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Five Best Hiking Trails in Ireland

Five Best Hiking Trails in Ireland

Ireland's dynamic landscapes offer hikers an incredible array of trails to choose from. From the challenging summit of Carrauntoohil, Ireland's highest peak, to the volcanic rock formations at the Giant's Causeway, there's a route to suit every adventurer. 

Explore the dramatic northern coast along Malin Head, immerse yourself in the rich history of Glendalough, or test your endurance on the Croagh Patrick Pilgrim Trail. With stunning views, diverse wildlife, and a touch of ancient mystique, Ireland's hiking trails are extremely rewarding. 

Here are the top five hiking trails in Ireland to check out as well as recommended gear to ensure you are prepared for all types of weather and terrain.

Carrauntoohil, County Kerry

For the moderate to experienced hiker, Carrauntoohil is a challenging yet highly rewarding set of trails located in County Kerry, the West of Ireland. Living up to its name as Ireland’s tallest mountain (3,407 feet), this adventure will take you through winding paths and steep gullies between two stunning lakes, Lake Gouragh and Lake Callee. Upon reaching the summit, your efforts will be met with breathtaking views of the MacGillycuddy mountain range and the rolling Irish countryside. It gets pretty windy at the top so make sure you have the correct layers with you.

Recommended hiking jacket: AmpliDry II Jacket by Columbia

Explore our full collection of hiking jackets including women’s hiking jackets and men’s hiking jackets, each offering great protection for diverse weather conditions.

Malin Head, County Donegal

Malin Head, Ireland's rugged northernmost point, is home to hiking trails steeped in history and surrounded by wild, dramatic landscapes. These trails will take you past a Napoleonic watchtower, WW2 remnants, incredible rock formations and sweeping ocean views. In fact, its beauty caught the attention of film location scouts of Star Wars, who used it for close-up shots of Luke Skywalker’s secret hideaway in the 2015 & 2017 films. While the trek itself isn't overly difficult, be prepared to walk for about 7km over rugged terrain.

Recommended hiking jacket: Spirit Jacket by Montane

Glendalough, County Wicklow


 With nine different trail options ranging from a short 30-minute stroll to a long four-hour hike, Glendalough has something for everyone. For a short woodland walk, the Poulanass and St Kevin's Cell trail takes you past a stunning waterfall and up to a scenic viewpoint overlooking the Upper Lake. For a moderate hike, the Derrybawn Woodland Trail climbs steeply up alongside the Poulanass Waterfall before leading you to the upper reaches of Derrybawn Mountain. Flanked by larch and pine trees, this route offers magnificent views of the whole Glendalough Valley. 

For a more challenging day out, opt for the Spinc and the Wicklow Way trail, which leads you into mountainous terrain where navigational experience is necessary. This route is steep and part of the way follows a boardwalk that hugs the cliff of the Spinc, before cutting down through forest to lead back towards the Information Office. No matter which trail you choose, hiking in Glendalough is hugely rewarding and you get to witness some of Ireland’s most diverse wildlife and panoramic scenery. 

However, the trails can become dangerous and slippery during heavy rain and are challenging to navigate during extra cloudy and misty mornings. Always do your weather research ahead of time to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

Recommended hiking jacket: Minimalist Pro GTX by Marmot

Explore our full collection of hiking jackets including women’s hiking jackets and men’s hiking jackets, each offering great protection for diverse weather conditions.

 Croagh Patrick Pilgrim Trail - County Mayo 

The Croagh Patrick Pilgrim Trail is not one for the faint-hearted. This 4.4-mile out-and-back journey, with its rocky paths and steep ascent, offers spectacular coastal views and a glimpse into Ireland's rich spiritual heritage. St Patrick is said to have fasted on the summit for 40 days, and there is a shrine dedicated to him at the very top. Considered Ireland’s Holy Mountain, thousands of pilgrims still climb it on the last Sunday in July, some of whom even choose to walk up the mountain barefoot! Hikers who endure the 7km linear trail and reach the summit will be rewarded with stunning views of the town of Westport, Clew Bay and the hundreds of islands populating the bay.

Keep in mind that the Pilgrim’s Path is highly eroded, posing a danger not only to you but also to the mountain, its ecosystem, and the path's future. Instead, consider using one of the other paths up the mountain, such as the west trail leading to the ridge. 

Recommended hiking jacket: Alta III by Paramo

The Causeway Coast Way, Northern Ireland


Have you ever hiked over volcanic rock dating back to 60 million years ago? Now is your opportunity! The Causeway Coast Way is a relatively easy low-lying coastal walk that passes some of the biggest tourist attractions in Northern Ireland including the Giants Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and Dunluce Castle. While the Coast Way trails can take up to 2-3 days to complete, we recommend slowing down when you reach the Giants Causeway to take in the sight of thousands of hexagonal basalt columns that were sculpted by volcanic eruptions. The highest point on the trail is just over 140m above sea level, and none of the off-road sections are too remote, so its routes can be enjoyed by both novice and accomplished hikers.

Recommended hiking jacket: Spirit Jacket GTX by Montane

Explore our full collection of hiking jackets including women’s hiking jackets and men’s hiking jackets, each offering great protection for diverse weather conditions.

Ready to Explore Ireland’s Hiking Trails?

Adventure awaits, but so do unpredictable weather patterns! To make the most of your hiking journey in Ireland, always come prepared. Sturdy hiking boots, waterproof layers, and a good rain jacket will ensure that you can enjoy the dynamic Irish landscape no matter the forecast. Remember, a little preparation goes a long way in ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience on Ireland's spectacular trails.

Whether you're ascending the hills, embarking on an extreme mountain adventure, or taking a relaxing stroll through the Irish countryside, our extensive collection of hiking gear including women’s hiking jackets and men’s hiking jackets, which will keep you prepared for anything that comes your way.

For further inspiration, discover our full range of men’s waterproof jackets, men’s insulated jackets, and men’s windproof jackets as well as women’s waterproof jackets, women’s insulated jackets and women’s windproof jackets.

Next article A Guide to Women’s Insulated & Waterproof Hiking Jackets