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Tips for Planning a Self-Guided Walking Tour in Ireland

Tips for Planning a Self-Guided Walking Tour in Ireland

The Emerald Isle, the name that perfectly describes Ireland’s otherworldly landscapes and natural wonders, is every walker’s paradise. And what better way to explore this paradise and fulfil your wanderlust than by planning a self-guided walking holiday? You’re free to choose your own pace, make your own decisions, and pick your travel buddies. Plus, there’s no need to tire yourself out searching for accommodation, places to eat, and things to do or figuring out train and bus schedules. Sounds like your cup of tea? Here are some tips from Footfalls for planning a self-guided walking tour in Ireland.

Ready to plan your self-guided walking tour in Ireland? Here are some of our best tips!

Choose your itinerary

First, you need to figure out where you would like to go. Luckily, when planning a self-guided trip to Ireland, you’re spoiled for choice. From the buzzing hubs rich in history, along with Ireland’s natural wonders of the Aran Islands, Giants’ Causeway, and the Cliffs of Moher, with ample opportunity to stretch your legs and enjoy the wild and rugged natural beauty along the way, your path could take you virtually anywhere. It is especially true if you treat yourself to a private, customised walking tour.

The 43 marked walking trails lead the travellers into the Irish countryside and, every so often, off the beaten track. Whether you explore the iconic Game of Thrones filming locations, Antrim and Coastline, the historic highlight that is the 6th Century Medieval monastery, Wicklow Way, tour Dingle Peninsula, which was once cited as “the most beautiful place in the world”, or visit the limestone coast of the Burren is entirely up to you.

There are lots of beautiful places you can go hiking in Ireland.

Like the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland.

Immerse in the Culture. One of the most unique aspects of Ireland is its rich history and vibrant culture. While you’re planning your self-guided walking tour, make sure you also account for the cultural elements. Set some time aside to visit local pubs, listen to traditional Irish music sessions, and engage in conversations with the locals. It can give you a deeper insight into the spirit of the place, enhancing your overall experience. Understand Local Etiquette. Walking in Ireland is a joy, but it’s also crucial to be aware of the local etiquette and customs. For instance, many hiking routes will pass through privately owned lands, where farmers graze their livestock. Always ensure you close gates behind you, keep your distance from animals, and follow the countryside code. This respect for the land and its people will ensure a positive experience for both you and those who call Ireland home. Plan the route

You must plan your route once you select the area you want to hike. The first thing you need is information about the technical complexity of the trail, such as ascent, descent and distance. Once you know your course, it will be easier to calculate the approximate time you’d need to conduct it. Here, you need to consider three things: the distance, total ascent, and physical preparedness – yours and the rest of your travel group. The required time is typically based on the least fit individual in the crew. Finally, plan your journey to the starting point. You’ll need some travel info regarding how to get there and move around in your area, i.e., bus/train schedules and parking possibilities.

Stay Connected While the idea of a walking tour might seem like a digital detox, ensuring you have a working mobile phone with you is essential. Not just for emergency purposes but also to help navigate using GPS or to learn more about an area through local apps or online resources. Remember, some remote parts of Ireland might not have the best reception, so having offline maps or guides can be beneficial. Respect the Environment Ireland’s landscapes are pristine and breathtaking. As you revel in its beauty, also play your part in keeping it that way. Always carry a small bag to store your trash. Following the “Leave No Trace” principle ensures that the trails remain beautiful for other hikers and for future generations.

Book an experienced provider.

Self-guided walking tours are perfect for those who love hiking solo and in their own time but feel like they need a little more assistance figuring out all the details. Leaving the logistics to a team of professionals with local expertise and insight will give you the freedom to wander the breathtaking landscapes of Ireland on your way with all the support you need to make it effortless.

They help you plan your itinerary, pre-book all your accommodations, pre-arrange luggage transfers, provide comprehensive maps and route notes, and supply you with necessary travel information, including the best restaurants and pubs.

That’s the beauty of hiring services. Say you’re looking to relocate from the UK to Ireland permanently. Pulling off an international move is not exactly an easy feat. Of course, you could choose to do everything independently instead of hiring movers. However, doing so requires too much time, money, and energy. And there’s still no guarantee that everything will go smoothly. So, why go through all of the trouble when you can hire experts to handle everything? And it’s the same with planning a self-guided walking tour in Ireland: with expert assistance, your hiking adventure is like a walk in the park.

Check what temperatures to expect.

Another thing you must remember to do when planning a self-guided walking tour in Ireland is to check the weather. Choosing when to visit the Emerald Isle will mostly depend on your plans while you are here. The country is well-known for its cold and wet conditions, so whatever time of year you decide to visit, it’s always best to come fully prepared.

The weather is incredibly changeable in Ireland. It’s often said one can experience all four seasons in just one day in Ireland.

Still, the autumn and winter months tend to be the chilliest and wettest; therefore, if you’re hoping for sunshine and as many dry days as possible, visiting in the spring or summer months is best.

In general, temperatures are reasonably consistent throughout the year. So, experiencing extremes of hot and cold isn’t something you’ll need to worry too much about.

If you’re planning your adventure not long before it takes place, make sure to check the weather forecast. In Ireland, the weather service that provides the most reliable daily forecasts would have to be Met Eireann, and the most accurate for hourly forecasting is

Pack the right equipment.

Now that you have selected the hiking area, planned route, and checked the weather, you can pack accordingly. This is especially important if you are travelling during the colder months. For instance, if high precipitation is expected, ensure that you bring your waterproof gear and extra warm clothing. This way, you will have something dry to change into.

Make a list of all the necessities you should bring on your walking tour. This way, you won’t forget something important.

Even if you aren’t holidaying in Ireland during the chilly months, waterproof footwear and rainwear should probably still be at the top of your packing list. Also, wind protection is a must since many trails are near the coast. Of course, sunscreen, sunglasses, and gloves are non-negotiable for any hiking backpack and any time of the year. GPS or excellent map reading skills fall into the must-have category as well. So, make sure you don’t leave them at home.

Bring appropriate food

You must pack appropriate food when organising a self-guided hiking tour in Ireland. First, ensure that your food provides lasting energy (protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates). Second, go as light as possible: pack light, high-energy snacks as hiking provisions, and minimise utensils. Third, if you’re going on a multi-day hike, you’ll want to opt for easy-to-prepare meals and food that won’t spoil quickly. Finally, ensure you stay hydrated, so pack sufficient water to last the trip.

Book early

Finally, don’t make the mistake of spending too long picturing the perfect holiday, only to remember that you forgot to book it. In that case, your elation may be very short-lived. The availability is limited, whether it be quaint Airbnbs, campsites, traditional self-catering offerings, guesthouses or hotels. So, it’s worth booking your accommodations early if you want to avoid standing in front of closed doors after a long and tiresome day of hiking.

We hope our tips for planning a self-guided walking tour in Ireland were helpful. For any further information, don’t hesitate to contact us! Enjoy your walk!