The island nation of Ireland has no shortage of ridiculously gorgeous hiking routes. If you would like to get some background info on some of the best and most picturesque hiking locations in Ireland before you head there, here are four that should definitely be on the radar of every hiking enthusiast.
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The Giants Causeway Hike
The Giant’s Causeway is one of the most famous landmarks in the whole of Europe, so chances are that you will end up there anyway if you are visiting Ireland. The whole hike is roughly 33-miles long, but you can take shorter routes if you wish. Either way, those that decide to hike for at least a few miles will see majestic views across lush green forested areas, rock formations, stunning beaches and of course, the Giant’s Causeway. You can also choose to join a local guide when you book a tour through a company such as Go Irish Tours and learn about Dunluce Castle and the defensive walls that encircle the nearby city of Derry.
There are multiple hiking routes that are spread over 20,000 hectares and this whole area in the Wicklow National Park is known as Glendalough. You will definitely need a local guide here, so make no reservations about hiring one, unless you have sufficient experience in the area. Primarily, hikers either take the Avonmore Way Walk or the Wicklow Way. Even though both trails are roughly 80 miles in length, stick with the Avonmore Way Walk if you are a beginner because it’s both beautiful and relatively easy enough for most intermediate hikers to traverse. If you take the Wicklow Way though, it will be cold, steep and hard, with the highest point in the hike reaching as high as 610 meters or more.
Cronin’s Yard Loop
The tallest mountain peaks in all of Ireland are located in the McGillyCuddy Reeks, of which, Carrauntoohil is the tallest. The Cronin’s Yard loop acts as the entry point to a hike that leads uphill through the McGillyCuddy Reeks. Even though it seems relatively short at just roughly 12 -13 miles in length, this is arguably one of the hardest hikes in Ireland, especially if you plan to reach the top of Mount Carrauntoohil. The hike across lakes, grasslands, stones and ruins is serenely peaceful for the mind, albeit taxing on the body.
Hike from Hare’s Gap
Let’s end the list with a hike that’s considered to be tough by even the hardened pros, aka the Hare’s Gap hike. For those that are wondering why it’s considered to be so hard, that’s because the route is steep, uneven and rocky enough to test even the experienced hiker’s stamina to its full extent. Keep in mind that while none of them are easy, if you take the route to Brandy Pad, it will definitely be easier than climbing uphill to Slieve Bearnagh!
As mentioned earlier, there is no shortage of hiking routes on Ireland, so consider this info to be only an introduction to the grand adventures ahead. You will find many more as you go about exploring the island with an expert local guide.