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Ireland's top 10 walks

From The Brandy Pad and The Dingle Way to coastal walks and a climb up Diamond Hill, there are hikes to suit everyone in the Emerald Isle.

Ireland's best walks

A favourite walk is Errigal Mountain (Co. Donegal). The most direct route starts from Dunlewy at the car park on the main R521. After crossing heathery slopes, you will reach firmer footing and it’s a relatively easy walk to pick your way to the top through rocks and over loose stones for a view that takes in a large area of the north-west of Ireland.

The Brandy Pad (Co. Down). This route follows an old smuggler’s path across the northern section of the Mourne Mountains. The whole walk, which is waymarked throughout and marked on maps, is 7 miles (11km.). It is not overly strenuous and the reward is spectacular views across the highest mountain range in Ulster. 

The Dingle Way (Co. Kerry). For a taste of dramatic scenery you could walk all, or part, of the 110-mile (180km) Dingle Way on the Dingle peninsula. The walk begins in Tralee, leads west to Camp on the northern side, then loops round the peninsula, taking in the imposing Brandon Mountain, and dropping down to Clogher Head before turning back along the southern stretch of the peninsula.

Croagh Patrick (Co. Mayo). Turn up on the last Sunday in July and you’ll have trouble creating elbow room for yourself amongst 30,000 pilgrims on their annual hike to the summit. A well-trodden path takes you to the chapel at the summit of this conical, aloof peak, from which you can view the islands beneath you in Clew Bay.

Burren Coastal Walk (Co. Clare). Along the stunning coastline from Black Head down to Doolin, you will cross a variety of terrain that includes limestone pavement, beaches, grass and sand dunes all offering pleasant walking among grey walls, stones and rocks. You will come across seabirds and rare Arctic-Alpine plants that flower in the spring and early summer. The five-hour walk also takes you across Fanore beach, a European Special Area of Conservation.

Diamond Hill (Co. Galway). The path to the top of Diamond Hill starts from the visitor centre in Connemara National Park. The 5-mile (8km) route starts along the Sruffaunboy Nature Trail before branching off towards the cone of Diamond Hill. From the cairn on the summit ridge at 1,460ft (442 metres) the breathtaking view embraces islands, bays, beaches, loughs and mountains.

Sawel (Co. Derry). The large expanse of the Sperrin Mountains are in a sparsely populated region of north Tyrone. The walking covers bog, heather and moorland and will take you through quiet valleys and encounters with sheep and birds. 

The Grand Canal Way (Co. Dublin & midlands). This flat canalside walk leads westwards from the outskirts of Dublin through the central plains to the village of Shannon Harbour, covering a distance of 80 miles (130km). The walk offers a variety of wildlife, canal features and pretty villages to stop in for refuelling. You can pause to explore Ireland’s finest monastic settlement at Clonmacnoise. 

The Slieve Bloom Way (Cos. Laois & Offaly). This 43-mile (70km) route covers a wide circuit of an isolated range of mountains in central Ireland and takes two days. It provides panoramic views from the paths and tracks through the bogland, and the ascents of the hills are not too strenuous.

Carrauntoohil (Co. Kerry). The most popular route to the top of Ireland’s highest mountain is via the Devil’s Ladder, although it can be dangerous in wet weather. Walkers have to scramble through a wide gully that has loose boulders that can easily dislodge. The return time is a minimum of five hours, so this one is for more experienced walkers.

 

From the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland to the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland, see our top 10 Irish attractions

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