5 MOST difficult hikes in Ireland to do in 2024

For those outdoor adventurers looking for a challenge, taking on the most difficult hikes in Ireland is certainly something worth attempting.

Ireland has always been famous for its stunning scenery and lush landscapes. One of the most iconic parts of the Irish scenery and landscapes is, of course, the island’s many majestic and mesmerising mountains.

The mountains in Ireland offer unparalleled views, and as many are steeped in Irish history and mythology, they certainly offer a unique adventuring experience.

As can be seen in our list, some of them can be quite difficult to climb. Thus, they will be quite appealing to those looking for a challenge.

Still, what they all have in common is that they are all worth climbing, thanks to the brilliant views one can experience upon reaching their summits. If climbing these in the summer, check out this women’s hiking wear guide! With that in mind, we are revealing the top five most difficult hikes in Ireland for any avid adventurer to take on.

5. Benbulbin, Co. Sligo  a small mountain but a challenging climb

Benbulbin is one of the most difficult hikes in Ireland.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Benbulbin is the smallest mountain on our list by quite some measure at 1,725 ft (526 m) high. However, it still deserves a place on our list of most difficult hikes in Ireland.

This unique natural attraction offers adventurers a challenging climb to the summit that can take up to four hours to complete.

Those who complete the challenge will be rewarded with jaw-dropping panoramic views of the County Sligo landscape. 

Address: Cloyragh, Co. Sligo, Ireland

4. Croagh Patrick, Co, Mayo  a difficult hike on a mountain of religious importance

Croagh Patrick is a tough hike with amazing views.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Croagh Patrick in County Mayo is a mountain steeped in Irish religious tradition and attracts regular pilgrimages to this day.

Besides being of religious importance, the mountain, which stands at 2,493 ft (760 m) in height, also offers visitors a challenging hike, especially if you decide to go barefooted, as is tradition!

The other obstacle that Croagh Patrick puts in front of hikers is the fact that its upper slopes contain a lot of loose, slippy scree. This will require good footing to manoeuvre across.

At the summit, you will see the infamous St Patrick’s Chapel and also be greeted with beautiful views of Clew Bay.

Address: Teevenacroaghy, Co. Mayo, Ireland

3. Lugnaquilla Mountain, Co. Wicklow  a mountain with no marked routes

Lugnaquilla is one of the most difficult hikes in Ireland
Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

At 3,035 ft (925 m), Lugnaquilla Mountain is the highest peak that can be found in the entire Wicklow Mountains range. Thus, making it the highest in the country outside of County Kerry.

Many people across Ireland regard it as being among the most difficult mountains to climb for two major reasons. One reason is that the mountain is quite prone to bad weather, and the second is that there are no marked routes to follow on the mountain.

However, if you overcome these obstacles and make it to the top, then you may be able to catch a glimpse of Snowdonia in Wales in the distance.

Address: Ballinaskea, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Mount Brandon is a popular hike on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Credit: Fáilte Ireland

Mount Brandon stands at a whopping 3,123 ft (952 m) in height and is the highest peak in Ireland outside of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks.

Named after Saint Brendan, Mount Brandon is one of the most popular mountains for tourists along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Its Faha route, which leads hikers to its summit, is commonly regarded as the mountain’s most difficult route. However, many also acknowledge this as the most rewarding route as it offers stunning scenic views of the Dingle Peninsula.

Address: Tinnahinch, Graiguenamanagh, Co. Carlow, R95 X583, Ireland

1. Carrauntoohil, Co. Kerry  the rooftop of Ireland

Carrauntoohil is one of the most difficult hikes in Ireland.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

In first place on our list of the top five most difficult hikes in Ireland is Carrauntoohil in County Kerry. At 3,406 ft (1,038 m) in height, Carrauntoohil has the honour of being the highest peak in all of Ireland.

Carrauntoohil is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range. As its summit is the highest point in Ireland, it is often referred to as the ‘rooftop of Ireland’.

Upon reaching the summit, you will not only be greeted with the sight of a majestic steel cross. Rather, you can also enjoy picturesque views of the Kerry countryside.

Address: Coomcallee, Co. Kerry, Ireland

That concludes our list of the top five most difficult hikes in Ireland to take on. Have you been brave enough to experience the challenge of any of them yet?

If not, which one do you think you will take on first? Let us know below!

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