Ireland is the perfect destination for an active vacation. Numerous mountain ranges and the seemingly endless coastline provide first-class conditions for water and mountain sports. So, here is an overview of the best outdoor activities in Ireland.
There are some great mountain biking routes in Ireland. Various providers such as BikingIreland rent mountain bikes and offer courses for beginners as well as guided tours. Ballyhoura, near Limerick, is the name of the largest network of mountain biking trails. Here you can choose different route lengths and degrees of difficulty. At 6 km (3.7 miles), the Greenwood loop is the shortest with Castlepook Loop over 50 km (31 miles), the longest route.
Mountain bikes can be rented in Ballyhoura from 35 euros per day.
Hiking is a great way to see the beautiful landscapes of Ireland. From multi-day circular hikes to long walks or day trips, there is something for every hiker.
If you love trekking, choosing the best hiking trail in Ireland will be tough. The Ulster Way awaits you to the north, the Dingle Way to the southwest and Connemara and the Burren National Park at the Cliffs of Moher offer unique nature experiences to the west. And these are just a few of the highlights. Hillwalk Tours book self-guided hiking tours on these and other great hiking routes around Ireland. This means that all required accommodation is booked along the route sections you have chosen and your luggage is transported. You are also provided with all of the maps, directions and other information you need to complete the hike but you walk alone at your own pace.
The rocky coastline and mountainous regions make Ireland a worthwhile destination for climbers. Most of the climbing areas are used for traditional climbing. That means there are no hooks and climbers have to lay their own protection. Previous experience is therefore recommended and equipment should also be brought with you.
Not only is Fair Head the northernmost point in Ireland, it is also one of the best places in the world for trad climbing, according to the Irish. Even those who are addicted to the younger trend of bouldering will get their money’s worth in Fair Head.
For sport climbing, Mountaineering Ireland recommends the Ballykeef quarry in Kilkenny.
The Atlantic coast in the west of Ireland is world famous for its fantastic waves. Bundoran in Donegal is without a doubt the Mecca for all surfers in Ireland. But also various beaches, such as Whitestrand or Easkey, in County Sligo are high on the list thanks to high waves. For beginners, the Lahinch surfer village in County Clare is a great choice.
At all three locations you can easily find surf schools and rental of surfboards, diving suits, etc. Some surf schools even have bachelorette parties in their program.
There is a tight-knit community of swimmers in Ireland. Even if the water temperatures rarely exceed 17 degrees Celsius, some people go swimming here every day, even in winter. In any case, you will feel refreshed and lively afterwards. The Blackrock diving platform in Galway brings such a community together. Visitors are also very welcome and can enjoy views of the hills of The Burren on the opposite site of the bay.
Also, the Fourty Foot in Dublin enticed many city dwellers into the cool water and forms a hot spot for swimmers. Surrounded by the coast, you won’t find it difficult to find your favorite access point to the sea in Ireland. However, be sure to pay attention to the signs. Not all beaches are safe for swimming.
Ireland also hosts events for extreme sports such as cliff jumping. In 2017, for example, the Red Bull Cliff Diving Series was hosted on the Aran Islands. The Aran Islands are a secluded trio of islands west of Galway and attract countless visitors every year due to their original charm.
During the Cliff Diving Series, professional athletes jumped from a height of 27 meters into the natural basin called Serpent’s Lair and took the breath away from around 3,000 spectators.
Kayaking is a great outdoor activity in Ireland. Providers are scattered all over the Emerald Island and often have family-friendly tours in their program. In addition, you can choose whether you want to glide on rivers and canals, lakes or even across the sea.
Those visiting the capital can take a two-hour kayak tour on the Liffey. You can sea kayak from Doolin, near the Cliffs of Mohe , or kayak in remote areas like Connemara. Not only is a lot of outdoor fun guaranteed, you also get to know Ireland from a completely new perspective.
A list of the best outdoor activities in Ireland would not be complete with including horse riding. There are plenty of riding stables in Ireland that offer guided tours for tourists. Whether on the beach, through wooded areas or along mountain ranges, you can ideally discover the Irish nature on horseback. Castlefergus Equestrian near Ennis, Co. Clare has received excellent reviews on Trip Advisor and offers pony trekking for children and adults.
With Dingle Horse Riding you can get to know what is said to be the most beautiful place in the world in multi-day rides on horseback.