Hiking in Ireland

hikers looking over stream and hills

You would be hard pressed to find a more ideal place for a walking/hiking vaca­tion than Ire­land. It is as if the island was cre­ated for that sole purpose.

Hill­walk­ing, as the Irish refer to it is a very pop­u­lar pas­time amongst the locals. There are close to 100 walk­ing clubs listed on the Ire­land Walk­ing Guide web­site http://www.theirelandwalkingguide.com/adviceandinformation/walkingclubs. Many of these clubs claim mem­ber­ship in excess of 500 peo­ple and can be found through­out Ire­land. The clubs are the back­bone of the trail sys­tem tak­ing an impor­tant role in the main­te­nance and mark­ing of many trails. In addi­tion to walk­ing, many clubs include mem­bers inter­ested in moun­taineer­ing and other out­doors pursuits.

The local clubs gen­er­ally have sched­uled walks on Sat­ur­days and/or Sunday’s. Usu­ally the sched­uled walks occur every week or two and as you would imag­ine, vis­i­tors are always wel­come. Talk about a great way to meet peo­ple that really know the area and that add to your vaca­tion immea­sur­ably. Often there are infor­mal walks on the week­ends when the club does not have one sched­uled. If you are in Ire­land on a week­end, ask around and you are likely going to find that a walk is hap­pen­ing nearby.

Another great way to see some friends that you hadn’t met before is to attend one of the many walk­ing fes­ti­vals held through­out the year and through­out the island of Ire­land. The largest fes­ti­val, The Bal­ly­houra Walk­ing Fes­ti­val, attracts over 1000 participants

http://visitballyhoura.com/index.php/2014/03/26/ballyhoura-international-walking-festival-3/. Walks of vary­ing length and dif­fi­culty are held over a 3 day period in early May each year. Kil­fi­nane which is located in County Lim­er­ick is just 1 hour south of Shan­non Air­port which makes it the per­fect way to start or end your Irish hik­ing or non-hiking vacation.

Of course you shouldn’t feel lim­ited to the Bal­ly­houra Walk­ing Fes­ti­val since there is a fes­ti­val held vir­tu­ally every week of the year. The first link in this post includes a cal­en­dar list­ing every major walk­ing fes­ti­val on the island in 2014.

For avid hik­ers that want to make hik­ing the cen­ter­piece of their trip, we work with many Irish com­pa­nies that will put together an extended itin­er­ary of any­where from 3 to 8 days and nights. Guided trips are led by native hik­ers that not only know every inch of your hike but know the peo­ple along the trail as well as the his­tory and arche­ol­ogy of the area. More than just scenery, these guides will help you to under­stand what makes Ire­land so unique.

An unguided or “go as you please” trip is less expen­sive than a guided ver­sion but fea­tures the same Bed &Break­fasts that you won’t read about in the travel books. Your hosts will likely have lived their entire life in the area, if not the house that you will be stay­ing in allow­ing you a look into the gen­uine Ireland.

There are as many ways to hike in Ire­land as there are rea­sons for doing so. Although each hike is dif­fer­ent, all hikes share the scenery, the hos­pi­tal­ity, the pubs and the spirit that makes Ire­land the ulti­mate place to enjoy a great day outdoors.