Rare Flora and Fauna to Discover When Hiking in Ireland 

Exploring Ireland can be even more fascinating when tuned into its unique and diverse wildlife. Did you know Blasket Island is home to a thriving herd of native Irish red deer? This blog will guide you through some of the country’s hiking trails where these rare flora and fauna proudly reside, transforming your hike into an ecological treasure hunt.

Are you ready to step off the beaten track and uncover Ireland’s hidden natural wonders?.

Key Takeaways

  • Blasket Island is home to native Irish red deer, which can be spotted during hikes.
  • The Burren region is a great place to find rare flora and fauna, including the endangered natterjack toad and unique plant species like wild orchids.
  • Ireland’s coast offers seal spotting opportunities, with grey and common seals residing in different habitats.
  • Killarney National Park has hiking trails that allow you to explore rare plants and animals, such as the large Irish red deer.
  • Burren National Park showcases unique plant life found nowhere else, including rare orchid species.
  • The Ring of Kerry provides stunning views of diverse flora and fauna, including wildflowers, Irish red deer, puffins, gannets, and guillemots.

Flora and Fauna of Ireland’s Land

A photo of a red fox in a field of wildflowers, taken by a wildlife photographer of Caucasian ethnicity. Rare Flora and Fauna

The land of Ireland is home to a variety of unique flora and fauna, offering hikers the chance to discover rare species while exploring its stunning landscapes.

Native Irish red deer on Blasket Island

Blasket Island is home to the native Irish red deer. This herd lives on Inisvickalaun, one part of Blasket Island. These deer are a joy to see. They move with grace and have a noble look.

Hikers might be lucky enough to spot them while visiting the island!

Natterjack toad

The Natterjack toad is special. It is one of the most rare animals in Ireland. You can find this small toad in the Burren region. This toad has a stripe down its back and makes a loud sound at night.

So, while hiking, you might hear it before you see it! Many people work hard to keep this animal safe because it is in danger of going away forever. Look for these little green visitors on your next adventure!

Unique plant species

Ireland’s nature hides rare and special plants. The Burren region is a good place to spot them. They have unique flora, like wild orchids. Hiking in Ireland lets you find these beautiful flowers. Walkers can also see Irish wildflowers when they walk the trails. There are many types of flowers for you to enjoy on your hike.

Dr Úna FitzPatrick loves finding these rare plants, too. She works with the Rare Plant Monitoring program to track them all! So, make sure to watch out for these pretty and scarce blooms as you explore Ireland’s great outdoors! You may even come across Sea Kale, another unusual plant found here! With so many beautiful plants, walks in Ireland are a treat for those who love nature!

Marine and Coastal Wildlife

A diverse group of dolphins swims gracefully in the crystal clear waters off the Irish coast.

Explore Ireland’s rich marine and coastal wildlife, from the delightful seabirds like puffins, gannets, and guillemots to the enchanting opportunities for seal spotting.

Seabirds such as Puffins, Gannets, Guillemots

Ireland’s coast is a good place to see birds like puffins, gannets, and guillemots. Here are some key things to know about these seabirds.

  1. Puffins have bright-coloured beaks. They can be seen on cliffs in West Kerry.
  2. Gannets are large white birds with yellow heads. They love to dive into the sea for fish.
  3. Guillemots have black bodies and white bellies. You can spot them on high cliffs near the sea.

Opportunities for seal spotting

You can see seals in Ireland. Both grey and common seals live here. Grey seals have big eyes and long noses. They love the rocky shores of West Kerry and Blasket Island. Common seals like sandy beaches better.

Seals are clever swimmers who enjoy time on land to warm up in the sun or rest. We call this “hauling out”. Spotting them is thrilling! You will get to see how they play, hunt fish, or bob their heads out of the water for air.

So put on your boots! Get ready for a fun walk by seaside cliffs and quiet bays where you might see these playful sea animals.

Best Hikes in Killarney National Park for Exploring Rare Flora and Fauna

Killarney National Park has the best hikes to see rare plants and animals.

  • The Cardiac Hill track has great views and a chance to see the large Irish red deer.
  • Hikers love the Old Kenmare Road for its stunning landscapes and diverse plant life.
  • You can spot many unique wildflowers on the Torc Waterfall trail.
  • The Derrycunnihy Oakwood loop is perfect for bird watchers. Many rare breeds visit here.
  • Hiking on the Tomies Wood walk, you may come across some of Ireland’s endangered species.

Other Hiking Trails to Explore Rare Flora and Fauna

Discover the unique flora and fauna of Burren National Park and experience the breathtaking beauty of the Ring of Kerry – two unforgettable hiking trails that showcase Ireland’s extraordinary biodiversity.

