Here in Ireland we are spoilt for choice when it comes to hiking trails. From rugged coastal routes to undulating hillwalks or wide open landscapes – we have something for everyone! We have decided to put together our 5 Best Hikes in Ireland from our selection of guided & self-guided tours. These are in no particular order, but we do have a favourite (Glencolumcille)…….don’t tell the others!!! 😊
Slea Head Hike
The Dingle Peninsula – the most westerly point in Europe & the epitome of what to expect on the Wild Atlantic Way. We had to include this Slea Head hike from Dingle to Dunquin on this list. Combining stunning view of the coast with Early Christian History and some ancient buildings and dwellings this is a tour not to be missed. You will also have the pleasure of a glorious beach walk along Ventry Beach early in the hike.
The route continues from here along the coast, passing multiple amazing examples of beehive huts, and you can even pet a baby lamb along the way!!
The day finishes at the Blasket Islands Interpretative Centre. Should your time in the west allow we would highly recommend taking the time to leave the mainland to visit this fantastic island.
When you hear of the Kerry Way or the Ring of Kerry you instantly think Killarney National Park or the Old Kenmare Road. Yes, these are highlights of the route but not THE highlight!
Venturing further south to the quaint village of Caherdaniel will bring you to our favourite hike on the Iveragh Peninsula – Derrynane to Waterville.
Starting off from Caherdaniel your first part of this adventure is Derrynane House and Gardens. Open to the public, the historical home of Daniel O’Connell, the House was built in the 1700s and restored in the 1960s. You will also find a monastic site on the grounds with a chapel on Abbey Island.
Following on from Derrynane House you will enjoy a walk along the Mass Path, through the gardens to bring you to the coastline.
Enjoy a wonderful stroll along the beach before rejoining the Kerry Way as it takes you around the furthest tip of the peninsula.
The highlight of any hike through the rolling hills of the Wicklow Mountains National Park is Glendalough. With numerous looped hike options, from the low level hikes around the lakes to the 10 km hike up “the Spink” there is something from every hiking ability.
Nestled in this glacial valley you will also find the famous monastic settlement founded by St. Kevin. Established in the 6th century there is some amazing history, and monuments to be discovered here. The Gateway, Round Tower and Cathedral are all still standing at the monastery. Nearby there is also additional monuments around the lakes, including a miners village, churches and St. Kevin’s Bed – used as a retreat by St. Kevin and, in later years, St. Laurence O’Toole.
Its no wonder 3 days of our Wicklow Way self guided hikes feature Glendalough!
The West of Ireland – the home of Croagh Patrick, the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. Each of which have amazing hiking trails but for something different have you heard of Killary Harbour?
Ireland’s only Fjord is home to an amazing coastal hike along the Atlantic Coastline. Your hike starts where the road ends at Rossroe Pier. You will continue west following an old Famine Road, looking down on the Fjord and the fish farms below.
The hike will then join up the with Western Way trail before finishing in the quaint village of Leenane.
Glencolmcille (Best Hike in Ireland 🤫)
This is a wonderful 13km looped hike from Glencolmcille to Port and back. The hike starts in a remote Irish speaking village in South West Donegal on the Atlantic Oceans edge. Rich in archaeological heritage we climb steadily to the Signal Tower and continue to several sites to view the spectacular coastline.
Port is a hamlet of small cottages, cut off by the surrounding hills, and largely forgotten about after it was abandoned during the famine of 1845-1848. One of the cottages, which is off-grid, has been restored by an intrepid hillwalker.
You return to Glencolmcille on a high inland trail through big cuttings to return to the trailhead.
Always an atmospheric day out in the great outdoors of The Wild Atlantic Way.
Honourable mentions for Best Hikes in Ireland
This was not an easy list to compile. With so many amazing destinations and hiking routes we struggled to whittle down the list to the Top 5 Best Hikes in Ireland. We have to give an honourable mention to the Northern Ireland’s Antrim Coast hike from Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge to Giant’s Causeway, Sheep’s Head Lighthouse hike in West Cork, Dursey Sound and Dursey Island in Beara and, for the more experienced hikers, Irelands highest point – Carrauntouhill.
Reading this list we just might need to write another one soon!!
If you would like to enquire about any of these hikes please get in touch.