Ireland is known world-over for having spectacular and diverse scenery. Ireland’s National Parks are no exception, and offer a unique natural beauty that are a small step up from the rest of the country’s magic.
Ireland’s National Parks are also home to a wide variety of hikes, be it short looped walks or strenuous mountain stretches. They’re home to a vast countryside just waiting to be explored, with flora and fauna aplenty.
If you’re planning a visit to Ireland, or are just looking for a day out in nature, Ireland’s national parks are certainly one of the best ways to get a taste of what the country is all about.
Ireland’s National Parks
Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park is one of Ireland’s finest national parks. It’s located on the Kerry Way hiking route (and the equivalent driving route, the Ring of Kerry). It sits just outside the lively town of Killarney and offers so much to be explored.
Mountains, valleys, lakes and rivers all make up this glorious and awe-inspiring landscape. It is also home to one of the largest herds of wild deer in Ireland.
With such a variety of terrain, there are also a lot of different outdoors activities to partake in, such as hiking, kayaking and rock-climbing.
Connemara National Park
Connemara is a region in the West of Ireland with fantastic mountain views and coastal scenery. The population is incredibly sparse in certain areas, so you will probably see more sheep than people whilst there.
Diamond Hill is a popular hill to climb in Connemara National Park. It stands at 440m (1450ft) tall and provides a moderate challenge to those traversing it.
Even though it is quite a low mountain, the weather is incredibly changeable between the bottom and the top so it’s important to be prepared, even on a seemingly sunny day!
The Western Way hiking trail also passes through the heart of Connemara from Oughterard to Leenane and then on to Westport.
Wicklow Mountains National Park
Wicklow National Park is just a short commute from Dublin. Its most famous asset is Glendalough Valley, a beautiful and tranquil paradise where St. Kevin established a monastery in the 6th century.
Along with the monastic site, the Spinc – a trail which runs above Glendalough Valley – offers fantastic views of the woodland and lake below.
Like many of the national parks, there are many hiking routes to take. These range in length and can last anywhere from an hour to full-day hikes. If you’re visiting Dublin, Wicklow National Park is certainly worth the journey to see.
The Burren National Park
The Burren National Park, in the West of Ireland, is a karst limestone region. It offers a unique habitat which allows both arctic and mediterranean plants to flourish side by side.
It is a place littered with ancient archeological sites, history and tradition. The villages ooze with traditional Irish values in the way of food and music.
Often compared to the moon, the rocky landscape and rolling hills certainly makes it feel like you’re on a different planet. With views across Galway Bay of Connemara and its mountain ranges, a hike in the Burren is something that you won’t forget for a long time.
The Burren Way is a 114km (71 mile) trail starting in Lahinch and initially following the coast along the world famous Cliffs of Moher and the picturesque fishing villages of Doolin, Fanore and Ballyvaughan before then heading into the heart of the Burren.
We hope that you enjoyed this guide to Ireland’s National Park. If you’re interested in taking a self-guided hiking tour in any of these parks, check out our range of hiking tours to suit all levels.