Don’t miss out on these hidden natural wonders waiting to be explored!

Burren National Park

Burren National Park is a must-visit in Ireland. It has unique plant life you won’t find anywhere else. This park stands out for rare orchid species that grow here. The Burren is also home to the natterjack toad, one of Ireland’s most endangered species.

You can come close to this special creature while hiking in the park. So, join a hike and enjoy exploring the rare flora and fauna!

The Ring of Kerry

The Ring of Kerry is a popular tourist destination in Ireland known for its diverse flora and fauna. This scenic route offers breathtaking views of lush green landscapes and stunning coastal vistas.

As you hike along the Ring, you may encounter various species of wildflowers that thrive in this region. The area is also home to indigenous animals such as Irish red deer and seabirds like puffins, gannets, and guillemots.

With its rich biodiversity and natural beauty, the Ring of Kerry provides an excellent opportunity to explore and appreciate Ireland’s unique wildlife on your hiking adventure.

Ireland’s Changing Flora: A Vital Report

The report highlights the importance of conserving rare flora and fauna in Ireland, with Sea Kale as an example. Discover more about Ireland’s changing flora and its vital role in our ecosystem.

Importance of conserving rare flora and fauna

Conserving rare flora and fauna is crucial for preserving Ireland’s unique biodiversity. By protecting endangered species and their habitats, we can maintain the delicate balance of ecosystems and ensure the survival of these remarkable plants and animals for future generations to enjoy.

The efforts to conserve rare flora and fauna are vital in safeguarding our natural heritage, promoting ecological sustainability, and contributing to scientific research. For example, Dr.

Úna FitzPatrick emphasizes the significance of monitoring rare plants through programs like Rare Plant Monitoring, which helps us understand environmental changes over time. Our responsibility is to appreciate and protect these treasures that make Ireland’s hiking trails so special.”.

Sea Kale as an example

Sea kale is a notable example of the unique plant species found in Ireland. This hardy perennial grows along the coast and has large, fleshy leaves that are slightly bluish-green in colour.

Sea kale flourishes in sandy or shingle soils and can withstand harsh coastal conditions. It produces dense clusters of white flowers during summer, attracting various pollinators.

Sea kale is visually appealing and holds historical significance, as it was once used as a valuable food source during times of famine. Today, efforts are being made to protect sea kale and other rare plants in Ireland’s changing flora landscape.


In conclusion, hiking in Ireland offers a unique opportunity to discover rare flora and fauna. From native red deer on Blasket Island to the Burren region’s endangered natterjack toad, plenty of hidden treasures are waiting to be explored.

Whether you choose the trails of Killarney National Park or venture along the Ring of Kerry, you’ll be surrounded by the beauty and diversity of Ireland’s natural world. So pack your hiking boots and prepare for an adventure filled with uncommon plants, animals, and unforgettable wildlife encounters.


1. What is flora and fauna?

Flora refers to the plants and vegetation in a particular area, while fauna refers to the animal species.

2. Are there any rare plants in Ireland that can be discovered when hiking?

Ireland is known for its diverse plant life, including rare species such as orchids, carnivorous sundew plants, and unique ferns.

3. What types of animals can be spotted while hiking in Ireland?

While hiking in Ireland, you may encounter various animals, such as red deer, otters, badgers, foxes, seals along the coastline, and various bird species, including puffins.

4. How can I help protect these rare flora and fauna during my hike?

To help protect rare flora and fauna during your hike in Ireland, it’s important to stay on designated trails to avoid disturbing their habitats or causing damage. Also, remember not to pick or disturb any plants or wildlife you may encounter.

5. Where are some popular hiking spots in Ireland where I can discover rare flora and fauna?

Popular hiking spots in Ireland where you may have a chance to discover rare flora and fauna include Killarney National Park in County Kerry, with its diverse ecosystem; Connemara National Park in County Galway with its stunning landscapes; Glenveagh National Park in County Donegal, which is rich with wildlife; The Burren National Park which has unique limestone terrain supporting rare plant life; Wicklow Mountains National Park offering beautiful scenery alongside diverse plant species

Author: Walking Holiday Ireland

Cliff Waijenberg is a passionate hiker, nature enthusiast, and the proud founder and owner of Walking Holiday Ireland. Cliff has always been captivated by the Emerald Isle's breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural history. His love for the outdoors and genuine desire to share Ireland's hidden gems with travellers worldwide led him to establish Walking Holiday Ireland.

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