Ireland is an island of beautiful rugged places where mountains and valleys meet. There is countless beautiful mountain lakes dotted across the Irish mountain ranges. While many of these lakes can be enjoyed from the roadside, some of them are more hidden and exploring them leads the more adventurous visitor into the uplands by foot. Here are our seven favourite mountain lakes.
7. Lough Ouler, Wicklow Mountains
If your heart is in Ireland, Lough Ouler is definitely the one lake you must see on your next trip to the Emerald Isle. The heart-shaped lake at the feet of Tonelagee Mountain in the centre of the Wicklow hills is maybe one of the most iconic mountain lakes in Ireland. A steep cliff front borders its western shores and standing on the top of the cliffs gives the viewer a great view. Not only of the true heart-shape of Lough Ouler but also of the unique landscape of the Wicklow Mountains.
6. Lough Nakeeroge, Achill Island (Co. Mayo)
Being an island makes Ireland not only famous for its mountain areas, but also for a dramatic coastline. When both mountains and coasts are mixed up, the most beautiful views are composed. On Achill Island in County Mayo, Lough Nakeeroge nestles right between the lower slopes of Croaghaun and the nearby shores of the Blacksod Bay. Despite his low level and his close affairs with the salty waters of the Atlantic ocean, Lough Nakeeroge is a freshwater basin. However, this secluded location can only be reached by foot or by boat which makes it one of the most hidden secret lakes in Ireland.
5. Lough Tay (aka The Guinness Lake), Wicklow Mountains
Lough Tay in the Wicklow Mountains is a major natural attraction of the area and can be easily viewed from the road. There can be no list of Ireland’s most dramatic mountain lakes that excludes Lough Tay. It’s second name ‘The Guinness Lake’ comes from its long history of ownership by the Guinness family. Still today, the lough and the valley belong to the descendants of the brewers. Despite this, many people say the combination of the white, sandy beach at the north end of the lake and its dark waters make it look like a pint of Guinness.
4. Shannagh Lough, Mourne Mountains (Co. Down)
The Mourne Mountains in County Down are famous for unbelievable natural beauty and for the Mourne Wall that runs over the top of the hills. Lough Shannagh is a beautiful lake in these mountains surrounded by high peaks. Scenic views can be enjoyed best from the higher grounds of the hills and an old track known as Bann’s Road.
3. Altan Lough, Derryveagh Mountains (Co. Donegal)
With the iconic Errigal, Muckish, Glenveagh National Park, and the Derryveagh Mountains, County Donegal has no shortage of beautiful places. Altan Lough, concealed from the road by the surrounding hills is a beautiful place. What has been a sheep farm for over 100 years is now a fabulous place to enjoy the view of the lake and the mountains.
2. Upper Lake, Glendalough, Wicklow Mountains
Glendalough is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Ireland and far away from being an insider tip. However, while many visitors to Glendalough enjoy standing on the shoreline at the east end of the Upper Lake, a walk on the cliff walk above the waters is something everybody with an emerald heart must do in his lifetime. The views of the two lakes of Glendalough is something truly special.
1. Lough Coomloughra & Lough Eagher, Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, (Co. Kerry)
There can be no story about mountain lakes in Ireland without mentioning the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks in County Kerry. Indeed, one of the most beautiful lake views in Ireland can be enjoyed from Ireland’s highest mountain range. The adjoining loughs Coomloughra and Eagher lie to the west of Carrauntoohill (the highest peak on the Emerald Isle).
This article was written by Neil Saad from My Emarld Blog.