In part three of our three-part walking in Ireland special we showcase six walks to savour.
“Among the romantic preconceptions visitors bring to Ireland, it is their expectations of the landscape that are most likely to be fulfilled.” quotes the Rough Guide’s Ireland book. And if these walks are anything to go by the landscape certainly is the main attraction of any visit to Ireland.
Glendalough Lake Walk (Glendalough, County Wicklow) If you want dramatic and ancient landscapes with little effort, look no further than the Glendalough monastic site. Just an hour from Dublin, Glendalough is a 6th century monastic settlement nestled amongst the Wicklow Mountains, where goats and peregrine falcons are common sightings. Best experienced at sunrise when it’s quiet and the light is soft.
Hare’s Gap (Mourne Mountains, County Down) The most dramatic mountain pass in the Mournes, Hare’s Gap (440m) features a mixture of unsurfaced rough paths, open mountainside and a final steep ascent through a boulder field to the Mourne Wall. Once at the Gap, either turn back or continue to either the dramatic tors of Slieve Bearnagh or along Brandy Pad.
Divis Ridge Trail (Belfast, County Antrim) The circular Divis Ridge trail is one of four trails on Divis and the Black Mountain and is the highest point in Belfast (478m). You will enjoy spectacular skyline views over Belfast as well as the Mourne Mountains, Scotland and the Isle of Man – all without having to climb any hills!
Causeway Coast Way (North Coast, County Antrim) Northern Ireland's most celebrated coastline simply cannot me missed. High cliffs, secluded beaches, picturesque harbours and numerous landmarks including the famous Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and dramatic Dunluce Castle are just some of the memorable highlights.
The Famine Walk (Killary Fjord, Connemara, County Galway) Connemara has a wild, raw beauty that is unique to this part of the island. No matter which way you look, the numerous lakes and mountains will take your breath away. Home to a fjord at Killary Harbour, this deep-water inlet from the Atlantic was once a hiding place for U-boats in World War Two.
Cronin's Yard Loop (MacGillycuddy's Reeks, County Kerry) This walk begins at Cronin's Yard, a starting point to climb the mighty Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest peak. The very best time to do this walk is at sunrise during midsummer. The route will also take you to the start of the larger of the area’s two lakes, set at the foot of the Devil's Ladder, the traditional route up Carrauntoohil.