Ireland is a country rich in natural beauty and geological wonders. With mountains, woodlands, limestone cliffs, forest parks that wind along streams and waterfalls, dolmens and monastic sites – it is a shame to just visit Ireland and not embark on a hiking trip. Pack your favorite hiking shoes and gear, set out early and explore the best hikes in Ireland.
Things you'll find in this article
- Best Hikes In Ireland
- 1. The Causeway Coast, County Antrim
- 2. Doolin Cliff Walk to the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
- 3. Glenariff Forest Park Scenic Trail, County Antrim
- 4. Divis and the Black Mountain ridge trail, Belfast
- 5. Achill Island, County Mayo
- 6. Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail (‘Stairway to Heaven’), County Fermanagh
- 7. Carrauntoohil Hike, County Kerry
- 8. Torc Mountain, County Kerry
- 9. Glendalough and the Spinc cliffs, County Wicklow
Best Hikes In Ireland
1. The Causeway Coast, County Antrim
You’ll never find a more spectacular excursion than this one, an easy hike that’s unforgettable from start to finish. Regarded as one of Ireland’s best hikes, this is 4.5 miles of Ireland’s best – from the Giant’s Causeway to the Dunseverick Castle.
The trail begins at a secluded coastline by the causeway that’s rich in geological wonder, mythology, and stunning views. The track then leads you along stunning coastal cliffs and past a number of historical landmarks such as the Dunluce Castle and more of the Giant’s Causeway.
It is advisable to download a map online before you go to check for road closures and other important planning tools to help you make the most of your hike.
2. Doolin Cliff Walk to the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare
Not for the faint of heart or the unaccompanied novice hiker, the Doolin Cliff Walk takes you on a ‘secret’ passage to the Cliffs of Moher. In this trail, you can either take the short route that stops at the Cliffs, or the longer route that finishes at Liscannor. Whatever you choose you will surely enjoy one of the best hikes in Ireland in one of the most stunning locations you’ll find yourself in. This hike along the sharp cliff’s edge offers breathtaking and dramatic views wherever you look, and the swirling Atlantic below.
Back in the adjacent Doolin village, you can enjoy some fish and chips, treats from the chocolate shop and some authentic traditional Irish music.
3. Glenariff Forest Park Scenic Trail, County Antrim
This is one of the best hikes in Northern Ireland, on a scenic trail in one of the most picturesque counties. It takes you through six miles of stunning natural beauty that starts at the visitor center at Glenariff Forest Park. This varied circular hike leads you through the mossy depths of a waterfall-filled ravine, idyllic woodlands then up a long and winding climb to the edge of the Antrim Plateau. It’s pretty challenging as some areas are steep, but you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views of the forest park and its surrounding areas, even all the way to the sea to Scotland.
4. Divis and the Black Mountain ridge trail, Belfast
Level: Easy to Moderate
A relatively easy hike, a chance to commune with nature and still enjoy spectacular views of the city? Check! The Divis and the Black Mountain ridge trail is one of the best hikes in Ireland because it’s relatively easy but very rewarding. Divis stands 1,568ft and is the perfect spot to enjoy panoramic views over the city of Belfast.
The hike takes you on a circular path that slopes gently up to the Bobby Stone and summit of Black Mountain. Here you can take in views over Stormont and Titanic Belfast as well as the famous Harland and Wolff cranes. On a clear day, you can even look all the way to Scotland and the Isle of Man.
5. Achill Island, County Mayo
Stand at the edge of the Atlantic on Ireland’s highest cliffs, when you hike out around Achill Head in County Mayo. Situated on the western tip of Achill Island, this strenuous walk is not for the novice hikers and should be approached with caution.
The Achill Head trail takes you on a challenging trek through cliffs of varying heights, where you’ll come across some archeological wonders such as a megalithic tomb, ancient graveyard, and deserted village.
You’ll also get to explore old signal towers, follow steep headlands, and see peregrine falcons. The hike is quite magical and unforgettable, as the walk on these cliffs gives you the sense of being on the edge of the world.
6. Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail (‘Stairway to Heaven’), County Fermanagh
Level: Easy to moderate
Nicknamed by the locals as the ‘Stairway to Heaven’, the Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail is quite an experience and one of Ireland’s best hikes. This trail includes a one-mile boardwalk that allows you to pass through one of the largest expanses of blanket bog in Northern Ireland. Not for the unaccompanied novice hiker, this adventure leads you to a steep climb to reach the 2,185ft summit of Cuilcagh Mountain. The views are definitely breathtaking and worth it, so make sure you spend time at the peak and capture the unforgettable scenery with your camera.
The Cuilcagh Legnabrocky is situated in an area with a unique habitat and also part of the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark. Take deep relaxing breaths and stretch your arms and legs as you simply can’t resist the opportunity to explore the nearby caves as well.
7. Carrauntoohil Hike, County Kerry
For the more adventurous and experienced hikers how about a trek to the summit of the country’s highest mountain? Carrauntoohil is the central peak of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountain range. Located in Kerry, this is a difficult 21km hike that can take over five hours to complete so make sure you set out early. It’s quite a challenging, strenuous climb, but the trail takes you on a scenic tour towards the town of Killarney, rumored to be a favored gathering place of fairies and other magical beings. A recommended, and popular route to the top is the Devil’s Ladder, as it is the most direct and shortest.
8. Torc Mountain, County Kerry
A popular hiking destination that’s part of the Killarney National Park in County Kerry, the Torc Mountain trail is quite easy to navigate. The views over Killarney Park and waterfall is quite unforgettable, and a favorite among photographers.
This trail gets you through a scenic forest path, which also overlooks the Killarney Lakes, the Macgillycuddy Reeks, and Muckross House. A steady climb up the mountain you’ll pass through quiet, moss-covered forests and streams. Torc Mountain trail can be crowded though, so make sure you start early.
Once you’ve descended and want to see what the town offers, check out Killeen House for some hearty fine dining. Afterward, make sure to stroll around town to listen to traditional Irish music, especially in the evening.
9. Glendalough and the Spinc cliffs, County Wicklow
Close to Dublin and nestled in a glacial valley in the Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough is also known as the ‘Garden of Ireland,’. A popular destination for Dubliners and tourists alike, a hike here takes you through eight and a half miles of stunning scenery. Not an easy walk though, as the trails are hilly and would require you to stop often to catch your breath and stretch your limbs. The Glendalough and Spinc Cliff trails start at the monastic site and Lower Lake, before steeply ascending beside Poulanass waterfall then to the towering Spinc cliffs.
Here, you can take in the magnificent views over Lower and Upper Lakes 1,000 ft below. Once you get back to even ground and still have the energy to spare, check out a bit of the nearby Wicklow Way. If you’re hungry there’s The Wicklow Heather for hearty meals in a stately atmosphere. There’s also Bryne & Woods, for a taste of the local cuisine. Both are located close to the Glendalough Visitor Centre.