Ireland boasts a deceptive variety of trails that make it one of the best walking destinations in the world and it what’s more it won’t break the bank.
St. Kevin’s Way, Co Wicklow
The Wicklow Mountains provide some of the most breathtaking scenery you will find in Ireland. They are the ideal place to enjoy a walking holiday with the 30km St Kevin’s Way walk being the most popular. This walk was once a medieval pilgrimage that will take you from the town of Hollywood, past the Slievecorragh Hill, Wicklow Gap and Turlough Hill before arriving at the ancient monastery city of Glendalough deep in the Wicklow mountains.
The Barnavave Loop, Co Louth
Carlingford in Co Louth is a coastal town that boasts several picturesque walks around the coasts. The nearby Cooley Mountains also have a variety of walking routes to suit every fitness level.
One route that is recommended is the Barnavave Loop, a 14k walk that starts and finishes in Carlingford town. This magical walk takes you through the forests of Carlingford Mountain and will offer breathtaking views of the coast and nearby Mourne Mountains of Co Down. It can be completed in four hours so is the ideal walk if you want to relax in the evening and take in the sites of Carlingford towns vibrant traditional bars.
Cliffs of Moher Cliff Walk, Co Clare
The Cliffs of Moher are known for being one of the most picturesque walks in Ireland. The cliff walk is a 6.5km coastal path along the famous cliffs, starting and ending in the villages of Doolin and Liscannor. On this walk you will see the stunning cliffs in all their glory and can enjoy the nearby visitor centre. If you finish you walk in Doolin, be sure to unwind in a pub for a trad session, as Doolin is the traditional music capital of Ireland.
Keem Valley, Co Mayo
The Keem Bay Valley Walk is one of the most spectacular spots along the Wild Atlantic Way. This walk is a 7km trail that does begin on a steep climb on top of a cliff, but the views are worth it. From here the walk will get much easier as you journey further and find yourself in another time, walking past old houses and the Deserted Village.
Slieve League, Co Donegal
Slieve League is often referred to as the edge of Europe. These dramatic cliffs are not for the faint-hearted but if you thrive on adventure then this is the walk for you. Not as popular as the Cliffs of Moher, they are among the highest cliffs in Europe and offer some breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. The 10km route includes an ascent of over 500m.
Slieve Binnian Walk, Co Down
Slieve Binnian is the third highest peak in Northern Ireland’s Mourne Mountains. While many hikers opt for the more popular peak of Slieve Donard, the Slieve Binnian walk is more picturesque, offering unique views of the Silent Valley and Ben Crom Reservoirs. The walk can be accessed from the village of Annalong.
Cuilcagh Way, Co Fermanagh
Situated a short drive away from Enniskillen in County Fermanagh, the Cuilcagh Way is also known as the, ‘Stairway to heaven,’ due to its intricate boardwalk and wooden stairs that take you along the path and up the mountain. The boardwalk forms part of the Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail.
The scenery is picturesque and has recently became a popular social media attraction with people sharing selfies along the route. This route is not for the faint hearted. The round trip from the Legnabrocky car park is 14.8km. The wooden boardwalk is 1.6km long at the end of a 5.8km limescale walkway. On average the full trail will take about 6 hours to complete, but it will be worth it. The isolated scenery will bring you back to the Ireland of old, with hardy sheep lining the route.
Remember to wear sensible walking gear and to prepare for the elements as the weather can change quickly up the mountain.
Another thing to consider is the sites popularity. It is recommended to book ahead during peak times and in July or August you should book your ticket two days in advance. It wouldn’t be recommended to go over Easter, the most popular day has been Easter Monday two years running.