Walking Holidays in Ireland
Ireland is known as the land of Saints & Scholars so what better way to inspire yourself then with a walk through some of the most memorable scenery in the world. There are dramatic landscapes just waiting to be discovered from rugged National Parks to Europe’s highest sea cliffs.
Throughout the country, there are a whole host of exceptional walks from short jaunts that only take a couple of hours, to famous walking ways that demand time and commitment.
From challenging mountain & hill hikes to a leisurely stroll through the country’s abundant nature and wildlife trails there is something to suit everyone. The best way to discover Ireland’s prettiest towns and villages is by foot so relax, this is not a country to hurry around, slow down, feel the atmosphere, and enjoy.
Whatever your choice of walk, Select Hotels of Ireland have an independent Hotel situated in just the right location for you.
Cavehill Trail is a 5.1 kilometre loop trail located near Belfast. You may see wildlife on your walk. The trail is ideal for hiking, walking, and running.
Giants Causeway Coastal Way
Giant's Causeway Coastal Way is a 17.4 kilometre out and back trail located near Bushmills. The Giants Causeway Coastal Way is a part of the famous coastal walk in the north-east of Northern Ireland. In its entirety it takes a walker of average fitness 2-3 days to complete. The trail links the popular tourist towns of Ballycastle and Portstewart and passes some of the biggest tourist attractions in Northern Ireland. These include the Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Dunluce Castle.
Lagan Towpath is a 18.5 kilometre lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Belfast, Antrim, Northern Ireland that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options.
Carlow Town Walk
The Carlow Town Sli is a 5km walking route which starts in the centre of town, at the car park opposite the County Council Offices and the Garda Station, near the junction of the Athy Road and Dublin Street. The route continues along the Athy Road and turns left at the Athy Road roundabout.
St. Mullins Sli na Slainte
The 6.30km walk starts in the heart of scenic St. Mullins village. Around by the side of the Graveyard you proceed down a steep hill, passing by the remains of a flour-mill to the river Barrow. Turn right onto the Barrow tow-path and continue by the river towards Brandon hill. Enjoy the wild flora and fauna along the river wildlife habitat, passing by St. Mullins Lock Gates, the Island draw-bridge, the Weir and continue up to an 18th Century Lime Kiln. Watch out for swans, grey herons, duck, water hen, kingfisher and otter
The South Leinster Way
The South Leinster Way is a long distance walking route which runs from Kildavin, Co. Carlow to Carrick-on-Suir in Co. Tipperary covering 102 kilometres (64 miles) in length and ascending some 1600 metres.
Old Crosshaven Railway Path
Old Crosshaven Railway Path is a 11.7 kilometre lightly trafficked loop trail located near Anglesea Street, County Cork, Ireland that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking, running, nature trips, and road biking.
The Giants Grave Loop
The Giant's Grave Loop is a 2.3 kilometre moderately trafficked loop trail located near Carrigaline, County Cork, Ireland that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching.
Cork River Walk
Cork River Walk is a 8.4 kilometre moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Bishopstown, County Cork, Ireland that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking and running. You'll have opportunities to see wildlife along the way. The endpoint of the path is near Carrigrohane Castle, an old castle overlooking the river.
Old Head of Kinsale Loop Walk
The Old Head of Kinsale Loop is an easy 1.5 hour (6 km) loop walking route on the famous Old Head of Kinsale with spectacular views at every turn with an optional spur walk to Garretstown beach in south County Cork
James Fort is a 1.6 kilometre lightly trafficked loop trail located near Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips. James Fort is a 17th century fort that was built to defend the harbour. It is listed as a protected National Monument. This easy circular walk takes visitors around the perimeter of the fort and also has fantastic views of the harbour and Kinsale. You will also walk through Dock Beach, which makes for a great spot to rest when the weather allows.
Ballycotton Cliff Walk
Ballycotton Cliff Walk is a 7.4 kilometre moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ballycotton, County Cork, Ireland that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, running, and nature trips. There are also some picnic tables near the parking area and benches along the way.
Glenbower Woods Blue Trail
Glenbower Woods Blue Trail is a 6.9 kilometre loop trail located near Killeagh, County Cork, Ireland that features a great forest setting and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and mountain biking.
Three Islands Walk
Three Islands Walk is a 9.7 kilometre lightly trafficked loop trail located near Union Hall, County Cork, Ireland that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and bird watching. Dogs are also able to use this trail. The Three Island Walk is a loop all across public country roads.
The Bluestack Way
The Bluestack Way is 47km long. The BlueStack Way walk connects Donegal Town with the town of Ardara on the west coast. Along the way the route passes by scenic Lough Eske, and then wends its way across the foothills of the Bluestacks to reach an area called Disert, where there is an ancient mountain graveyard.
