If you’re into outdoor activities and you want to experience the Emerald Isle from a more personal vantage point, hiking through the country may be a great vacation idea for you.
Ireland’s many top-notch hiking trails will give you access to a variety of lovely and unforgettable vistas, ranging from dramatic mountain regions to gentle, flower-strewn valleys to rugged, wild and untamed shorelines.
Whether you’re planning a trip to the Emerald Isle or simply imagining one, you’ll enjoy this helpful quick guide to some of Ireland’s most popular and enjoyable hiking trails.
No matter what physical condition you’re in or how much of a challenge you are looking for, you will find that there’s a hike that is just right for you.
Croagh Patrick, County Mayo
Located in scenic and historic County Mayo, Ireland, Croagh Patrick is a mountain that the Irish consider sacred.
While hiking up Croagh Patrick may seem like a deceptively simple jaunt, chances are good that you’ll find it moderate to challenging.
Situated near Westport, this mountain attracts hundred of thousands of “pilgrims” annually; these hikers reach the mountain’s summit and then take time to pray at the very top.
Whether or not you choose to commune with God atop Croagh Patrick, you will likely find the that the view from the peak is quite inspiring and transcendent, and that the hike itself leaves you with plenty of poignant Emerald Isle memories.
One of Croagh Patrick’s most impressive features is its stunning, almost perfectly triangular summit base, as well as it connection to Ireland’s patron saint, Patrick , who is believed to have lived for forty days and night upon the summit.
A monument rests at the peak to commemorate his commitment to Ireland and to the Christian faith.
Spinc Trail, County Wicklow
If you’d like to experience the mystical magic of Ireland’s gorgeous Wicklow Mountain region, you’ll love the Spinc Trail. This Irish hiking trail really epitomizes the spiritual quality of outdoor exploring in the Emerald Isle.
Set amidst rolling, misty alpine fog and colorful mountain flowers, this steep slope requires some physical endurance, so it may be considered a “difficult” hike that is better for experienced nature walkers.
Once you’ve ascended the trail’s 600 steps, you’ll see the wonders of the ancient Glendalough monastery, which was founded by St. Kevin in the sixth century.
This panoramic view will reinforce the monastery’s tranquil, serene quality, making for a truly unforgettable sight that will likely trigger a host of emotions. History comes alive on the Spinc Trail.
The descent will feature lush greenery and bubbling brooks.
Other wonderful hiking routes in Ireland include the Ring of Kerry, which gives hikers access to ancient stone work and charming, quaint Irish villages.
Another option is hiking the wild, unspoiled beauty of the Burren (a fantastic natural pattern of criss-crossed limestone rock formations), with its rare wildflowers and windswept beauty. The Burren is located in County Clare, Ireland.
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