Visiting Ireland is a thrilling adventure, and what better way to enjoy the beauty than a hike? We’ve put together the best hikes in Ireland with handy tips and info, so enjoy reading through and imagining your next adventure!
15 Best Hikes in Ireland in 2023
The best hikes in Ireland range from single-day walks that wind through woods to multiple-day voyages across mountain peaks and past ancient monuments.
Whether you want to enjoy some natural beauty or view the history, a walk in Ireland can deliver what you want.
We’ve gathered some of the best hikes worth your precious travel time, so you enjoy it all, whether you’re an avid hiker or bringing the family along.
1. Murroe and Clare Glens Circular
A great walk for everyone, including families, is the Murroe and Clare Glens Circular loop. This trail is only 2 miles, but it offers plenty of views. The park scenery includes blue streams, red sandstone, and burbling waterfalls.
The trail is ideal for mountain biking, walking, birding, or taking a leashed dog. Spend your time taking in the atmosphere, and then sit to enjoy lunch in nearby picnic areas.
This walk is well-marked and easy to follow along the correct path. If the conditions are icy or wet, it may be a good idea to take some extra time to appreciate the views by walking cautiously.
2. Glendalough Spink Walk White Route
The Glendalough Spink Walk is a fantastic walking choice for those with moderate abilities. The roughly 6-mile hilly trail is well-marked with white arrows and is partially on boardwalks.
Well-maintained, this trail has restrooms and other stops along the way for those a bit less experienced. At the end of the walk, you can enjoy picking up items in the shops.
The breathtaking views are well worth the effort. You’ll enjoy taking in the natural beauty of Ireland’s wildlife and native flowers, only a quick ride away from Dublin.
3. The Gap of Dunloe
The Gap of Dunloe is a stunning sight, an enormous rift formed between two mountains in Ireland’s last ice age 25,000 years ago. It was likely due to glacial movement, and the setting will make you feel lost in time.
The walk is roughly 7 miles one way, 14 miles round trip, and can be a moderate difficulty. Don’t be too deterred, as the views along the walk include idyllic pastures and ancient cliffsides.
When you’re tired out from the journey, enjoy a stop at the 150-year-old family-owned Irish pub to rejuvenate your spirits before heading back.
4. Muckross Lake and Abbey Loop
The Muckross Lake trails are a small series of different, connected loops that equal around 12 miles combined. Most of these are easy to walk, but the hill to view Torc waterfall can get difficult with uneven steps on a steep incline.
Still, Muckross Lake is one of the most famous sceneries in Ireland. Often painted or shown on postcards, Muckross has it all, from birding to fishing and hiking. Make sure to pack some snacks and water as you travel along this loop.
One of the biggest draws of Muckross is the Muckross Abbey. Investigating this 15th-century stone building will be well worth the walk.
5. The Diamond Hill Loop
The Diamond Hill Loop can be a challenging uphill hike, and moderately rated, it is around 5 miles long. Still, if you’re excited about seeing some of Ireland’s history, it’s one you won’t want to miss.
At the top of the peak, you’ll take in views of the nearby mountains. Nestled away, you can also catch some glimpses at the stony peaks of Kylemore’s Abbey.
The walk has places to veer off the trail and enjoy a picnic. While you’re packing up the food, remember to take some bug spray for biting flies and take some rain gear and good shoes if the weather turns.
6. Kilcornan Woodland
An easy trail that’s even accessible to wheelchairs with a paved center path, the Kilcornan Woodland offers a glimpse into the forests of Ireland. It’s only a 4-mile loop trail, so enjoy a leisurely pace.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, there are plenty of rocky paths off the main trail. You’ll enjoy large trees, rock formations, and natural wildlife and can easily walk to the nearby Clarinbridge Village.
This walk is an ideal choice for families. If it’s been raining, prepare for some mud. It still won’t be enough to dampen the beauty of this park.
7. Slieve Gullion
If you’re an avid hiker, here’s the challenging Ireland hike you’ll love. An 8.5-mile loop takes you up the Slieve Gullion mountain. It’s a route up the highest peak in Armagh County.
At the top, you’ll see the local mountains and peninsula. Plus, along the walk, you can view some historic tombs. If you visit in the summer, you’ll get to see the mountain ranges blooming purple.
8. The Beara Way
Beara Way is a hike many people will only do parts of, as it’s nearly 130 miles to walk round-trip. The ancient trail loops around the Beara peninsula and can take up to 9 days to walk the entirety.
Along the way, you’ll get to see the real lives of remote Irish villagers. This long trail has everything you could ask for, from mountainsides to lake views. For history fans, there are plenty of sites with ancient monuments from the Bronze Age.
Pick a favorite point of the Beara Way, and you’ll be sure to find a treasure. Most of the trail is easy to walk, with some inclines reaching moderate difficulty.
9. Climb Lugnaquilla
Climbing Lugnaquilla certainly isn’t an easy task, as it takes you up one of the highest peaks in all of Ireland. You can climb over 3,000 feet to top this mountain and enjoy taking in the landscape views.
There are different routes up that vary in difficulty from moderate to hard, depending on your readiness. The most popular tourist route begins near a local Fenton’s pub, so gather your courage and head out for this hike.
