Among many of its beautiful features, Ireland has some truly iconic coastlines. From Causeway to the north to Wild Atlantic Way to the east, you’d be hard-pressed to find coastlines with such a tremendous view and awe-inspiring feel. It is safe to assume that both Oscar Wilde and James Joyce hiked these coastlines and that they drew at least a part of their inspiration from them. So, let’s take a closer look at Ireland’s unique coastal hikes. With luck, you will then know how to better plan your trip.
Before you go hiking in Ireland
For the purposes of this article, we will assume that you are a fan of hiking. Nevertheless, we feel that a word of warning is in order. While Irish coastlines are a hiker’s dream, we advise you to carefully research and prepare before you go at them. It is paramount that you check the local weather forecast and that you bring the right hiking gear. Depending on where you usually hike, Ireland may be a bit rougher. So, look what more experienced hikers have to say and do what is necessary to keep yourself safe. Now, without further ado, let’s check out some Irish coastal hikes.
Our pick of Ireland’s unique coastal hikes
The following is our pick of what we feel are truly unique coastal hikes you can find in Ireland. While we cannot cover all the hike trails you can find in Ireland, we hope the following list will give you a decent enough impression. After all, there is a reason why many hikers choose to pack their belongings, deal with the paperwork, and move abroad to Ireland. If you are a true fan of hiking, there is no better way to spend your retirement.
The Causeway Coast
Let’s start our list with one of the most iconic of Ireland’s unique coastal hikes. The Causeway Coast is easily one of Ireland’s most beautiful and awe-inspiring coastal walks. It weaves the Northern coastline of Ireland for 52km (33 miles). Hikers usually regard the bit from the Dunseverick Castle to the Giant’s Causeway as the best bit. And if you Google the Causeway Cost, you will likely find photos from that bit.
Make sure to check out Giant’s Causeway while you are there.
But you shouldn’t focus solely on it. During your hike, you are likely to see some marine wildlife and notice some of the clifftop castles. We would advise you to drive to Portballintreevillage and use it as a base for your travels.
While on the Causeway Coast, you might even see Rathlin Island. At six miles long and one mile wide, it is the largest inhabited island in the region. For bird lovers, this Island is a must-see, with numerous species living in the reserve. If you come during spring or early summer, you will likely see geese, kittiwakes, fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, and corncrakes. During your hike, you can see some terrific views of Ballycastle and Fair Head. All in all, it is a terrific little island to check out, especially if you are already enjoying the Causeway Coast.
Aughris Head is one of Ireland’s unique coastal hikes where you won’t find many tourists. In fact, Sligo County is often overlooked by tourists and tour guides alike. And we feel that it is a total shame. If you enjoy easy walking, beautiful cliffs, and birdwatching, you should definitely hike along the Aughris Head in south Sligo. The way is around 5km long. If this is too short for you, you can look to add on a walk to Dunmore Beach. That way, you will have around 10km to walk. We suggest you head to a local bar and enjoy a nice pint with fresh seafood at the end of your hike.
Killary Fjord Famine Walk
Let’s go to the other part of Ireland and see what it has to offer when it comes to hiking. A great representative of the West Atlantic Way is the Killary Fjord. Both the largest and the most famous of Ireland’s fjords. Here you can take the Famine Walk. Don’t let the name fool you. Even though it is 16km long, you won’t starve on it. The reason why it is called so is that it was created in order to battle famine during the 1800s. In fact, it was seen as a famine relief road, used to bring food to the starving Irish populace during the potato famine. Seeing that the walk is long, we would advise you to join a group or go with friends.
Check out Doolugh Valley if you wish to know more about famine in Ireland.
The Cliffs of Moher
Those who are familiar with Ireland have probably wondered how long it would take us before we mentioned the Cliffs of Moher. After all, seeing that it is often considered the most iconic Irish landmark, we’d be hard-pressed not to mention it. In our mind, a hike is the best way to experience the Cliffs of Moher. Start at Liscannor and walk along the cliffs until you come upon the Visitor Center. Once you get there, continue to Doolin village. Although your walk will be linear and not overly long (around 5km), it will give you a lot to take in. The scenic views alone will give you an impression of the true beauty of Ireland.
When you think about Ireland’s unique coastal hikes, it is hard not to have Cliffs of Moher in mind.
The Dingle way
Let’s finish our list of Ireland’s unique coastal hikes with one of its longest trails. The Dingle way is a 162km trail that circles the Dingle Peninsula. On this 162 km trail, you will experience coastal hiking, rural laneways, and mountain paths. You will also experience villages and mountain tows, so you don’t have to carry provisions for the entire trail. If you come at it with some understanding of Irish culture and history, it will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For most people, it will take around seven days. But we advise you not to rush and enjoy all the sights and activities you’ll find along the way.