicking off in Bray or Graystones, the walk takes you along a stunning coastal path that winds along the side of Bray Head Hill.
74. Lady Bantry’s Lookout Walk at Glengarriff (Cork)
You’ll find the magnificent Glengarriff Nature Reserve in West Cork, where it’s home to an endless number of adventure opportunities.
I’ve been here a couple of times in the past, and I can’t recommend the Lady Bantry Lookout Walk enough. It’s a moderate walk that takes around 30 minutes.
You have a fairly steep climb up through the woods to the top. From here you’ll have an incredible panoramic view of Glengarrif, Garnish Island, Bantry Bay and Whiddy Island.
75. The Letterkeen Loop (Mayo)
I know a group of lads that go walking in Ballycroy National Park in Mayo every year, and each of them say its not for the faint-hearted.
Established in 1998, Ballycroy National Park boasts 15,000 hectares of Atlantic blanket bog and rugged mountainous terrain.
There are a handful of different walks you can head off on in the park (ranging from 6 hours to 12 – here’s a full guide).
76. Lough Tay to Lough Dan (Wicklow)
There’s a lovely stroll from Lough Tay to Lough Dan that’ll treat you to spectacular views throughout.
The walk takes around three hours and climaxes with a view out over Lough Dan (a boomerang-shaped ribbon lake near Roundwood).
This is a nice alternative to the walks in Glendalough and you’re likely to only encounter a tiny fraction of the people that you would on the likes of the Spinc Loop.
77. Cave Hill Country Park (Antrim)
As was the case with Belfast Castle, Cave Hill Country Park offers magnificent panoramic views across Belfast from a number of different vantage points.
Visitors here can explore a host of different archaeological sites, nip into Cave Hill Visitor Centre and ramble around the gardens.
The Cave Hill walk is also well worth a bash, especially on a clear day when you’ll be treated to mighty views out over Belfast City and beyond.
78. The Ardmore Cliff Walk (Waterford)
The Ardmore Cliff Walk is a savage little trail that stretches for around 4kms. It shouldn’t take you any longer than an hour to complete and it starts and finishes at the Cliff House Hotel.
This is a gorgeous cliffside walk that boasts amazing scenery from start to finish. The icing on the cake is that you can nip into the Cliff House for a post-walk feed or coffee.
79. The Gap of Dunloe (Kerry)
There are several different walks and hikes around the Gap of Dunloe in Kerry and they tend to vary in length and difficulty.
I was here recently and we followed the road from Kate’s Cottage up to the Black Valley. It took around 1 hour and 50 minutes each way.
Bring a picnic and chill at the halfway mark. You could also get a jaunty (horse and cart-type thing) up to towards the Black Valley and then walk back.
80. The Great Sugarloaf (Wicklow)
The little hike up the Great Sugarloaf is one of the best short hikes in Ireland. It’s a handy 2.5km walk that takes around an hour in total.
If you’re driving, aim for the car park near Red Lane. Now, be careful – leave nothing valuable in your car. You often hear of break-ins happening here.
If you arrive on a clear day you’ll have spectacular views of the surrounding countryside from the top of the Great Sugarloaf.
Here’s a full guide to climbing the Great Sugarloaf Mountain (it contains a short and a long walk along with info on hike time and more).
81. The Gougane Barra Forest Walk (Cork)
There are six different trails that you can head off on here – the pick of the bunch (in my opinion) is a walk called ‘the Slí an Easa’.
This is a 1.8km trail that can take up 1.5 hours to complete and is pretty strenuous in places. This walk takes you high up into the mountains and rewards your efforts with spectacular views of the surrounding area.
82. The Cavan Way (Cavan)
The Cavan Way is a long-distance walking trail that stretches around 22 kilometres in length. It begins in Blacklion and ends in Dowra and can be completed over the course of a day.
You’ll kick things off in the village of Blacklion before heading up into the nearby hills where you’ll catch views out over Upper and Lower Lough MacNean.
You’ll then stroll along the outskirts of The Cavan Burren and head on pass the Giant’s Grave (an ancient passage tomb) before making your descent and passing the Moneygashel crossroads.
83. The Burren Way (Clare)
The Burren Way is another one of the lengthier walking trails Ireland has to offer. It’s a 123km trail that takes 5 days to complete, so it’s definitely one for the bucket list.
This long-distance walk crosses the almost-otherworldly Burren region in Clare, which is one of the largest karst limestone landscapes in Europe.
The walk can be broken down into 5 different stages:
- Day 1: Lahinch to Doolin
- Day 2: Doolin to Ballyvaugan
- Day 3: Ballyvaughan to Carran
- Day 4: Carran to Corrofin
- Day 5: Carran to Tubber
84. Mullaghmore Head Walk (Sligo)
Mullaghmore is a little village that boasts sandy beaches, ocean views and a skyline that’s partly dominated by the table-top-like Benbulben mountain.
The walk at Mullaghmore Head is roughly 8km in length and can take up to 2.5 hours. It kicks off from Mullaghmore car park and follows a mixture of footpaths, beach and country roads.
Over the course of your walk, you’ll be treated to views of Benbulben, Donegal Bay, Slieve League, the Dartry Mountains and, of course, Classiebawn Castle.
85. The Ballybunion Cliff Walk (Kerry)
If you make Ballybunion your base while you’re exploring Kerry, you’ll be nice and close to a walk that’s perfect for an early morning.
The Ballybunion Cliff Walk is a handy 1-hour ramble that starts and finishes at Ladies Beach. If you visit during the summer months, keep an eye out towards the bay.
Dolphins are known to frequent the area in the warmer months. There’s also a big aul blow-hole with a bit of a mad story behind it.
It’s said that a local chief pushed his nine daughters into this blowhole after he learned that they were going to run away with some Vikings.
Expect magnificent coastal views from start to finish. Tip: extend the walk and stroll up to see the glorious Nun’s Beach (add 15 minutes onto your walk time).
86. Lugnaquilla (Wicklow)
Hiking in Ireland doesn’t come much better than a day spent conquering Lugnaquilla in Wicklow. This is another hike for the more seasoned climbers among us (unless you have a guide!)
At an impressive 925m, ‘Lug’ is the highest mountain in Ireland outside of County Kerry. The hike here can take anywhere between 4 to 6 hours, depending on pace and stops, to complete and can be very challenging in places.
On a clear day, you’ll enjoy views of the Sugar Loaf, a good chunk of the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains, and the Irish sea over the course of your climb.
87. The Ballycotton Cliff Walk (Cork)
The Ballycotton Cliff Walk is a brilliant 7km walk that’s not to be sniffed at. Tt follows a well-trodden path, offers incredible views and takes around 2.5 hours to finish.
The walk kicks off in Ballycotton and ends at Ballyandreen beach. It follows a cliff track with ocean on one side and meadows on the other. Aside from the distance, this walk is reasonably handy.
88. Slieve Binnian (Down)
We’re rounding this guide off with a trip back to the Mourne Mountains for a lovely 3 hour climb (with stops) on Slieve Binnian.
The easiest starting point for Slieve Binnian is the Carrick Little car park. If you start your walk here you can follow the Mourne Wall all the way to the summit.
Those that reach its summit on a clear day can expect to catch a glimpse of everywhere from the Isle of Man to the Wicklow Mountains.
What are the best hikes in Ireland in your experience?
I leave the comment section open in every guide as I always (unintentionally) leave something or somewhere out.
What are your favourite walking trails in Ireland? Is there a brilliant hike or walks that we’ve left out?
Let me know in the comments section below and we’ll check it out!