How To Plan Your Hiking Trip in Ireland
Ireland is a hiker’s paradise with its lush landscapes, enchanting history, and warm people. So, how do you plan your hiking trip in Ireland to ensure success? Whether planning a long backpacking trip across the island or a shorter, self-guided hiking tour, this comprehensive travel guide aims to equip you with the necessary knowledge to make the most of your trip.
Table of Contents
This guide on how to plan your hiking trip in Ireland is not merely a catalogue of trails but a treasure trove of insider tips, must-visit places, and valuable information to help you navigate the breathtaking landscapes of Ireland seamlessly.
Here’s why you should read on:
- Learn about Ireland’s most scenic hiking trails and what makes them unique.
- Get practical tips on the best time to visit, what to pack, and how to travel around.
- Gain insights into the Irish culture, history, and must-try local experiences.
This travel guide ensures that your Irish hiking holiday is nothing less than a magical adventure in the heartland of the Emerald Isle. Each section of this guide will take a deep dive into these topics, ensuring that you’re equipped with all the necessary information for your hiking holiday in Ireland. So, let’s lace up our hiking boots and embark on this exciting journey.
Why Choose Ireland for Your Hiking Trip?
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just a beginner, Ireland offers the best of both worlds. The diversity of hiking trails in Ireland ranges from gentle walking tours along the coast to challenging treks that take you to the highest point in Ireland. The Emerald Isle boasts long-distance hiking trails, such as the Wicklow Way and the Kerry Way, offering hikers panoramic views of stunning landscapes and a peek into the rich culture and history of the land. As you’re backpacking Ireland, you’ll come across majestic castles, quaint towns, and friendly pubs where you can experience the warmth of Irish hospitality.
When is the Best Time to Travel to Ireland?
Ireland’s weather is famously unpredictable. Therefore the best time to travel to Ireland is an important consideration. The primary season to plan your trip to Ireland is between May and October, but it’s best to plan your hiking trip during the summer months (June to August). This period gives you as many dry days as possible, which is ideal for exploring the hiking trails. However, spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) can also offer milder weather and fewer crowds. Just remember, no matter the time in Ireland, always pack waterproof gear for those sudden showers!
Exploring the Wicklow Way: Ireland’s Most Famous Hiking Trail
If you’re planning to go hiking in Ireland, the Wicklow Way should be on your list. This 131 km trail, one of Ireland’s most famous long-distance hiking trails, offers a mix of challenging terrain, diverse flora and fauna, and breathtaking landscapes. Starting from Dublin’s outskirts and ending in Clonegal, this trail takes you through the Wicklow Mountains National Park, where you can marvel at serene lakes, dense forests, and historical monastic sites.
A Day Trip to Cliffs of Moher: A Must-Visit While Hiking in Ireland
Located on the west coast of Ireland, the Cliffs of Moher are a spectacular sight, rising over 200 meters above the Atlantic Ocean. They form part of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark, offering a trail that stretches for 18km. This trail provides stunning views and is a fantastic addition to your Ireland itinerary.
Discovering the Trails in Ireland’s National Parks
Ireland is home to six national parks, each with its unique charm and set of trails. From the rugged beauty of Killarney National Park to the wild landscapes of Connemara, the national parks offer hikers an unrivalled opportunity to explore Ireland’s fauna, flora, and geological wonders. Don’t forget to visit the Glenveagh National Park in County Donegal, known for its stunning vistas and rich birdlife.
Backpacking in Ireland: Tips for a Memorable Adventure
Backpacking in Ireland is a unique way to see the country. One tip for walking, hiking in Ireland is to plan your route well. You may choose to explore a region, such as the West of Ireland and “Wild Atlantic Way”, or cover iconic coastal trails like the Antrim and Causeway Coast. Remember, Ireland offers a range of accommodations, from hostels to B&Bs, to suit every backpacker’s budget. Ireland is known for its hospitality and welcoming culture, but be sure to book in advance, especially during peak seasons. Planning the ultimate Ireland tour is something that Walking Holiday Ireland has specialised in for over 10 years, contact us for our tips for hiking in Ireland.
How to Plan Your Hiking Trip in Ireland and 10 Trails You Cannot Miss!
1. The Wicklow Way
The Wicklow Way extends over 131 kilometres and is one of Ireland’s premier long-distance walking trails. From the bustling Dublin suburbs to the serene southern landscapes, this trail provides diverse Irish experiences. You’ll walk through dense forests, open moorland, and sprawling farmland, with stunning views of the Wicklow Mountains throughout.
2. The Kerry Way
The Kerry Way is Ireland’s longest marked trail, extending over 214 kilometres through the scenic County Kerry. The trail offers hikers views of the highest mountains in Ireland, deep blue lakes, golden beaches, and the wild Atlantic Ocean. This route is perfect for those looking for an immersive and picturesque hike in Ireland.
3. The Causeway Coast Way
This Coastal trail in Northern Ireland is short, at 52 kilometres, but full of breathtaking scenery. It takes you along the coastline through sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, and remarkable natural formations such as the Giant’s Causeway. This trail offers a blend of cultural and natural attractions, making it a must-visit for any hiker in Ireland. Walking Holiday Ireland offers an Eight-Day Hiking Tour that also includes the Glens of Antrim for a fantastic Ireland Adventure.
