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Five Irish hikes off the beaten path to discover this summer

Green landscapes, colourful coastal backdrops, and large amounts of steps on your Fitbit – there’s nothing quite like exploring the great outdoors in Ireland. Now that summer is on its way, it’s time to hit the road and discover what our beautiful country has to offer. Get your hiking boots and the compasses ready, we're heading on a road trip to some of the best hidden hikes and walks in Ireland!

 

1. Ballyhoura – Attychraan Loop

           Distance: 5km

           Time: 2 hours

 

Silence and serenity await on this 5km loop that winds its way between the counties of Tipperary and Limerick. Take in the fresh country air in this walker’s paradise as you enjoy views overlooking the peaceful countryside before basking in the beauty of the Galtee Mountains. Walk along riverbanks, rugged mountains, lush landscapes and quiet country roads and immerse yourself in the undisturbed ambiance.   

 

2. Clonbur Wood – Ballykine Loop

Distance: 7.5km

Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

 

Explore a quiet and scenic corner of Co. Galway on this 7.5km loop, taking in woodland wonders, geological marvels and serene shores. From the idyllic islands that sprinkle Lough Mask, to the dramatic limestone pavements and exotic trees – this trail has a plethora of Galway gems to discover. After your woodland adventure, drop by the colourful Gaeltacht village of Clonbur for a well-deserved cup of tea in one of their quaint cafes.  

 

3. Killaspugbrone Loop

Distance: 6.9km 

Time: 2 hours

 

Discover seaside promenades, forest terrain and ancient heritage on a secluded 6.9km loop in the awe-inspiring Co. Sligo. With views of Benbulben, Knocknarea and Sligo Bay, you’ll soon see why this is an outdoor enthusiast’s idea of heaven. Make sure to stop into one of the many restaurants or pubs in Strandhill to sample some of the local cuisine after working up an appetite on this two-hour trail.

 

4. Clogrennane Wood Loop

Distance: 4km

Time: 1 hour

 

Follow the woodland tracks and tree-lined roads through this enchanting forest filled with bluebells and wild garlic in Co. Carlow. As you walk through the narrow pathway and climb to the highest point of the trail, you’ll be greeted with gorgeous views overlooking Carlow town and the River Barrow before making your way back down. Finish off your day by heading back into Carlow town for some delicious food to recharge your batteries.

 

5. Erris Head Loop

Distance: 5km

Time: 2 hours

 

Escape to this sheltered corner of Co. Mayo and embark on this 5km loop with unspoilt views of the coast and the thumping roar of the Atlantic ocean by your side. Follow an earth bank around Erris Head’s dramatic cliffs and soak in the vistas of Illandavuck Island, Pigeon Rock and striking sea arches. Take a trip into the nearby town of Belmullet, where you can curl up in one of their cosy pubs to unwind afterward.

 

Remember for your own safety, never go hiking alone and always plan your route in advance. 

 

Sources:

 https://blog.irishtourism.com/2021/06/30/ireland-off-the-beaten-path/

 https://www.coillte.ie/site/clonbur-wood/  

 https://sligowalks.ie/walks/killaspugbrone-loop/ 

 https://visitballyhoura.com/explore/attychraan-loop  

 https://carlowtourism.com/clogrennane-wood-looped-walk-2/   

 https://www.sportireland.ie/outdoors/walking/trails/erris-head-loop 

 

Additional sources:

 https://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/travel/arid-40277567.html