15 Best Walks in Ireland (Hikes & Nice Walks)

15 Best Walks in Ireland (Hikes & Nice Walks)

By will

Ireland is an amazing country, filled with breathtaking landscapes and natural beauty.

Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike or a leisurely stroll, there are plenty of incredible walks to choose from.

In this article, I’ll be taking you through 15 of the best hikes and nice walks in Ireland.

From the wild and rugged Connemara National Park to the dramatic Cliffs of Moher, you’ll be spoilt for choice!

Let’s take a closer look at some of the best walks in this stunning country.

Connemara National Park

Kylemore Lough near the Connemara National Park
Photo by James Emmans

You won’t believe the beauty of Connemara National Park – the rolling hills, crystal-clear lakes, and diverse wildlife will take your breath away!

It’s one of the best walks in Ireland, and for good reason.

Connemara National Park stretches over 2,000 hectares of stunningly beautiful countryside, with its landscape made up of bogs, heaths, grasslands, and woodlands.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, Connemara National Park has it all.

The park is home to a variety of native wildlife, including red deer, foxes, badgers, and otters.

It’s a great place to spot birds, too, as you can find everything from wrens to buntings.

And with views of the Twelve Bens mountain range, the park is an ideal place to take in the beauty of Ireland’s natural landscape.

Wicklow Mountains

Wicklow Mountains: looking west at the Sally Gap
Photo by Christopher Hilton

Exploring the Wicklow Mountains offers a captivating journey through some of Ireland’s most stunning landscapes.

From the rolling hills of Sally Gap to the majestic peaks of Lugnaquilla Mountain, the Wicklow Mountains are a paradise for hikers and nature lovers alike.

The area is full of trails of varying difficulty, offering something for everyone.

From leisurely walks through lush forests to more strenuous hikes across challenging terrain, the Wicklow Mountains have it all.

The area is also full of archaeological sites and historical monuments, which makes the experience even more enriching.

The views are spectacular, with rugged mountain ranges, shimmering lakes, and rolling valleys.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, the Wicklow Mountains will provide an unforgettable experience.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher
Photo by PAUL FARMER

Standing tall at 214 meters, the iconic Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s most famous natural landmarks.

Perched on the edge of the Wild Atlantic Way, these majestic cliffs offer breathtaking views of the rugged coastline stretching for miles.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or not, the sheer grandeur of the Cliffs of Moher is sure to leave an impression.

The cliffs are home to a wide variety of seabirds, which can be seen up close on the hiking trails and viewpoints along the way.

The Atlantic waves crashing against the cliffs create a mesmerizing sound, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot some dolphins and whales in the water below.

The Cliffs of Moher are an absolute must-see on any visit to Ireland, and a great way to experience the beauty of the country.

Carrauntoohil

Towering over the Irish landscape at a staggering 1,039 meters, Carrauntoohil is the highest peak in Ireland and an awe-inspiring sight. The mountain is located in County Kerry, in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks range, and offers a stunning view of the surrounding landscape.

Climbing to the top of Carrauntoohil is a popular challenge for experienced hikers, though there are some shorter hiking trails available to those who don’t want to take on a full-day climb. With its lush, green valleys, rugged mountains, and stunning views, it’s no wonder that Carrauntoohil is one of the most popular walks in Ireland.

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The hike is full of natural beauty and offers a unique experience for hikers of all levels. Whether you’re looking for a short, leisurely walk or a challenging, multi-day climb, Carrauntoohil has something to offer.

Giants Causeway

Neat geological formation. Giants Causeway. County Antrim

Nestled along the Northern Irish coast, Giants Causeway is a natural wonder of the UK. It boasts an impressive 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. It’s an area of incredible geological interest, made even more fascinating by the various myths and legends associated with it.

It’s said that the Irish giant Finn McCool created the causeway to walk to Scotland, where he was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. After seeing Benandonner’s huge size, Finn ran back to his causeway and hid. Benandonner followed, but when he saw the much smaller Finn, he assumed the same would be true of the rest of the Irish. He ran back to Scotland, destroying the causeway behind him as he went, leaving the impressive columns as a reminder of the legendary battle.

