Now, I know, I may be biased but I think Ireland is a great place to take a walk or a hike. For such a small island, it offers a huge variety of landscapes to explore. With coastal routes to mountain climbs and child-friendly trails. Nowhere is too far from the start point of a good walking route so we encourage you to boot up and step out!
Most visitors to Ireland will land in Dublin City on the East coast of the Island. Within just over an hour later you could be in wilderness in the Wicklow Mountains. Scattered with rolling hills and high mountains, dense woodland, steeped in history, sprinkled with native flora and fauna. Known as “the Garden of Ireland”, Wicklow is an enchanting place to get lost in – be it for a day or week.
On the Wild Atlantic Way, along the Western Coast of Ireland, you are spoilt for choice! There are more strenuous way-marked trails in the world but few are as spectacularly beautiful as The Dingle Way in Co Kerry. The Mount Brandon range (1000m) dominates the peninsula. It was also voted by the National Geographic as one of its top five most scenic hikes on earth. Incidentally, N.G. also describes the Dingle Peninsula as ‘the most beautiful place in the world’. It is a natural, open air museum with something ancient and interesting around most corners!
The Western Way brings you through Counties Galway, Mayo and also passes through Connemara. It has a wonderful remoteness, wilderness and isolated feel at times. It combines all that is hauntingly beautiful about the west coast of Ireland and The Wild Atlantic Way. It is Ireland’s largest tract of land without a through road so it is not very crowded to say the least. Connemara has a strong association with traditional Irish culture and contains the largest Gaeltacht (Irish language speaking area) in the country. It was drastically hit by An Gorta Mor – The Great Hunger – in the 1840’s and it has never recovered in terms of population.
The Beara Way is a very interesting trail, half in Kerry and half in Cork! The roads are narrow and no buses can get past the village of Adrigole so it is off the beaten path. For this reason it can be difficult to get to for most tourists and attracts lots of artists and crafts people. The presence of the warm Gulf Stream makes it a rich marine environment. The qualities of the waters off the Beara Peninsula are a Grade A standard and the region’s traditional maritime culture is as strong as ever. The ruggedly beautiful landscape of the area is breath taking with stunning waterfalls and valleys. There is also splendid heritage trails and walks, historic copper mines and mountains. Many visitors to the area have commented that life progresses at a different pace.
Our stunning Atlantic coastal scenery comes with some caveats to Mountain Safety. Our mountains may not be very high but the changeable weather can come as a surprise. Always be prepared with waterproof jacket and trousers, walking boots plus warm layers, hat and gloves.
A warm and dry hiker is a happy hiker!