Glenveagh National Park
The 16,000 hectares of Glenveagh includes most of the Derryveagh Mountains, the Poisoned Glen and part of Errigal Mountain and is a beautiful place to walk the hills and follow trails. The park extends over a large area of north Donegal and you have free access to roam from all points. Hill walking in Glenveagh National Park can be challenging for the novice, but there are also relatively easy trails described below for all levels within the park. Our popular ‘Trail Walker Bus‘ can bring you to some of our best starting points, conveniently leaving your car in the car park for your return.
Corravaddy Woodland Walk
A varied and easy woodland walk in Coillte Forestry which is just 10 minutes’ drive from Letterkenny. Its elevated location ensures impressive views of Lough Swilly and the surrounding countryside. Distance: Approximately 4 kms Time: 1 hour
Howth Cliff Walk
Howth Cliff Walk Loop is a 6.9 kilometer loop trail located near Howth, County Dublin. The delightful Howth - Cliff Path Loop takes two hours to complete and starts from the village DART (train) station. The trail leads walkers along the charming harbor before climbing away from the village around the Nose of Howth and onto the breathtaking clifftops.
Dun Laoghaire,Dalkey and Killiney Loop Walk
Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey, and Killiney Loop Walk is a 13.7 kilometer loop trail located near Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin, Ireland that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate.
Phoenix Park Circular
Phoenix Park Circular is a 5.8 kilometer loop trail located near Cabra, County Dublin, Ireland that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking and running. An off the beaten track walking tour of Dublin in Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe. It was originally a royal hunting park in the 1660's and opened to the public in 1747. A large herd of fallow deer still remain to this day. The Park is also home to the Zoological Gardens and Victorian flower gardens. There are many walks and cycle trails available to the public. The Phoenix Park is open 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, all year round.
Barna Woods and Lough Rusheen
Stay local and head out for this easy walk through woodland and beaches, one of the few green spaces available so close to Galway. Don't be put off by its proximity to local housing estates, as the area feels very secluded once you're on the trail. Over a few square kilometres walkers can enjoy woodland and streams, marshes and beaches, and glacial cliffs. At the end of the summer, Rusheen is a brilliant place for birdwatching.
Clifden Greenway Walk
This walk starts at the Ardbear Bridge at the waterfall in Clifden town and is 7km in total (3.5km to the end, and 3.5km back to Ardbear Bridge). The walk is marked and sign posted as a walking route. Cross over the bridge and onto the Dooneen Road at edge of Clifden town. This is a very enjoyable walk, offering views of The Twelve Bens, Salt Lake, Errisbeg Hill and the Roundstone Bog complex.
Knockma Nature Reserve Trail
Knockma Nature Reserve Trail is a 4.2 kilometre moderately trafficked loop trail located near Tuam, County Galway. Very easy and well maintained trail. Plenty of parking at the bottom of the hill and stunning views over County Galway from the summit. Make sure to look for the little faery doors on the trees!
Torc Waterfall Walk
Torc Waterfall Walk is a 6.3 kilometre moderately trafficked loop trail located near Killarney, County Kerry. This crowded trail is one of the most popular in Ireland for a reason. The views are breath-taking and Torc Waterfall is beautiful. While the beginning of the hike can get crowded, the trails beyond the waterfall generally have less people.
Reenagross Park Loop
Reenagross Park Loop is a 1.9 kilometre lightly trafficked loop trail located near Kenmare, County Kerry, Ireland that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips.
Siúlóid Cholmáin or Colman’s Walk starts and ends in Ventry. You’ll take in sections of the beach, as well as quiet little side roads or boithríns on this 7km loop. Begin your walk in the village and head uphill past the post office and school for spectacular views of the sea. You will also take in historical sites including Cill Cholmain, an early Christian monastery for which the walk is named, as well as the ruins of Rathinane Castle.
Pollardstown Fen is Ireland's largest extant calcareous spring-fed fen, a national nature reserve, Special Area of Conservation, and Ramsar site of approximately 321 acres in County Kildare.
Fr Doyles,Killygurie,Hazel and Ballydermot Loop
Fr Doyle’s, Killygurie, Hazel and Ballydermot Loop is a 3.7 kilometre lightly trafficked loop trail located near Rathangan, County Kildare, Ireland that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips.
Irish National Stud & Gardens
This state-owned commercial stud farm also incorporates the world famous Japanese Gardens and wild Irish St Fiachra's Garden as well as the Irish Horse Museum, Living Legend's, Gift Shop and restaurant. It is also home to some of Ireland's most famous racehorses.