4. The Connemara National Park
Located in County Galway, Connemara National Park is a gem for hikers. It offers various trails with stunning views of the Twelve Bens mountain range, the Connemara coastline, and the expansive blanket bogs. Don’t miss Diamond Hill within the park for a well-marked trail and panoramic views at the summit.
5. The Barrow Way
This 179-kilometre trail circles the Dingle Peninsula, providing hikers with stunning views of sandy beaches, rugged cliffs, and ancient archaeological sites. The path gives you a glimpse of Ireland’s wild beauty, with the added charm of Dingle’s vibrant culture and friendly locals. Check out our Barrow Way self-guided hiking tours Ireland.
6. The Slieve League Cliffs
While most tourists flock to the Cliffs of Moher, the Slieve League Cliffs in County Donegal are some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe and much less crowded. There are several hiking trails around the cliffs, all of which offer stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sligo Mountains, and Donegal Bay.
7. The Wicklow Mountains National Park
Wicklow Mountains National Park is home to the famous Glendalough monastic site and offers diverse hiking trails. From the 9-kilometre Spinc and Wicklow Way trail to the 4-kilometre Miners’ Road Walk, there’s something for every level of hiker.
8. Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park in County Kerry is a treasure trove for hikers. Explore trails around Muckross Lake, ascend Torc Mountain for breathtaking views, or navigate through the ancient woodland of the yew and oak trees in Tomies Wood.
9. Croagh Patrick
Known as Ireland’s holy mountain, Croagh Patrick in County Mayo is a must-visit. It’s not just a regular hike; it’s a traditional pilgrimage site with religious significance. The climb can be challenging, but the panoramic views from the summit are worth it.
10. The Cooley and Mourne Mountains
The Cooley and Mourne Mountains are fantastic hiking destinations located in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Slieve Donard trail, leading to the highest peak in Northern Ireland, is a popular choice. Enjoy the tranquillity of the forest before the challenge of the mountain ascent, culminating in an incredible view at the summit. The Medieval village of Carlingford lies at the foot of Slieve Foye on Carlingford Lough and offers superb views of the Mourne Mountains in the North. Carlingford offers many medieval buildings and links to it’s Viking and Norman occupiers.
What to Pack: Essential Hiking Provisions for Ireland
Remember to pack for all weather conditions regardless of when you’re backpacking or hiking in Ireland. The weather in Ireland is slightly unpredictable, as the saying “Four Seasons In One Day” indicates. Therefore essential hiking provisions include a waterproof jacket, layers for warmth, sturdy walking/hiking boots, a hat, sunscreen, and a detailed map of the hiking routes. Don’t forget to pack a good-quality hiking backpack to carry your supplies comfortably.
Going Around Ireland: Travel and Transportation Tips
Renting a car in Ireland is a popular choice for its convenience. However, driving in Ireland means getting accustomed to the left side of the road, and manual cars are more prevalent. An alternative is the well-connected public transport system, including buses and trains that cover most towns and cities in Ireland. Local taxi services or cycling can be a good option for more remote areas. Hitchhiking in Ireland is no longer a good option due to its extended network of motorways. The best way to get around is possibly booking a walking tour that provides a private transfer option for you and your group.
The Unforgettable End of Your Ireland Hiking Adventure: Reflections
As your hiking holiday in Ireland comes to an end, take time to reflect on your experiences. From the strenuous hikes up the mountains to the tranquil strolls in the National Parks of Ireland, each day of hiking offers new discoveries and challenges. The Irish landscapes leave lasting memories, and the connections made along the way become stories to tell.
To summarise, here are the key takeaways for planning your hiking holiday in Ireland:
- Ireland’s diverse trails cater to hikers of all levels.
- The best time to visit Ireland is during the summer, but spring and autumn are also beautiful.
- The Wicklow Way and Cliffs of Moher are must-visit hiking locations.
- Take time to explore Ireland’s rich history and culture on rest days. Don’t forget the Pubs in Ireland are famous for their atmosphere and live music!
- Pack for all weather conditions, including waterproof gear.
- Plan your transportation – consider renting a car or using public transport.
Your hiking holiday in Ireland awaits. With this Ireland travel guide in hand, you’re ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure. Sláinte to that!
When is the best time to go hiking in Ireland?
The best time to go hiking in Ireland is during the hiking season from May to the end of September.
What should I pack for a hiking trip in Ireland?
You should pack comfortable shoes with good traction, waterproof clothing, and a backpack with snacks and water.
Do I need to be an experienced hiker to go hiking in Ireland?
No, there are hiking trails suitable for all levels of experience in Ireland. However, it’s important to choose a trail that matches your fitness level and experience. Contact Walking Holiday Ireland to help you plan your perfect hiking trip in Ireland
Are there guided hiking tours available in Ireland?
Yes, there are many guided hiking tours available in Ireland that cater to different levels of experience and interests.
What are some popular hiking trails in Ireland?
Some popular hiking trails in Ireland include the Wicklow Way, the Dingle Way, and the Kerry Way.
Do I need a permit to hike in Ireland?
No, you don’t need a permit to hike in Ireland. However, some trails may require a fee for access.
What is the weather like in Ireland for hiking?
The weather in Ireland can be unpredictable, so it’s important to pack for all types of weather. It’s also a good idea to check the weather forecast before heading out on a hike.
What are some off-the-beaten-path hiking trails in Ireland?
Some off-the-beaten-path hiking trails in Ireland include the Sheep’s Head Way, the Beara Way, and the Burren Way