Looking to stretch your legs and enjoy some of the most beautiful parts of Ireland while doing so? Look no further, here are the top ten best parkruns in Ireland.
Parkrun is an international organisation which organises five kilometres (just over three miles) runs every Saturday. Held in park-lands across the world, a community of over six million people of all ages and abilities join together to complete the course.
People take part in a variety of reasons; some enjoy the social aspect while others use it for training and for keeping fit. With 75 Parkruns taking place each Saturday across the island of Ireland, there will be one close to you!
We have whittled it down to the 10 best and most beautiful Parkruns in Ireland.
10. Bere Island Parkrun – island views of the Atlantic Ocean
This island off west Cork is home to one of the most beautiful Parkruns in Ireland. Starting and finishing at the local GAA pitch, this loop passes by a Neolithic wedge tomb and has views overlooking Lonehort Viking harbour, a significant Viking site.
The route has a small incline at the beginning, which is perfect for getting the heart pumping, but it means that as you near the finish line it is all downhill! What better way to start your Saturday?
Starting point and time: The run starts every Saturday at 9.30am at the local GAA pitch near Rerrin at the eastern end of the Island.
9. Lough Key Parkrun – a forest run with a view
This run takes place in a magical forest park in County Roscommon. Run or walk the five kilometres of the mostly flat course on a mixture of trail paths and footpaths while oak, beech and red cedar trees tower above.
Along the way, you’ll get the run across the Fairy Bridge before becoming captivated by the stunning views of the McDermott Castle which is situated on an island in the middle of Lough Key.
Starting point and time: The event starts at 9.30am every Saturday at Lough Key Forest Park, Boyle, Co. Roscommon.
8. Tramore Parkrun – a seaside run
Take in the beauty of the seaside town of Tramore in County Waterford as you embark on your run down the promenade. Enjoy the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, while admiring the surfers as they catch some waves.
Although this route involves running on concrete paths, gravel paths, trail paths and grass, it is surprisingly flat which makes it easier for those just starting out with Parkruns.
Starting point and time: The course starts at 9.30am every Saturday on the prom near the old life guards hut; participants will run up prom before turning and running back down the prom.
7. Portrush Parkrun – the worlds’ first beach parkrun
The first beach parkrun in the world took place in Portrush, County Antrim. You have the chance to run along the golden sand from one end of the beach to the other and back again.
Running on the sand is brilliant for improving your running technique so there are even more benefits than just the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Giant’s Causeway.
Starting point and time: The course starts every Saturday at 9.30am on the beach, just beneath the water sports centre located on the East Strand Beach, Portrush.
6. Erris Parkrun – a popular lakeside run
Run the circumference around Cross Lough in this unspoiled part of Belmullet, County Mayo, and with the beautiful peaks of Slievemore, Achill in the background it won’t be difficult to enjoy. Cross Lough is a popular spot with kite surfers, and many can be found practising on a Saturday morning.
Venture over rolling sand dunes and enjoy the views of the nearby islands, where legend has it the Children of Lír are buried. Although not the easiest of courses to navigate due to the sand dunes, it is most definitely one of the most beautiful Parkruns in Ireland.
Starting point and time: The event takes place at 9.30am every Saturday at Cross Loop, Cross, Binghamstown, Belmullet, Co. Mayo.
5. Castletown Parkrun – a run before a Georgian country house
Comprised of two of the same loops that pass in front of the stunning Castletown House, this run takes you on a journey through County Kildare. Skip along a reservoir where many ducks and swans reside before running along the side of the River Liffey.
Although a difficult run that involves inclines and declines, the loop the second time around is all the sweeter as you get a chance to embrace some of the views you may have missed before.
Starting point and time: The run starts at 9.30am every Saturday a few hundred metres away from the front of the main house in Castletown and a few hundred metres away from the parking area, so ensure you give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the event on time.
4. Kilkenny Parkrun- a run through the castle grounds
This three-lap course in County Kilkenny is one you will never forget. To begin, you run through the inside of this 800-year-old castle’s walls before continuing past the Duck Pond.
After that, you run past the Dog Cemetery where the 4th Marquess of Ormonde pays homage to their dear dog Sandy. This historical parkrun takes you through the magical grounds in front of Kilkenny Castle and is the perfect way to start your Parkrun experience!
Starting point and time: This run starts at 9.30 every Saturday at the Compound Area along inside Castle wall.
3. Inch Beach Parkrun – run in the footsteps of movies gone-by
Inch Beach is a five-kilometre-long sand spit that juts out into the sea and overlooks the magnificent Dingle Peninsulas. The beach was used in the filming of “Ryan’s Daughter”, a 1970’s film set in the wake of the 1916 Easter Rising and also in the Hollywood film “Playboy of the Western World”.
En route you get views of the McGillycuddy Reeks and the Mish Mountains which have inspired many artists, poets and writers, while you can watch surfers and hand-gliders as you complete your five-kilometre run. This is truly one of the best Parkruns in Ireland.
Starting point and time: The event takes place every Saturday at 9.30am at Inch Beach, Inch, Co. Kerry, V92 F348.
2. Ardgillan Parkrun – tales of a haunted castle
Set in the grounds of Ardgillan Castle which overlooks the Irish Sea, this run brings you around the castle from back to front. Run past a rose garden where when they are in bloom the smell is just phenomenal.
However, just off the route is The Ladies Stairs where legend has it that the ghost of the Lady of the castle can be seen in her wedding dress searching for her husband.
Starting point and time: The run starts at 9.30am every Saturday at the back of Ardgillan Castle.
1. Rostrevor Parkrun – the best parkrun in Ireland
This run takes you on an adventure through Kilbroney Park in County Down where the famous writer C.S. Lewis spent much of his childhood holidays and enabled Lewis to create the magical world of Narnia.
Although a tough run due to the many tree roots and stones, it is totally enchanting as you run through a wardrobe door into the land of Narnia. It is no wonder that the Rostrevor Parkrun is number one in our top ten best and most beautiful Parkruns in Ireland.
Starting point and time: This parkrun starts at 9:30am every Saturday in Kilbroney Park, Shore Road, Rostrevor, BT34 3AA.