The best hiking adventures in Ireland

Dalkey Island, photo by William Murphy

Hiking is a great substitute for exercise, and it sure beats going to the gym. It’s not just a way of making sure that your muscles do a bit of work – actually, the whole point is to do it someplace where you get to see some amazing landscapes, and preferably reach a destination that will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something. And what better place for this than the Green Island? Ireland has tons of hiking trails that will just take your breath away (and not only because of the effort :D). So here are some of the best hiking adventures in Ireland.

Dalkey Island

Dalkey is a coastal suburb of Dublin, not that far from Dublin city center, and Dalkey Island is located about 300 meters offshore from Dalkey. This island, although it is so close to the city, it looks as wild as anything can get so close to the Irish capital. The island is small and full of interesting ruins, like the remains of St Begnet’s Church or a martello tower. Although there are no designated hiking trails, the island is small and it’s almost impossible to get lost.

Dingle Peninsula

photo by dusi_bbg

Dingle Peninsula is one of the most picturesque regions in Ireland, although it is less touristy than the nearby Ring of Kerry. This means that there’s less likelihood of encountering anyone on your hike, which is not that bad. The attraction of Dingle Peninsula is the extraordinary number of ring forts that you can see during your hikes. Climb Mt. Brandon (951 m), it has two excellent hiking trails to the top.

Connemara National Park

The 2000 hectares of bog, mountains and heath that will make the day of any prospective hiker. Amateur archaeologists and historians will love the park – there is an interesting 19th century graveyard and 4000 year old megalithic tombs, plus some amazing flora and fauna. One of the best hikes in the park is the one that follows the glen of River Polladirk.

Great Sugar Loaf Mountain

Although this mountains is barely 501 meters tall and it is also rather isolated from other mountains, it looks like a huge hulking thing at the horizon, and promises one long hike. With its volcanic rocks and steep slopes, the Sugar Loaf is one of the most interesting mountains in Ireland. The hike to the summit is not easy, but once you’re there you’ll be rewarded with some spectacular sights.

Glendalough, Co, Wicklow

photo by Sean MacEntee

Glendalough is a glacial valley in County Wicklow, famous for its early Medieval monasteries and churches. The area is very scenic, and there are no less than nine designated hiking/walking trails of various difficulty in the area. Two of the best hiking adventures in Ireland are Spinc Trail, which can be covered in one day, and the Wicklow Way, which can take several days to finish.

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