Today, visitors can explore the causeway and take advantage of its stunning natural beauty. The site is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and there are several guided walks and tours available for visitors. The Basalt Trail leads visitors through the various formations and features, and the Giant’s Boot Trail ends at the famous Giant’s Boot.

There is also a visitor’s center with a range of interactive exhibits to learn more about the site’s history and heritage.

Slieve League Cliffs

Just off the coast of Ireland lies Slieve League Cliffs, a breathtakingly beautiful spot, with some of the highest cliffs in Europe.

Standing at almost three times the height of the Giants Causeway, the Slieve League Cliffs offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Donegal countryside.

These cliffs are among the most spectacular in Europe and are a must-see for anyone visiting Donegal.

The best way to experience the Slieve League Cliffs is to take a walk. The One Man’s Pass Trail is a popular choice, as it takes hikers along a rugged cliff-top path with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.

The hike is quite challenging, but the views are well worth the effort. It’s a great way to take in the breathtaking beauty of this unique part of Ireland.

Killarney National Park

Experience the wild beauty of Ireland by visiting Killarney National Park, one of the country’s most beloved natural sites. It’s a paradise of lakes, mountains, and forests, and a place of great historical and spiritual significance.

The park is best known for the Lakes of Killarney, three stunning bodies of water that have inspired locals and visitors alike for centuries.

Explore the trails that wind around the lakes, including the popular Lakes of Killarney Walk, which offers sweeping views of the lakes and the surrounding landscape.

You can also take a boat tour of the lakes, or take a pony and trap ride to Ross Castle and Muckross House, two of the park’s most iconic monuments.

Whatever you choose to do, a visit to Killarney National Park will be an unforgettable experience.

Mount Errigal

Surround yourself with breathtaking beauty by climbing Mount Errigal, the highest peak in Donegal. Located in the Derryveagh Mountains, this 751-meter peak is the most distinctive mountain in the area, with its distinct pyramidal shape.

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As you make your way up the mountain, you’ll take in stunning views of the dramatic Irish landscape below, as well as of the many islands that dot the lake below.

The hike to the summit of Mount Errigal is quite strenuous and can take up to five hours, but it’s absolutely worth it. Along the way, you’ll get to take in stunning views of the Derryveagh Mountains, the Atlantic Ocean, and the many islands in the lake below.

You can also stop off at some of the area’s many historical sites, such as the ruins of Dunlewy Castle. With its breathtaking beauty and rewarding views, a hike up Mount Errigal is an unforgettable experience.

Mournes Mountains

Leaving the rugged beauty of Mount Errigal behind, I continued my journey across Ireland in search of the best walks the country has to offer.

My next destination was the Mournes Mountains, one of the most stunning and breathtaking settings in all of Ireland.

The Mournes span an impressive range of peaks, valleys, and hills, offering spectacular views of the Irish countryside.

With trails for all levels of hikers, from beginner to experienced, the Mournes are the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, an all-day hike, or even a multi-day trek.

The Mourne Wall, a 22-mile long stone wall that winds through the mountains, makes for a memorable journey.

And if you’re lucky, you just might spot some of the resident red deer or golden eagles along the way.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an invigorating adventure, the Mournes are sure to delight.

Glendalough

Take a journey through time and explore the breathtaking beauty of Glendalough, a 6th-century monastic settlement nestled in the Wicklow Mountains.

With its tranquil lakes, lush greenery, and historic ruins, it’s a must-see for hikers and nature lovers alike.

Steeped in a rich history, Glendalough is home to the ruins of a 30-meter round tower, a Medieval church, a stone arch, and burial grounds, all of which provide a glimpse into the past.

The area offers a range of easy to moderate walks, from gentle strolls around the lakes to longer hikes through the lush valleys and forest trails.

With its stunning views, Glendalough is an unforgettable experience for any walker.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an invigorating challenge, you’ll find it here.

