Know as the Emerald Isle, Ireland is a small island which offers some amazing hiking trails set around stunning scenery. All are easily accessible and well mapped out. Below are some of the best hiking trails in Ireland, enjoy!
Glendalough – Wicklow
This is easily one of the most beautiful settings in Ireland and because so, it’s a mecca for tourists. Glendalough has a lot of different routes so offers something for all levels of hikers. All the main routes are signalled and on boarded timber or paths so they are easy for most. If you fancy a little bit more of a challenge, try leaving the path and hike up Turlough hill which is all off trail so make sure your trail boots or shoes are waterproof!
Mount Carrauntoohil – Kerry
Standing tall at 1038.6 meters, Carrauntoohil is Ireland highest mountain and one of the toughest hikes on offer in Ireland. Depending on experience, car park to summit and back again will take 4-7 hours. The scenery even on a wet day is stunning with lots of lakes and peaks on view. Due to the incline and surface hiking boots are necessary, especially if going up and down the devils ladder which is the most direct but most challenging route.
Lugnaquilla – Wicklow
About 20 minutes away from Glendalough and in the same range of mountains, there is the 925 meter peak of Lugnaquilla. The mountain is more of a broad gentle giant, rather than a dramatic, pointy peak.
The routes aren’t way marked so the walk requires navigation skills, particularly in bad weather and poor visibility. And at the top anything can happen so be prepared for dense fog which can really disorientate your decent, because of this it’s best advised to join a hiking group or go with a guide if you’re a first timer. Allow 5-7 hours depending on the route and experience.
Sleive Donard – Down
Northern Ireland’s highest mountain, Sleive Donard stands at 850 meters and offer some incredible views from the top.
At 4.6 km from car park to summit it’s a short enough but steep hike. Another option close by and just as nice is Slieve Binnian.
Mount Errigal – Donegal
In the beautiful surroundings of Donegal on the north west of Ireland sits the 751 meter peak of Errigal Mountain. It a short moderate to strenuous 6km loop walk that will take you 2.5-4 hours.
Croagh Patrick – Mayo
Croagh Patrick is a famous pilgrimage going back to 3000BC and so a very popular mountain to climb, some even do it barefoot!
At 764 meters high with a very well worn trail, and lots of fellow hikers you have no fear of getting lost. Walking up Croagh Patrick can be difficult in places, it’s steep and there are uneven and loose slippery rocks so make sure you’re equipped with proper shoes. Croagh Patrick is around 14 km in total so takes 3-4 hours, and like the above hikes it offers some truly beautiful views from the top.
We’ll finish with 2 routes very close to Dublin
Sugarloaf – Wicklow
Only a 40 minute drive from Dublin city centre makes this a very popular one and busy one. At 500 meters tall and 2.5k its an easy one to do. It starts with soft slope, but near the peak it becomes quite steep, and you’ll need to use your hands to pull yourself over the craggy rocks at the top.
This famous mountain bike trail and walk is very popular with walkers and trail runners. It’s only a 30 minute drive from city centre and so a very popular one. It starts on a tarmac path through a forest then a trail up to the famous Fairy Castle which has some stunning views of the sea and both Wicklow and Dublin mountains. The trail loop only takes around 2 hours and is not too strenuous.
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