Best walks in Ireland for beginners
Killeshandra Loop, Co. Cavan
With a beautiful lake for every day of the year, it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of gorgeous lakeside walks in this part of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. Stay in Cavan Town or Killeshandra before setting off on the Killeshandra Loop, a two hour long, 6km looped walk on a flat trail. Continue your break in Cavan by kayaking around Clough Oughter Castle on Lough Oughter.
Lighthouse Loop, Sheep's Head Way, Co. Cork
Sheep’s Head is a stunning part of the West Cork coastline. Base yourself along the Wild Atlantic Way in Bantry or along the Sheep’s Head Peninsula for a few days and walk the Lighthouse Loop, a 4km looped walk that makes up part of the 93km long Sheep’s Head Way. The highlight of this trail is the Sheep’s Head Lighthouse, climb the steps to the top for unbeatable ocean views.
Top Irish trails for regular hikers
Howth Cliff Walk Loop, Co. Dublin
The iconic Howth Cliff Walk in Dublin is an absolute must for any seasoned walker. The 6km looped trail starts at Howth Railway Station and takes in incredible views of Ireland’s Eye, Lambay Island (with its colony of wallabies) and Dublin Bay.
After your two hour walk, enjoy a satisfying meal in one of the great restaurants and cafés in Howth. Better yet, stay over for a few nights and explore the pretty fishing village and nearby coastal towns.
Rock an Thorabh Loop, Co. Tipperary
Tipperary in Ireland’s Ancient East is dotted with many great walks and the Rock an Thorabh Loop in the Glen of Aherlow is one of its best kept secrets. The 6km looped walk is quite steep in places and climbs 300m during the two and a half hours it takes to complete this loop. The trail begins at Christ the King statue in Aherlow, which also makes for a great photo opportunity.
Enjoy fantastic views of the Galtee Mountains, Tipperary Town, Golden Vale and Devil’s Bit. Spend the weekend in the town of Tipperary, catch brown trout in the River Aherlow and play a round of golf at one of the nearby courses.
Best trails for experienced walkers
Glencolmcille Tower Loop, Co. Donegal
Journey to Donegal and stay in Ardara, Teelin or Glencolmcille where you can take on the 10km Glencolmcille Tower Loop with its epic views of the Wild Atlantic Way. Start at St Columba’s Church and make your way through a landscape dotted with Megalithic tombs and rich in Neolithic heritage.
Along the coast you’ll see roaring Atlantic waves crash into the base of soaring cliffs, rugged rocks jutting out into the ocean and birds flying overhead. While you’re in the area, make time to explore the sublime Slieve League (Sliabh Liag) cliffs and dazzling Silver Strand Beach.
Slieve Foye Loop, Co. Louth
Book a stay in historic Carlingford and follow the signs in the village to the trailhead of the 9km Slieve Foye Loop. Enjoy panoramic views from the top of Carlingford Lough, the Mourne Mountains and the Cooley Mountains.
The walk takes about two and a half hours, and there are plenty of traditional pubs and restaurants in Carlingford for a great lunch or dinner afterwards.
More great walks to try
Letterkeen Loop, Co. Mayo
Head to Mayo and discover the Letterkeen Loop, a challenging 12km walk that brings you through the stunning Nephin Beg Range. It takes three hours and there's some glorious views along the way.
Rinmaher Walking Trail, Co. Galway
Take on the Rinmaher Walking Trail, a 10km trek through Portumna Forest Park. The single track takes in views of Lough Derg and here you'll see fallow deer and colourful flowers, making it easily one of the best walks in Galway.
Glinsk Castle Loop, Co. Offaly
You’ll need about three hours to complete the Glinsk Castle Loop, an 8km woodland walk in Kinnitty, Offaly. Prepare for some long uphill sections, the reward is some amazing scenery when you reach the top.
Mangan’s Loop, Co. Wicklow
Journey to Tinahealy for one of the best Wicklow walks in Mangan’s Loop, a 5km looped walk that climbs Garryhoe Hill and takes about two hours to complete.
It’s important to respect our wonderful wildlife and the surrounding environment, so make sure to leave the trail as you found it. See our Leave No Trace page for more information. Prepare yourself for your amazing weekend of walking with these top tips from Mountaineering Ireland and stay safe while exploring these incredible trails.