10. Ballycotton Cliff Walk
If you love a good ocean view, the Ballycotton Cliff Walk will be one of the best Ireland hikes for you. This easy hike is around 5 miles, and it has plenty of picnic benches and seats along the trail for relaxation.
More importantly, the trail is between nearby grasslands and the stunning blue ocean. From the cliffsides, you can see nearby lighthouses, and you may be able to catch a boat to go deep-sea fishing.
This walk is ideal for everyone. You’ll find plenty to do and look at along the trail. Since it’s near the ocean, prepare for some spray and mud if the day is windy.
11. The Coomloughra Horseshoe
If you’re really in it for a mountain adventure, climbing Carrauntoohil mountain will deliver the thrills. This range is the highest mountain in Ireland, at an elevation of 3,406 feet.
There are multiple routes up the mountain, but it’s definitely no easy climb with some climbing skills necessary for a few trails. The Coomloughra Horseshoe is an 8-mile looped option that takes you across all three of the highest peaks in Ireland.
You won’t just enjoy the climb, as you’ll also get views of the entire country. Consider yourself a conqueror, and enjoy looking out at the nearby ocean and marveling at all of Ireland’s beauty.
12. Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail
The Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail is a boardwalk through some of Ireland’s bogs that leads you up the Cuilcagh mountain in a nearly 6-mile walk one way.
Locals may refer to it as the stairway to heaven, and seeing the expansive boardwalk up the side of the mountain will make it clear why. Even with the trail being boards, it’s still a moderate climb for the elevation.
Still, you’ll get a chance to explore the unique ecosystem of Ireland’s bogs. Not to mention, there are Marble Arch Caves nearby if you’re looking for an extra adventure.
13. Cliffs of Moher Cliff Walk
The Cliffs of Moher are one of the most famous sights of Ireland, showing off steep and rugged cliffs that drop into the ocean. These cliffs have an 8-mile trail that takes you from Doolin to Hags Head.
This walk isn’t as difficult as it might seem, though it’s still a bit moderate as there are sections where there are more steep inclines. Still, it generally is relatively flat and well-maintained.
Ensure to take time to enjoy the sights. Wear comfortable and durable clothing, as the coast can change weather quickly. If there’s any point where you’ve had enough, there are multiple car parks along the way with a shuttle to take you back.
14. Glenariff Forest Park Scenic Trail
The Glenariff Forest Scenic Trail is an easy 4-mile loop through the Glenariff Forest. There are other trails here for those feeling adventurous, but this is a relaxed walk to take in the woodland anyone can do.
Enjoy seeing the rugged beauty of Ireland up close, any time of the year. This trail has some short detours that can also take you to see nearby waterfalls. Pack a lunch and enjoy the lazy day in the park.
If you’re searching for red squirrels in Ireland, there’s a good chance you’ll catch a glimpse of these fun local critters among the trees.
15. The Causeway Coast
Walking the entirety of the Causeway Coast can take up to 3 days across nearly 32-miles. This trail will let you enjoy the sandy bays and blue waters of Ireland.
Don’t be too intimidated by the size, as there are plenty of options for public transport along the walk to split it up however you please.
Most of the trail is easy to moderate, depending on the section. Feel free to tackle just a piece of the walk or challenge yourself to do the entire thing.
Either way, you’ll still be enjoying the views. Ensure you get a chance to appreciate the basalt columns that are remnants of ancient volcano eruptions.
Things to Consider
If you’ve got your sights set on one of these walks, there are a few essential tips you can follow for the best hiking. These include:
- Prepare for the weather to change near coasts
- Pack rain gear
- Wear good boots or shoes
- Pack extra food and water for everyone
- Consider hiring local guides to help follow difficult trails.
- Pack as light as possible
- Whatever you pack, take it back. No litter!
- Ensure someone trusted knows your route when you leave
- Don’t rely on phones for navigation.
- Take time to enjoy the scenery
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still want to know more about the best hikes in Ireland? Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions to prepare you:
Does Ireland have good hiking?
Yes, Ireland has fantastic hiking options. The walks take in the raw beauty of Ireland, from inland pastures to cliffs on the coast.
What is the longest hiking trail in Ireland?
The Beara-Breifne Way is a nearly 300-mile trail spanning multiple provinces and counties. This trail is well-marked and easy to break into more than one voyage.
Where is the best walking in Ireland?
The best walking in Ireland, of course, depends on personal preference. If you’re looking for a relaxing stroll, try some of Ireland’s national parks. For more adventures, brave the multiple cliffside routes.
What is the easiest mountain to climb in Ireland?
The Cuilcagh mountain has a boardwalk trail that will take you directly to its peak. It still is a moderately challenging walk up, but it’ll be worth it for the sights.
What is the best time to hike in Ireland?
There are two different periods when it’s good walking in Ireland, from March to May and from September to November. The fall and spring are when the weather is just right for strenuous activity, and you’ll be less likely to run into rain.
So, What’s the Best Hike in Ireland?
There are so many fantastic options to enjoy that it’s hard to pick just one best hike in Ireland.
The walks can vary, taking a short day to complete or multiple voyages through the countryside. No matter what you’re looking for, you’re sure to find a trail in Ireland to explore.