One of the most enjoyable ways to explore Ireland is by walking, either independently, or on a Walking Tour. A more serious walker will find miles of trails, taking you over hills and valleys, where you can see spectacular scenery. Hiking provides an adventurous experience with some of the most spectacular sites around the country.
A Walking Tour takes place in various towns with an historic and archeological point of interest in mind. You should anticipate from one to two hours with your tour guide as historian. These tours are sign-posted so you could explore them on your own, without the benefit of the history by the guide.
County Limerick offers Guided Walking Tours in Limerick City following mediaeval Limerick. The tours begin at the Custom House. There are riverside walks and an Angela’s Ashes trail.
In County Offaly, the County Council has developed many walkways throughout the county. They include the Offaly Way, Grand Canal Way, and the Slieve Bloom Way.
The Offaly Way, beginning at Cadamstown Village and crossing the River Silver and ending at Ferbane, connects the Slieve Bloom Way and the Grand Canal Way. The Grand Canal Way begins in Ringsend in Dublin and continues to the River Shannon at the Shannon Estuary. It is 131 kilometers. The Offaly Section, includes over 64 kilometers of canal and crossing large tracts of bogland, enters the county near Edenderry and extends through the towns of Daingean, Tullamore, Rahan, Pollagh and Belmont. The Slieve Bloom Way is 77 kilometers stretching across the Slieve Bloom Mountains and connects Glenbarrow, Monicknew, Glendhe East, Foelacka, and Glenkeen.
In County Kerry there are a multitude of Walking Routes. The North Kerry Way is a 48-kilometer loop from Tralee to Blennerville. Then travel north by west, along the coast through Banna and Ballyheigue and around Kerry Head. Plan two days for this walk. The Kerry Way is the longest marked trail in the country. It is 215 kilometers around Iveragh Peninsula.
On the Dingle Peninsula you can hike along the mountain walks at Mt. Brandon (3,100 ft.), or Mt Eagle (1,670 ft.), or visit the highest promontory fort on Caherconree (2,700 ft.). The Dingle Way is a lower level walk encompassing the Peninsula. At Cosan na Naomh or Pilgrim’s Way, you will have the best view of the Blasket Islands and archaeological sites.
County Cavan, Bailieborough has a sign-posted trail around the town, beginning at the top of Main Street. The town was developed into a Plantation Market Town, and the walk details the town’s history. In Cavan Town there is The Cavan Way, which provides hill and valley walking between the Leitrim Way at Dowra, a small village community near the source of the River Shannon, and the Ulster Way at Blacklion Village.
In Kilcar, County Donegal, is the Kilcar Way. This walk will take you through scenic countryside. Ideally suited for hill walkers, beginners can enjoy more gentle walks on the country roads and hills. The village is an ideal base to explore the hinterland and Slabh League, whose sea cliffs are at 1,972 ft. Another Walk in Donegal is the Glenties, located in the heart of the highlands. The rugged coast offers a number of serene, secluded beaches offering breathtaking vistas. Throughout the County of Donegal, there are fantastic walking tours including organized cultural walking tours.
County Leitrim offers some of the best hill walking in the country. There are over 30 different walks in the North Leitrim Glens. Glenade Valley is an example of a glacial valley. The Glencar Waterfall inspired William Butler Yeates to write his haunting poem ‘Stolen Child’.
County Wicklow, the Garden of Ireland offers very scenic splendor on the walking trails. There are gentle walks along the trails through the woods, where a break in the trees provides a spectacular vista. The Wicklow Way was the first long distance walking route to be fully marked in Ireland. The route is 132 kilometers beginning in Marlay Park, Dublin and completed in Clonegal. The route provides a variety of landscapes, from the Wicklow Mountains through valleys and glens. An added pleasure is the historical sites along the way. Wicklow is so unique with the walking trails, that there are Walking Festivals, one held in the spring and the other in the fall.