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10 Great Hiking Destinations in Ireland for Your Bucket List
The Emerald Isle holds plenty of trekking gems that many avid hikers would want to include in their hiking bucket list. If Ireland isn't in your travel goals, you should consider adding this beautiful country to your list now.
Don't have a clue which hiking destinations to go to in Ireland? Here are ten of the best hiking spots in the country that you should try.
The Gap of Dunloe
Between the MacGillycuddy Reeks and the Purple Mountain, beside the River Loe, is a mountain pass that people know of as the Gap of Dunloe. The Gap of Dunloe, also known as the Gap, is a popular walking trail in Ireland, especially in County Kerry.
Aside from hiking or walking the trail, there are other means to get to the Gap. One way you can get there or enjoy the track is by riding the jaunting carts. The jaunting coaches are a horse and a buggy that is guiding you through the trail. However, if you want to take your time and enjoy the sights, it might be more worthwhile to walk instead.
The walk itself is of moderate difficulty, so it's approachable if you're used to hiking.
A popular site in the Gap of Dunloe is the Wishing Bridge, which got its name from a legend that says if you stand on the bridge and make your wish, it will come true.
The Causeway Coast Way
One of the loveliest hiking trails and, perhaps, one of Ireland's most famous hikes is the hike through the Causeway Coast Way. The Giant's Causeway Coastal Way in Northern Ireland is a coastal trail. It will take you about two to three days to finish. If you want to take your time and enjoy the sights, you should dedicate three days to this trail.
The trail is easy to moderate difficulty because some parts are relatively flat, and the navigation of the route is pretty straightforward.
The most awaited site along the trail would be the Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its unique rock formations.
Ballycotton Cliff Walk
In a sleepy, fishing town at the Atlantic Coast of East Cork, you'll find a 7.4 km trail, the Ballycotton Cliff Walk. This trail is a gentle cliff trail that anyone of all levels of expertise in hiking can experience. You can even bring some items for a picnic since there are many spots along the way that are perfect for taking a break to eat something.
At the end of the trail, you'll encounter beaches like Ballytrasna Beach, where you can enjoy watching all sorts of marine life, like dolphins and whales.
Muckross Lake Loop Trail
You'll want to grab your hiking poles for a hike around the Muckross Lake Loop Trail in Killarney National Park. The Killarney National Park itself has plenty of scenic landscapes and gorgeous sceneries in the entirety of Ireland. Still, one of its more popular hiking trails would be the Muckross Lake Loop Trail.
This loop trail is of moderate difficulty and will take you around three to five hours to hike all-in-all. To enjoy this trail the most, consider walking it from April up to September.
The sights you can enjoy on this trail would be the Muckross House, Dinis Cottage, which is about 200 years old. You can even go on a side-trip to Torc Waterfall!
Another hiking trail that you should try in Killarney National Park is the Torc Waterfall trail, which, of course, leads you to a waterfall. Although it's not exactly a full hiking trail because you're able to visit it after a five-minute walk off the road, it's still a popular site. You can go on a side trip on your Muckross Lake Loop hike to get to it. The waterfalls' name comes from a legend about the Irish hero, Fionn MacCumhaill, where he managed to kill an Irish magical boar named Torc.
The waterfall itself is about 70 to 80 feet tall and is about two and a half kilometers away from the Muckross House.
The Wicklow Way
If you're craving a long-distance hiking trail, try out the Wicklow Way. Wicklow Way is one of the best hiking trails in all of Ireland. You start the course in Dublin and eventually end up 131 km or 81 miles away in Clonegal. Since it's a pretty long journey, it might be better for moderate to expert hikers to tackle.
The hike should take you between five to ten days to finish, depending on how much time you have to explore all of it. If you want the best experience when hiking there, you should try it out between April to September.
Another circular trail on this list would be the Slieve Gullion, which you can find in the Ring of Gullion Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) . This hiking trail surrounds and leads up to the extinct mountain, which is the Ring of Gullion. The entire hike should take you around five hours to finish, including breaks.
Before hiking this trail, remember that this is a mountain trail, so bring the appropriate gear with you.
The Kerry Way
Another long-distance hiking trail that you can try would be the Kerry Way, which is approximately 203 km or 122 miles long. You can find this trail in Killarney Town right in the Southwest of Ireland. Given the length of the path, expect to take around eight to ten days to finish it in its entirety.
The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail
The Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail is a unique hiking trail in Northern Ireland that leads you to the Cuilcagh Mountain summit. What makes this trail unique is that it has boardwalks and stairs to guide you. However, it doesn't make it entirely easier to go all the way to the summit. Once you're near, the trail will become steeper, so be careful.
The Charles Fort trail is easy so that anyone can walk the path without much difficulty. As its name suggests, you're going to expect to see Charles Fort, along with an excellent walk around the harbor. There are plenty of photo opportunities in this trail, including the sights inside the star-shaped military fort.
All of these gorgeous hikes and more are present in the rolling green landscape of Ireland. If you find yourself staying in this lovely country, make sure that you pack your hiking gear with you. There are plenty of breathtaking and unique sights to behold and trails to conquer in the beautiful country of Ireland.
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