There are many reasons to visit Ireland, including cozy pub encounters, traditional live music, exceptional historical heritage and breathtaking scenery. In this post, we uncover five destinations for hiking with some of the best nature in Ireland. From the rugged peaks in the MacGillyuddy’s Range to the gray limestone plains of the Burren. From deserted beaches on the Atlantic coast to mirrored lakes in green valleys. And from enchanting woodlands to dramatic cliffs.
1. The Burren
Nature in Ireland consists primarily of green hills and valleys. But on Ireland’s west coast there is a nature reserve that looks very different. Walking the Burren Way allows you to enter a world of fascinating gray plains, dramatic cliffs and a wealth of plants and animals.
The gray rock masses of the Burren are the result of a unique geological process that began hundreds of millions of years ago. The Burren consists largely of limestone, created when this area formed the bottom of a shallow sea.
The landscapes in the Burren may look rather gray and barren at first glance, but are bursting with life. About 75 percent of all plant species in Ireland can be found in this nature reserve. Colorful flowers and animals such as pine marten, mink and ermine.
2. Wicklow Mountains
South of Dublin is one of Ireland’s most popular hiking destinations. The Wicklow Mountains are one of the highlights of hiking in Ireland boasting high mountains, mirrored lakes and deep green valleys.
One of the main attractions of the Wicklow Mountains are the remains of Glendalough, an early medieval monastery village. In addition, the region is also one of the best places to get acquainted with Irish nature on foot.
The Wicklow Mountains National Park is known for some of the best views in the country. The Wicklow Way takes walkers through this unforgettable stretch of Ireland’s countryside, from the soothing mountainous landscapes to the southern outskirts of the Irish capital.
This peninsula on Ireland’s west coast has everything you’d expect from Ireland’s wildlife: verdant mountains, secluded beaches, dramatic cliffs and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Dolphins, seals and countless seabirds, including puffins and gannets, live on and around the peninsula, which was once voted ‘the most beautiful place on earth’ by National Geographic.
The rugged beauty of the Atlantic coast and the inviting atmosphere of the villages of Dingle make this an excellent destination for a walking holiday in Ireland. On the local trail, the Dingle Way, you can walk through an area that many believe symbolizes the ‘real Ireland’.
The highest mountain range in the country, winding hiking trails and lush forests welcome you to Killarney. Killarney National Park is home to an extraordinarily attractive combination of natural features and an unforgettable experience.
Killarney is located in County Kerry which is in the southwest of the country. The area is primarily known for the rugged peaks of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks and its characteristic large lakes, in which the mountains are reflected.
One of the most popular long distance walks in Ireland, the Kerry Way cuts through Killarney National Park and around the Iveragh Peninsula.
5. Connemara and the West of Ireland
Ireland’s west coast has no shortage of enchanting scenery. North of Galway, for example, is the Connemara National Park, a nature reserve where iconic peaks and an attractive coastline meet.
The national park is located around Diamond Hill, a 442 meter high mountain from which a magnificent view can be admired. In addition, the nature reserve consists of moor landscapes, swamps and the dramatic setting of Ireland’s only fjord: Killary.
The Connemara and the West of Ireland walking route from Oughterard to Westport takes you past many of the most beautiful places in Connemara. This route is arguably the best showcasing the diversity of Ireland’s wildlife.