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 fulfill 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 in 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, historic highlight that is the 6th Century Medieval monastery, Wicklow Way, tour Dingle Peninsula, which is 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.
Plan the route
Once you select the area you want to hike, you must plan your route. 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.
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 in 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, pubs, and such.
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, it’s best to visit in the spring or summer months.
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 yr.no.
Pack the right equipment
Now that you have selected the hiking area, planned your 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 more pieces of clothing. This way, you will have something dry to change into. Also, if you have checked what vegetation and ground cover to expect, and there is a chance the trail is covered in snow, you will need appropriate footwear and probably some equipment like crampons, gaiters, and an ice axe.
Make a list of all 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.
Finally, don’t make the mistake of spending a touch too long picturing the perfect holiday, only to remember that you forgot actually 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!