6 of the BEST hiking routes in Ireland

Trek your way through Ireland with our definitive list of the best hiking routes in Ireland. From cliff walks to mountain climbs, we’ve got you covered.

Trek your way through Ireland with our definitive list of the best hiking routes in Ireland. From cliff walks to mountain climbs, we've got you covered.

Ireland is a beautiful country that offers a rich array of hiking trails and walking routes that make any holiday exciting and memorable.

Offering attractions ranging from ruins that recall ancient past to spectacular landscapers, Ireland has some of the best hiking trails in the world.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the mood for a longer hike on a demanding trail or a short walk along the beach, Ireland has everything you need. In this article, we take a closer look at the most scenic hiking trails in Ireland.

In this article, we highlight six of the best hiking routes in Ireland.

6. Ballycotton Cliff Walk, Co. Cork – an incredible cliff trail

Ballycotton Cliff Walk, Co. Cork is one of the best hiking routes in Ireland.

This Irish cliff walk starts at Ballycotton village and ends on the Ballyandreen beach. The total distance of this hike is 8 miles, and it’s an excellent pick for beginner hikers

Once you hop over the stiles, you can let your view stretch across the ocean. You get to walk on the gentle track with the Atlantic Ocean is on one side and lovely meadows on the other.

You will find many seated viewpoints along the way and might even spot some wildlife as well – from Peregrine Falcons and oystercatchers to the stunning dolphins and whales. So, keep your eyes open and enjoy this lovely trail.

Address: allycotton East, Co. Cork, Ireland

5. Cuilcagh Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail, Co. Fermanagh – Ireland’s stairway to heaven

The CuilcaghLegnabrocky Trail is one of the best hiking routes in Ireland.

This scenic trail starts and ends at the Cuilcagh Mountain Park car park. The total distance is 4.6 miles, and the trail is just perfect for both beginners and more advanced hikers.

It offers you the opportunity to traverse one of the largest expanses of blanket bogs in the territory of Northern Ireland.

The one-mile boardwalk opened in 2015 and has since gained a lot of popularity. The locals call it The Stairway to Heaven Ireland, and you will see why once you try it.

At some point, you will encounter a steeper part required to reach the summit of Cuilcagh Mountain, which stands at 2185 feet.

The area is known for its unique habitats and is actually part of the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark.

Make sure to spend time exploring the nearby caves and admiring the fantastic views from the summit.

Address: Marlbank Rd, Florencecourt, Enniskillen BT92 1ER

4. Slieve Gullion, Co Armagh – possibly Ireland’s most underrated hike

Slieve Gullion is one of the best hiking routes in Ireland.
Credit: ringofgullion.org

This trail both starts and ends in the Slieve Gullion Forest Park car park. The total distance is 8 miles and should be approached only by more advanced hikers.

This circular trail allows climbing up to the beautiful summit lake, twin peaks, as well as and Neolithic passage grave of Slieve Gullion.

All the while, you get truly scenic views over Northern Ireland. The beauty of this trail is that you get to hike through hills full of heather belonging to the most famous ring dike in the world, the Ring of Gullion. It’s a volcano that erupted more than 50 million years ago.

Another attraction is the tomb of the Neolithic South Cairn Passage Grave accessible from just below the summit.

Slieve Gullion is considered to be one of the best hikes in Ireland. Take in some breathtaking views and make sure to go there when the skies are clear because you don’t want to be missing out on them.

Address: Slieve Gullion Car Park, Newry, BT35 8LN

3. Divis and Black Mountain ridge trail, Belfast – a hike with an incredible city view

The Divis and Black Mountain ridge trail is one of the best hiking routes in Ireland.

This trail starts National Trust car park at Divis and ends at the Black Mountain. The total distance is only 4.2 miles, but it’s suitable for slightly more advanced hikers.

There you will find mount Divis that stands at 1568. That’s why it’s such a perfect vantage point for getting spectacular views over the city of Belfast.

The circular walk slopes gently up once you approach the Bobby Stone and the summit of the Black Mountain (which is marked by a trig point).

You can rest here and admire the breathtaking views over Belfast and Stormont. If you happen to be hiking on a clear day, you’ll be able to see all the way across to Scotland.

Address: Divis & Black Mountain – Main Car Park, 12 Divis Rd, Belfast BT17 0NG

2. Glenariff Forest Park, Co. Antrim – an incredible walk with a waterfall

Glenariff Forest Park is one of the best hiking routes in Ireland.

This wonderful trail starts and ends at the Visitors center at Glenariff Forest Park. The total of this route is 6 miles – however, it’s not recommended for beginner hikers.

When embarking on this trail, expect to find yourself in a beautiful woodland setting. This circular route starts in the depths of the waterfall-filled ravine, full of greenery and most.

Then it takes up a long and winding trail right to the edge of the Antrim Plateau. You might find this trail quite steep in some places, but don’t forget that you will be rewarded for your effort by truly outstanding views from the higher points across the surrounding landscape and over the sea.

If you explore this trail on a clear day with high visibility, you will see the land of Scotland. And if you happen to go there in spring, don’t forget to see the bluebells in the Inver River gorge, which is located right at the beginning of the trail.

Address: Glenariffe Rd, Ballymena BT44 0QX

1. Carrauntoohil, Co Kerry – a hike up Ireland’s biggest mountain

Carrauntoohil is one of the best hiking routes in Ireland.
Credit: @liv.blakely / Instagram

This challenging trail starts and ends in Cronins Yard. The total distance is 7.9 miles, and the trail is recommended only for very advanced hikers looking for truly breathtaking views.

The endpoint is Carrauntoohil, the central peak of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, and the highest mountain in Ireland. Standing at 3,407 feet, the peak is definitely not a route for beginners.

However, the challenge is definitely worth it. What you get in exchange are incredible views of the rugged terrain surrounding the Killarney lakes.

There are several different ways that go to the top, but the Devil’s Ladder and its loose rock is the most popular one – it’s short and direct.

LocationCounty KerryIreland

We hope this guide helps you to make the most of your holiday in Ireland and discover some of the best hiking routes in Ireland, allowing you to bring back amazing memories and useful gifts from the trail visitor centres.

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