Best walking trails in Ireland

Daniel Phelan

Ireland is one of the most scenically beautiful countries in the world with an array of coasts, mountain ranges and lakes stretching the length and breadth of the country. 

Different counties offer different terrain and scenery, whether you are searching for a challenging hike or a serene stroll, there’s an idyllic walking trail to suit everyone’s needs. 

The undeniable beauty of the Irish landscape is there for all to see. At times, we can take for granted what treasures may hide in plain sight. So with that, The College View is looking at the best walking trails around the country. 

The Causeway Coast way in County Antrim offers a combination of paths and tracks along 33 km of the Antrim coastline. The well-known Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge can be found here. 

From one end of the country to the other, as the spectacular scenery along the Kerry Way is a sight to behold. This is a long distance trail that starts and ends in Killarney. The laborious trail spans over 214 km and incorporates the frequently visited Iveragh peninsula. 

Kerry has a plethora of trails and national parks to choose from as natives of the kingdom have an embarrassment of riches, such as the Dingle Way, the loop on Valentia Island, the Gap of Dunloe and the hike up Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest mountain. 

Remaining in the Munster province, the Coumshingaun Loop Walk in County Waterford is a scenic trail that includes an ascent that gives you a vantage over the lake and a view of a lovely horizon. 

It would be sinful to mention some of the most beautiful trails in the country without a tip of the cap to the Connemara Way in County Galway. Located along the Wild Atlantic Way, this picturesque landscape is a key part in what brings so many tourists to the west coast. The trail can be broken up with visits to the pubs that are dotted around the trail.

The Howth Cliff Walk in County Dublin offers breath taking views of the Dublin coast, along the 6 km trail you will also be able to see Ireland’s Eye and Lambay Island. You can enjoy a fresh sea breeze and panoramic views of the harbour in this beautiful, quaint seaside town. 

Another famous trail is the Bray to Greystones cliff walk in County Wicklow. The 7 km trail boasts some of the most incredible views on the eastern Irish seaboard. If you’re feeling arched you can always stop off at the renowned ‘Happy Pear’ and indulge in one of their delicious smoothies. 

The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail in County Fermanagh, also nicknamed the Stairway to Heaven Walk is a path that meanders through one of the largest expanses of blanket bog in Northern Ireland, traversing over tracks, boardwalk and staircase. It is one of the most visited trails in Ireland since its opening in 2017. Pictures of the trail reverberated around social media and soon people from every corner of the country wanted to visit.  

With all of these options to choose from, it comes as no surprise that National Geographic say Ireland is in the Top 5 Walking and Hiking Destinations in the world, with only trails in Costa Rica, Italy, Canada and the United States surpassing our very own.

Daniel Phelan

Image Credit: Roisin Maguire