Castlemorris Wood Walk
Castlemorris Wood Walk is a 5.1 kilometre loop trail located near Kilkenny, County Kilkenny, Ireland that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching. The trail starts/finishes at the Grand Gates entrance to Castlemorris Wood, Aghaviller, Newmarket, Co. Kilkenny.
Castle Park and Lacken Walk
Castle Park and Lacken Walk is a 4.8 kilometre lightly trafficked loop trail located near Kilkenny, County Kilkenny, Ireland that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, running, and nature trips.
Kilmacoliver Walk is a 4.3 kilometre loop trail located near Kilkenny, County Kilkenny, Ireland that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is good for all skill levels and is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and bird watching. The Kilmacoliver loop is one of the most scenic walks in County Kilkenny. It starts in the village of Tullahought, where walkers can park beside the Watering Place, which is a wildlife pond fed by a freshwater spring. A mapboard displays the walking route and also shows the local wildlife in the pond and the area.
Castlebar to Turlough Greenway
The trail is set along the Castlebar River valley. Skirting the banks of the river for most of its 7km, the trail moves through a mixture of open countryside, quiet by-roads and native woodland before finishing up at the National Museum of Country Life, Turlough.
Belleek Forest Park and Heritage Trail - Ballina
Located on the western bank of the River Moy. It starts about 2km from Ballina town on the R314 to Killala. It will take the average walker 1.5 hours and is 4km long. The trail is part of the former Belleek Estate with bring you back to the past with features going back to the 1845 during the famine in Ireland such as a hermitage, ice house and a wall built during the famine in Ireland (1845) as a relief scheme. The walk offers diverse wildlife and wooded area such as badgers, foxes, rabbits, otters and kingfishers. The woodland is part of the Belleek Estate and is home to Norway Spruce, Scots Pine, Silver Fir as well as Beech, Oak and Ash.
Westport House and Carrowbeg River Walk
Westport House and Carrowbeg River Walk is a 2.4 kilometre lightly trafficked loop trail located near Westport, County Mayo, Ireland that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking and nature trips.
Newtown Abbey Loop
Newtown Abbey Loop is a 4.3 kilometre moderately trafficked loop trail located near Trim, County Meath, Ireland that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching.
Boyne Ramparts Heritage Walk
The Boyne Valley rich culture, heritage, myths and legends are to be experienced along the Boyne Navigation running from the Gateway to the Boyne Valley at Navan as far as Drogheda. The Boyne Navigation flows peacefully alongside 5,000 years of Meath Heritage, passing by the passage graves of Newgrange, Knowth & Dowth, the Battle of the Boyne site at Oldbridge and the Estate Village of Slane.
Trim Sli Na Slainte
Trim Slí Starting in the heart of the medieval town at Trim Castle the 3.7km Slí na Sláinte route passes along the outer line of the Porch Field to Newtown and back to Trip along the Dublin Road. The route includes most of the historic sites of Trim and Newtown, Trim. The pinnacle of Trims past coincided with the early period of Norman power in Ireland. The ruins of the great castle and of the abbeys around it are all that now remains as testimony of this great era.
The Monaghan Way
The Monaghan Way is a long-distance walking route that explores just some of county Monaghan's rich heritage. The walk is a stimulating combination of quiet country roads, cross-country trekking, riverside walkways and lakeshore approaches. The perfect way to enjoy the Monaghan countryside, the walk mixes gentle sloping hill gradients with flat stretches of open countryside. There are no long or steep climbs and the route reaches a maximum altitude of 317m at the summit of Mullyash. The walk from Clontibret to Inniskeen is 33.5 miles / 54 km in length and should be tackled over one or two days.
Dartrey Forest, was formerly the estate of the Dawson family. It is currently managed by Coillte as a commercial forest. The Forest is bordered by a Famine wall which stretches half way along the road from Cootehill to Rockcorry. The landscape of the forest and surrounding area is particularly beautiful, being composed of a series of lakes joined by the Dromore River.
Carrickmacross Historic Town Trail
The heritage trail in the old garrison town of Carrickmacross takes 35-40 minutes to walk and is the perfect opportunity to get under the skin of this Co. Monaghan crossroads.
Carrickmacross was developed around a castle built by the Earl of Essex in 1630 (the convent of the St. Louis Nunsstands on the original site). One of the moststriking buildings in the town today is St. Joseph’s, a Roman Catholic Church dating from 1866.
Clonmel and Carrick on Suir Greenway
Clonmel and Carrick on Suir Greenway is an 11.9 kilometre lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Kilsheelan, County Tipperary, Ireland that features a river and is good for all skill levels.
