Walking routes of Ireland
this month's 1 2 Traveller Seamus O'Murchu has donned his walking boots
and took to the waymarked ways of Ireland, here he outlines his best
walking routes of Ireland.
has a number of walking routes throughout the country with over 30
‘waymarked ways' allowing you to experience up close the sweeping
scenery of the Emerald Isle.
Kerry to Ulster, Wicklow to Donegal, Ireland is criss-crossed by an
extensive network of walking routes through some of the most beautiful
and timeless rural countryside. Many of these routes were ancient
pilgrims trails, others were used by Irish Rebels to evade the British
and all have their own unique characteristics and provide their own
unique experience of Ireland.
1 2 Travel have an excellent selection of walking tours throughout Ireland,
catering for all levels of experience, where all your accommodation is
booked and your luggage is transported, offering you peace of mind
comfort and local expertise.
But just to whet your appetite, here are my six of the best walking routes in Ireland.
The Wicklow Way
Starting at Marlay Park in Dublin, the Wicklow Trail runs for 132km into the uplands of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, before finishing up in the village of Clonegal in County Carlow.
Opened up in 1982, the route is popular and takes in a mix of sheep
tracks, bog roads, forest walks and mountain passes. Sections south of
Laragh rise to above 500m and will require solid footwear. Along the
route the Wicklow Way passes St Kevin's 6th century monastic settlement
in the stunningly scenic Glendalough and the fabulous Powerscourt Estate with its impressive 18th century mansion and surrounding gardens.
The Kerry Way
Starting and finishing in the town of Killarney,
the 214km Kerry Way is the longest footpath in the Republic of Ireland.
Looping around the Inveragh Peninsula, the Kerry Way is virtually the Ring of Kerry by foot and winds through the Killarney National Park and Macgillycuddy's Reeks and past Carrantuohil, Ireland's tallest peak before hugging the coastline and passing by Cahirciveen, Waterville, Derrynane, Sneem and Kenmare before heading back to Killarney.
The Burren Way
Some of the best walking areas in Ireland can be found in the Burren in County Clare.
This sparsely populated area of limestone karst is criss-crossed with
ancient tracks known as green roads, too narrow for cars, making
excellent walking routes. Among these is the 35km Burren Way between Ballyvaughan and Liscannor traversing the unique landscape and flora of the Burren, stopping at the village of Doolin,
a famous centre for traditional Irish music and an ideal place to spend
a night, before passing the highlight of the route, the famous Cliffs of Moher.
The Beara Way
This route on the Beara Peninsula in West Cork encompasses some fabulous coastal and mountain scenery in an area much less travelled than the Ring of Kerry.
The Beara Way forms a similar 196km loop around the peninsula, weaving
its way through the Caha Mountains, past the Sugar Loaf Mountain and
Hungry Hill and stopping by towns like Castletownbere and Glengarrif.
Parts of the Beara Way follow the route of Donal O'Sullivan and his
ill-fated followers, who retreated from O'Sullivan's castle and were
chased into the hills by the English. Of the 1,000 of O'Sullivan's
followers who set out that winter only 30 returned. Sections of the
route encompass Bere and Dursey Islands.
The Dingle Way
The Dingle Way is another peninsula route looping its way around the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry. This 168km walk begins and ends in Tralee
and takes in the stunning Mount Brandon and passes some of Ireland's
finest stretches of beach at Inch as well as a number of sites of
archeological interest. The town of Dingle provides an excellent base with a number of restaurants and lively bars with traditional entertainments.
The Ulster Way
The Ulster Way covers over 900km on its route around the 6 counties of Northern Ireland and County Donegal
in the Republic of Ireland. It would take a month to walk the route in
its entirety, but thankfully it can be divided into a number of shorter
walks. The south eastern section is based on the Mourne Trail taking in
the Mourne Mountains and Strangford Lough, the north eastern section
passes through the wonderful Glens of Antrim and the famous Giant's Causeway
Coastline and the Donegal section, skirts the Glenveagh National Park,
through the Derryveagh Mountains with Mount Errigal (752m) and the Blue
Stack Mountains outside Donegal Town and continues on towards Lough Erne outside Enniskillen.