If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, the best way to see the stunning views of the Emerald Isle is on foot. Ireland is one of the most accessible countries for hiking; all national parks are free to enter, have no restrictive hours and plenty of parking. I would also recommend avoiding the bank holidays in June, August, and October; the parks get flooded with locals excited to take a break from work! Get ready to lace up your waterproof hiking boots and check out some of my favorite hiking spots in Ireland!
Wicklow National Park - Co.Wicklow
Located in the southeast region of Ireland about an hour south of Dublin City center, Co.Wicklow is renowned for its sloping hills and beautiful valleys. Located in “Ireland’s Ancient East” Wicklow National Park features some of Ireland’s most iconic ruins, including the Round Tower of Glendalogh that is found on Biddy Murphy’s jewelry box. St. Kevin founded this monastic site in the sixth century and it is one of the oldest relics in all of Ireland. Wicklow National Park is a must-visit for history lovers! Make sure you stop by the visitor center to learn about the history and grab a map so you don’t miss a single ruin or view.
Make sure you have a pack a pair of wool socks for your journey; a necessity for the rainy and cold Irish weather, wool socks will keep you warm and dry for the duration of your hike. Get a couple pairs of Biddy Murphy’s socks for your trip - you’ll be grateful that you did!
Connemara National Park - Co. Galway
The western region of Ireland is known for its rocky, stark beauty; beauty that is exemplified in the stunning Connemara National Park. Connemara National Park is home to the picturesque twelve bens. When you get to the top of one slope, the rest of the mountains unfold in front of you. The stunning beauty of the land is inhabited only by a few daring sheep; these sheep belong to local farmers and have the right to graze there. The sheep’s wool is marked with different colors to illustrate who they belong to (don’t be fooled, though - this isn’t how we get our blue or green sweaters!) There’s also a tea room in Connemara National Park for post-hike desert, tea, or coffee - when you’ve made it up a mountain or twelve, you deserve a tasty reward!
Croagh Patrick - Co. Mayo
One of Ireland’s most famous mountains, Croagh Patrick (pronounced “Crow”) has been a site of religious pilgrimage since 3,000 BC. According to legend, this mountain was where St. Patrick banished snakes from Ireland forever. St. Patrick used the mountain as a place for fasting and meditation. The last weekend of July, thousands of people make the journey up the mountain for “Reek Sunday” in honor of St. Patrick and worship at the small chapel on the top of the mountain. Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to Croagh Patrick from all over the world to walk in the steps of their ancient ancestors and share in the deep spiritual resonance of the mountain.
One of the most difficult hikes on this list, you have to show up to Croagh Patrick prepared! Many visitors to the mountain bring their own walking sticks to keep their balance on the rocky, steep climb. The walking stick is also connected to St. Patrick; many renderings of the saint show him holding an ash walking stick, which he is said to have carried around with him when evangelizing. Biddy Murphy’s high-quality walking sticks will help get you safely to the top of the mountain just like it helped St. Patrick balance back in the 5th century!
The Vee - Co. Tipperary
Perhaps I’m biased, but my favorite spot for a walk is in my home County of Tipperary. The “Vee” is named for the “V” turn in the road. Located on Sugerloaf mountain in the Knockmealdown mountain range, you can see a panorama of the entire county on a clear day. It’s the sort of spot only the locals know about - and a place you can’t miss!
Have you ever hiked in Ireland? What was your favorite spot? Do you have any tips to share for fellow explorers? Be sure to leave a comment below - we love to hear from ya!
Slán go fóill - Bye for now!
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