Head to the coast for some sand, sea and Instagram opportunities on these Irish coastal walks. Whether you’re lucky with exceptional weather or not, it’s worth braving the wind and rain for the views from our picks as the 10 best coastal walks in Ireland.
1. Cliffs of Moher Cliff Walk, Co. Clare.
Distance 18km (11 miles) - Time 4.5 hrs
This is a challenging and exposed cliff top path so be prepared for a decent hike! But, with incomparable views of the Atlantic, Aran Islands, Doolin and Galway Bay, it is very much worth the effort. The views are simply stunning and include one of the world’s biggest surfing waves when you arrive at the first headland of Aill Na Searrach, the Leap of the Foals.
2. Bray Head Loop Walk, Valentia Island, Co. Kerry.
Distance 5.5km (3.5 miles) - Time 1.5 hrs
Is there anywhere better on a clear day? The Bray Head Walk is the perfect way to get out into the wild and soak in the spectacular views of the Skellig Islands, the Kerry coast and the Wild Atlantic Way. You will most likely encounter sheep and cows along your path. Bray Head Loop Walk on County Kerry’s Valentia Island is not a walk you will regret. Don’t forget to bring €2 for the car park!
3. Ballycotton Cliff Walk, Co. Cork.
Distance 7km (4.5 miles) - Time 2.5 hrs
This cliff walk is easy to follow as it involves a 3.5 km walk from Ballycotton village to Ballyandreen beach and then back to Ballycotton village! As you embark on this scenic walk, you are flanked by rolling green farmland on one side and the rugged beauty of the Atlantic coast on the other. One thing to watch out for is that there are many stiles to cross on the route, making it not very suitable for bikes or buggies.
4. The Dingle Way, Co. Kerry.
Distance 179km (111 miles) - Time 8/9 days
In total, The Dingle Way Walking Trail is 179km long and takes a reasonably fit person an average of 8 or 9 days to walk. The Dingle peninsula is a dramatic and varied landscape of mountains, lakes, coastal plains and sandy beaches. The Dingle Way runs through the spirited traditional towns of Tralee and Dingle as well as Slieve Mish Mountains and Mount Brandon. For those who love history, culture and a lot of hiking, the Dingle Way is the perfect route for you!
5. Causeway Coastal Path Walk, Co. Antrim.
Distance 16km (10 miles) - Time 4 hrs
This route is one of the most scenic coastal walks in Europe. It starts at the Carrick a Rede Rope Bridge to the Giants Causeway, a World Heritage Site. Cooling volcanic lava formed the remarkable Giant’s Causeway’s 40,000 basalt columns 60 million years ago! You will see stunning views of dramatic cliffs, wide bays, sandy beaches, and off-shore rocks.
6. Howth Cliff Path Loop Walk, Co. Dublin.
Distance 6km (4 miles) - Time 2 hrs
Also known as the Green Route, this walk starts and finishes at the DART (train) station in Howth village, only a hop, skip and jump from Dublin City! The path hugs the cliffs near Howth and boasts some really spectacular views of Lambay Island, Ireland’s Eye as well as Dublin Bay. Once you’re finished the walk, Howth village has beautiful cafés, pubs and restaurants that you can enjoy.
7. Old Head of Kinsale Loop Walk, Co. Cork.
Distance 6km (4 miles) - Time 1.5 hrs
With spectacular views at every turn, this circular walk explores a beautiful coastal headland near Kinsale. Points of interest along the trail include ruins of a Celtic fort believed to have been built in 100 BC and the Old Head black and white lighthouse. The Old Head Golf Links course is also one of the most remarkable locations in the history of links golf.
8. Kilkee Cliff Walk, Co. Clare.
Distance 8km (5 miles) - Time 2.5 hrs
Explore this spectacular stretch of County Clare that loops around the rugged coastline of Kilkee. Starting from the incredible natural swimming pools known as the Pollock Holes, this route includes quartz-filled Diamond Rocks, a natural stone amphitheatre formed by the waves and beautiful wild flowers along the way! You will also arrive at Intrinsic Bay, named after a ship which sank in 1836.
9. The Burren Way, Co. Clare.
Distance 123km (76 miles) - Time 5 days
The Burren Way is a 123 km walking trail in the Burren area of North Clare. Internationally renowned for its geological features, The Burren is an area of spectacular terraced limestone hills and hidden valleys. The terrain is a moderate mix of green roads, forestry tracks, quiet tarmac roads, and ancient cattle droving roads.
10. Slieve League Pilgrims' Path, Co. Donegal.
Distance 3km (2 miles) - Time 1.5 hrs
Standing at a whopping 1,972 feet, the Slieve League Cliffs are nearly 3 times higher than the Cliffs of Moher. Follow the footsteps of ancient pilgrims to McBric’s Church and Well and onward to the plateau and cliff edges of Sliabh Liag in South West Donegal. Tip for photographers, the most famous way to photograph the cliffs is from the Bunglas Viewpoint.
That concludes the list of the Top 10 Best Walks in ireland. There are many ways to experience Ireland’s beautiful landscapes but perhaps the most satisfying way is on foot. Make sure to tag Best of Ireland on Instagram if you post any photos or videos you capture on these walking routes!
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