The Ballyhoura Way is a 90km waymarked trail that showcases some seriously lush landscape. Stretching from John’s Bridge in North Cork to Limerick Junction in County Tipperary, this linear trail is fairly short and pleasantly varied. Follow it across four upland stretches, through the verdant pastureland of the Golden Vale and the wooded Ballyhoura Mountains before overlooking the gorgeous Glen of Aherlow.Along the way you’ll admire pretty villages like Kilfinane, Ballyorgan, Ballylanders and Galbally.
Tipperary Heritage Way
The Tipperary Heritage Way is a 56km low-level linear walking route in the south midlands of Ireland that follows the course of the River Suir north from the Knockmealdown Mountains towards the historic town of Cashel. Attractions include churches, abbeys, ancient graveyards, castles and a wonderful cottage orné.A variety of waterfowl including the ubiquitous heron will be seen along the river stretches, where otters may also be glimpsed. Two easily accessible sections of the route are the 10km from the village of Golden to Cashel town, and the 2km second section along the River Suir towpath from Cahir Castle to the romantic folly of Swiss Cottage.
Coumshingaun Lough Loop
Coumshingaun Lough Loop is a 6.9 kilometre moderately trafficked loop trail located near Ballydurn, County Waterford, Ireland that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is best used from May until October. Note: Clockwise direction recommended. If you go anti-clockwise, there is a fairly steep scramble that you must go down, which is more difficult than going up.
The Waterford Greenway is a spectacular 46 km off-road cycling and walking trail along an old railway line from the quays of Ireland’s oldest city all the way to Dungarvan. The 23km between Kilmacthomas and Dungarvan is now open for use.
Enjoy a beautiful journey through time and nature across three tall viaducts, through a long atmospheric tunnel, all the way from the river to the sea.
The Tramore Slí na Sláinte loop walk is an easy 1.5 hour (5 km) walking route along the stunningly beautiful Tramore coastline, county Waterford on Ireland’s south coast. The Doneraile Walk is named after a local landlord, Lord Doneraile, who donated this land to the Townspeople. On this walk you will see a monument to one of the worst ship wrecks that Tramore bay has ever seen notably the loss of the British “Sea Horse” in January 1816. Over 360 lives were lost and this tragedy inspired the erection in 1821 of the Beacon Towers.
Ballyteige Burrow, Kilmore Quay
The Burrow is well known for its incredible sand dune systems. There are three main walking routes to choose from; along the beach, through the dunes, or on the path. Keep your eyes peeled for the many passing seabirds and your ears peeled for the song of the skylark. The flora and fauna in this area are second to none so tread softly. As you walk, climb to the top of one of the higher dunes for a spectacular view of the whole area out across the Saltee Islands, Hook Lighthouse, Forth Mountain and Ballyteige Castle.
There are four incredible walks in Tintern, all of varying distances and difficulties. Gardener’s Trail starts at Tintern Abbey and explores the architecture and the mixed woodland. This trail is suitable for buggies and wheelchair users. The Tintern Demesne Trail is one for nature lovers. You’ll discover fine beech, oak, and chestnut trees and hopefully spot some kingfishers, egrets, buzzards, red squirrels, stoats and seven types of bat.
Raven Point Wood Walking Trail
The Raven Point Wood walking trail loop runs through sand dunes with woodlands consisting mainly of Corsican pine trees. Raven Point Wood owned by the National Parks and Wildlife Service is a Nature Reserve. As such is it home to a variety of flora and fauna. As you walk, you may be lucky enough to see red squirrels, grey seals and other wildlife. The trail is an easy walk along the forest path for all the family to enjoy.
The Ballinastoe Forest Walk
Located just over 5 kilometres from Roundwood village, the Ballinastoe Slí na Sláinte is a 5km, looped route. From the car park and picnic area, the route continues uphill along forestry tracks. The forest consists mainly of mixed conifers on the slopes of Djouce Mountain and provides a habitat for fox, badger, red squirrel and sika deer. Many species of birds, including grouse can also be seen. The clear felled areas have opened up stunning views of the Sugarloaf Mountain to the north and the Vartry valley and reservoir to the south.
Devil’s Glen – Waterfall & Seamus Heaney Walk
From the entrance to the Devil’s Glen forest drive in along the forest track to reach a car park after about 2km. Your walk starts at the information board and walks back about the entrance road for 100 metres. From here the loop trails take you deep into this beautiful forest to finish back at the car park where you started. Along the route you will find some unusual and interesting ‘Sculptures in Woodland’
Wicklow Mountains National Park
There are nine way-marked walking trails in the valley of Glendalough. The walks vary from a short half hour stroll to a long four hour hill walk. Large maps of the walks are displayed outside the National Park Information Office and at the OPW Visitor Centre beside the Monastic City. All the walks start and finish at the National Park Information Office near the Upper Lake. Each trail is signposted with colour-coded arrows.