The Short Answer
Yes! If you like walking in the open air, you'll love the panoramic paths, magical mountain trails and historic country roads of Ireland.
The Tough as Old Boots Answer
All across the country, there are walking trails to match your desired level of exercise. Hillwalking is also a great way to experience the country. You can:
- Enjoy spectacular views from the walking trails that wind to the tops of hills and over the crests of the seaside cliffs
- Move off the beaten paths to more fully explore historically and geologically important areas
- Move at your own pace and gain deeper access into the lifestyle and culture of Ireland's residents and their communities.
Why and Where to Walk in Ireland
Walkers gain a more intimate experience of Ireland than, for example, those on a city break. When surveyed, they often report a more satisfying visiting experience. With around thirty very popular trails marketed by the Irish Tourist Board, and countless small rural treks to choose from, you be spoiled for choice if you want to engage in Irish sightseeing on foot. Villages and towns are conveniently spaced so that cross country walkers are able to reach lodging and dining facilities each evening. Of the clearly marked trails of varying lengths that criss-cross the island, one of the oldest and most challenging is Wicklow Way. It meanders from the outer suburbs of Dublin through the mountains of the same name, rising to altitudes over 1600 ft and travelling through forest, pasture and bog for a breathtaking 85 miles. Other notable trails include the Kerry Way, which encircles scenic Killarney, and the Ulster Way, featuring the breathtaking scenery of the northern coast. The Mourne Mountains in the northeast and rugged County Donegal in the northwest are also popular places to hike the foothills.
Tips for Hill Walking Enthusiasts in Ireland
- Complete information on popular trails, including maps, can be obtained from the Irish Tourist Board and the Countryside Access and Activity Network for Northern Ireland (CAAN).
- Be sure to pack extra clothing in preparation for changeable weather, along with other essentials such as a flashlight, compass and extra food.
- When planning an especially long walking tour, it might make sense to carry a tent.