After 6 months of travelling, Ciarán and I both knew to expect a shock to our system when it came to settling back into reality. To help us get over our fear of missing out, we made a promise that in 2019 we were going to explore some of Ireland’s hidden gems. Ireland is famous for its scenery, its history and its methodology, so we knew between hikes, trails and fairy forts we would have plenty to keep us busy.
There are literary thousands of trails to choose from in Ireland. Between coastal walks, mountain climbing, and forest walks, the choice is endless. To ensure that I didn’t get too carried away, I compiled a list of our ‘Must do trails in Ireland for 2019’ and thought I would share them here on my blog. Ciarán and I plan on tackling each of them before the end of the summer, and ensure we make the most out of what this beautiful country has to offer. So, if you are like us and want to see more of what Ireland has to offer but don’t know where to start, hopefully these 5 trail ideas will help you out.
12 O’Clock Hills, Kilkishen, Co. Clare – Completed
The 12 O’clock Hills (Knockanuarha hills) are located 5km outside Kilkishen, a small village in East Clare. There are two routes which can be taken on this forest trail, a 5 km and 9km route. Both looped paths have been developed under the shade of trees and are suitable for all fitness levels. This trail is ideal for a family day out but be warned that access for buggies is limited. Do remember to pack a picnic, so that when you get to the top of the hill you can chill out, relax and take in the stunning view of the Burren and the Shannon Estuary.
Coumshingaun Lake walk, Comeragh Mountains, Co. Waterford – Completed
Coumshingaun is famous throughout Europe for its corrie. Located in centre of the Comeragh mountains, these corries were formed by glacier movement during the ice-age. The hike commences with a gentle slope through forest but then gradually gets steeper with the highest point in the Comeraghs at 792 metres overlooking the lake. Relative fitness is important, but a good pair of hiking boots are key to completing the climb safely.
Cliffs of Moher Coast Walk, Liscannor to Doolin, Co. Clare – Not Completed
This walk is near my home house in Co. Clare and I feel I am the only one of my friends who hasn’t completed it, so this year it is getting ticked off the bucket list. This walk would be deemed as moderate to strenuous due to it being an 18km route. It can take up to 7 hours to complete this walk, but this time allocation is also meant to give you plenty of time to stop and take pictures of the stunning views. Attractions include; Hags head, the Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, Galway Bay and Aill Na Searrach. I have been advised that this walk is best to do on a dry day and shoes with a good grip are a necessity.
Howth Cliff Path Walk, Co. Dublin – Not Completed
Conveniently the starting point for this walk is at the train station in Howth. The route is marked with green arrows (6km length) and purple arrows (10km length). It is laid with paved walkways and solid earth paths throughout and is deemed to be an easy walk suitable for all fitness levels. Views include Baily Lighthouse, Lambay Island as well as Dublin Bay. This walk is ideal if pressed for time as it enables you to explore the hustle and bustle of Dublin city but also take in some of Irelands scenic views.
Carrauntoohil Mountain, Killarney, Co. Kerry – Not Completed
Carrauntoohill is the highest peak in Ireland. It is 1,038 m tall and is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy's Reeks mountain range. There are several routes for hiking but commencing in Cronins yard and taking the Devils Ladder is deemed to be the most straightforward route. This hike is considered to be strenuous and can be quite dangerous due to the loose stones along the path. Because of this, I have been warned that it is important to keep distance from groups ahead to prevent injury. Hiking boots and suitable hiking attire is key when taking on Carrauntoohill.
With two trails down, I am looking forward to ticking the other three routes off before the end of the summer. Ireland has so much to offer, and I have only recently realised that I have taken it for granted. I am looking forward to seeing what Ireland has to offer me this summer!