5 Scenic Hikes in Ireland

Mountain ranges lie all over Ireland with approved hiking trails that will give you unforgettable, incomparable views of scenery. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner there is a trail for you. Here’s five of our favourite hikes in Ireland for a view. 

Stairway to Heaven - Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail

1. Stairway to Heaven - Cuilcagh Legnabrocky Trail, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland

  • Distance: 7.4km
  • Duration: 3 - 5 hours round trip
  • Level: Moderate
  • Equipment: Hiking boots, layered clothing, snacks and water

Cuilcagh is a mountain on the border between Fermanagh and Cavan with a peak height of 665 metres. The boardwalk trail that earned this route the nickname of Stairway to Heaven was originally added to protect the vast bog landscape and is hugely popular among hikers. When you reach the top you are rewarded with incredible views from the viewing platform - perfect for that Instagram picture.

Typing “Cuilcagh Boardwalk” into Google maps will bring you to the beginning of the trail. The trail is easy to follow as its sign posted. This trail is recommended for hikers with a moderate level of fitness and dogs are not permitted. 

2. Croagh Patrick, Teevenacroaghy, Co. Mayo

  • Distance: 7km
  • Duration: 5 hours round trip
  • Level: Moderate to Strenuous
  • Equipment: Hiking boots, climbing sticks for extra stability, layered clothing, snacks and water

Croagh Patrick is known as Ireland’s holiest mountain. For many years people have followed the footsteps of Saint Patrick and early pilgrims by climbing the mountain barefoot to hear mass in the church at the summit some 764km above. This hiking trail begins at the village of Murrisk (10 mins drive from Westport) where there is a car park and visitors centre with some facilities. 

The trail then leads you up the side of the mountain rewarding you with fantastic views of the Atlantic coastline including Clew Bay and the Sheefry Mountains. On the way you’ll see a statue of Saint Patrick as you pass through the trails three sections progressing from a gradual slope to a steep rocky one. No dogs are allowed on Croagh Patrick. 

Why not make your hike into a staycation? See 6 options for weekend breaks for families in Ireland

Cliffs of Moher Coastal Trail from Doolin Village, Co. Clare

3. Cliffs of Moher Coastal Trail from Doolin Village, Co. Clare

  • Distance: 8km
  • Duration: 2 - 3 hours
  • Level: Moderate 
  • Equipment: Hiking boots, layered clothing, sun cream, snacks and water

The Cliffs of Moher coastal walk stretches 20km total from Liscannor to Hag’s Head with a series of shorter routes in between. Beginning at Doolin Village will give you an 8km trip along the rugged coastline with unimaginable views of the Wild Atlantic way including the Aran Islands. 

This trail features an exposed cliff-top path, steep ascents and descents and steep, narrow flagstone steps. There are no barriers or handrails so caution must be taken when following the mountainous paths. For this reason dogs are not permitted and the route is unsuitable for children.

4. Torc Mountain Trail, Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry

  • Distance: 8km
  • Duration: 2 - 2.5 hours
  • Level: Moderate - suitable for children
  • Equipment: Hiking boots, layered clothing, sun cream, snacks and water

The Torc Mountain trail contains boardwalk sections made from old railway sleepers that will cover most of the route after the initial ascent through heather and rocks. The boardwalk will keep your feet dry but take caution as it can be slippery at times. This trail is straight-forward to follow and its zig-zag nature helps to reduce the gradient of the ascent. 

There is a viewing platform halfway up the slope that’s perfect for a break as you soak up the views of the river valley below. Torc is a good option for children. They can look out for mountain goats, red deer, and fantastic lake views. Dogs are permitted at Torc but must always remain on a lead. Begin the trail at Torc Mountain Upper Car Park - Google maps will take you there. 

Tip: Bringing the kids? See our tips for driving long distances with children.

Glendalough Spinc Walk (Blue Route)

5. Glendalough Spinc Walk (Blue Route), Wicklow Mountains, Co. Wicklow

  • Distance: 5km
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Level: Moderate - suitable for children
  • Equipment: Strong footwear, water

If you’re new to hiking trails in Ireland the blue route at Spinc is a great way to get started. The route is handy to follow with the blue arrow markings and the starting point is easily located in the Glendalough Upper Car Park. The trail is a looped walk that passes by the Waterfall before entering the Lugduff Valley. After that you’ll climb some steps that will bring you onto the boardwalk along the cliffs of the Spinc. Then you’ll descend through the forest and finish at the information centre. 

Although this trail is suitable for beginners you must always stay on the boardwalk as there are dangerous cliff edges. Remember to bring your camera and enjoy the beautiful views of the Wicklow Mountains. Dogs may take the trail on a lead and if you fancy a tougher version of this trail try the white route from the same starting point. 

If you’re looking for some more family-friendly options check out these: Best scenic drives in Irelandfamily friendly walks in Cork and family friendly walks in Galway.

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