Benbulben

Explore the magnificent Benbulben, a striking table mountain in County Sligo, for an unforgettable experience.

Benbulben is part of the Dartry Mountains and is visible from many miles away.

It is the perfect spot for a peaceful hike or a leisurely stroll.

The terrain is varied, with steep inclines, gentle hills, and flat areas.

The views from the top are spectacular, with the Atlantic Ocean, the Sligo Bay, and the surrounding countryside all visible from the summit.

The trail is well-marked and will take you approximately two hours to complete.

Along the way, you may even spot some native wildlife, such as rabbits, badgers, stoats, and hares.

Benbulben is an ideal destination for those seeking a unique hiking experience.

The mountain’s dramatic landscape will captivate you and leave you with lasting memories.

The Burren

Immerse yourself in the unique beauty of the Burren, a fascinating area of limestone in County Clare.

This area is best known for its karst landscape, with distinctive limestone pavements and a wide variety of flora and fauna.

It is an amazing place to go for a walk, with many trails and paths to explore.

One of the most popular routes is the Burren Way, a long-distance walking trail that takes you through some of the most breathtaking scenery in the area.

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As you amble along the path, you can take in the sights of the wildflowers, the towering cliffs, and the ancient ruins.

It’s a perfect way to take in the beauty of this special place.

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of challenging hikes, with plenty of stunning vistas to take in.

No matter what level of walking you choose, you can be sure to get a sense of the unique beauty of the Burren.

Dingle Peninsula

Leaving the Burren and heading south, the next great walking destination in Ireland is the Dingle Peninsula. Known for its rugged beauty, Dingle is one of the most scenic areas in all of Ireland.

The peninsula boasts miles of breathtaking coastline, stunning cliffs, and meandering country roads.

The most popular walk in Dingle is the Slea Head Drive. This scenic trail offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean while taking you along the very edge of the peninsula. It is a very popular route for walkers, hikers, and bicyclists alike.

Along the way, you can also visit some of the peninsula’s most iconic sites such as the Blasket Islands, Beehive Huts, and the Gallarus Oratory. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more strenuous hike, Dingle Peninsula has something for everyone.

Donegal Coastline

Take in the stunning views of the Donegal Coastline as you journey along the rugged coastline.

The Donegal Coastline is one of the most beautiful places in Ireland to explore. The coastline is a picturesque mix of sandy beaches, rocky coves, and stunning cliffs.

As you walk, you can take in the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean from towering cliffs and rocky outcrops. The walk is a perfect way to take in the natural beauty of Ireland and explore the dramatic landscape of the Donegal Coastline.

Along the way, you’ll come across quaint fishing villages and beautiful beaches. You can also take in the sights of the many historical sites and monuments that line the coast.

There’s truly something for everyone on this stunning walking route. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, the Donegal Coastline has something to offer.

Skellig Islands

The Skellig Islands are a must-see destination for any traveler looking to get away from it all. Located off the coast of Kerry, the two islands of Skellig Michael and Small Skellig offer breathtaking views of the Atlantic and the opportunity to explore some of the most unique and beautiful landscapes in Ireland.

The islands are renowned for their rugged beauty, with steep cliffs and rocky shorelines that are perfect for those looking for a challenging walk. On Skellig Michael, visitors can take a 2-3 hour climb to the top of the 700-foot peak, allowing for stunning views of the surrounding ocean.

Small Skellig, meanwhile, is a nature reserve and a sanctuary for thousands of seabirds, making it a great spot for birdwatching. Both islands offer an unforgettable experience that is not to be missed by any intrepid hiker.

Conclusion

Exploring the great outdoors of Ireland is truly a magical experience, and these 15 hikes and walks are just the tip of the iceberg of what the country has to offer.

From trekking through the breathtaking Connemara National Park to visiting the mythical Skellig Islands, there’s something for every adventurer.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, the stunning beauty of Ireland will captivate you and leave you with unforgettable memories.

So why not get out there and explore? You won’t regret it!

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.