The island of Ireland is home to spectacular hiking trails of striking scenery and wonderfully peaceful paths. But after a day’s hiking enjoying your own company across the lush woodlands of Wicklow or the pristine coastline of Donegal, it is time to rejoin civilization.
Ireland’s world famous hospitality will be one of the high points of your trip and here’s our pick of hiker friendly towns in Ireland where you will feel right at home and where a warm welcome is guaranteed:
The Beara Way
Glengarriff, in West Cork, has been a traditional holiday destination since Victorian times and counts many high profile personalities among its loyal visitors, including poet WB Yeats and the town’s most famous native: actress Maureen O’Hara. Being the starting point of the Beara Way trail, you will find businesses in the town are always ready to assist hikers before you set off on your adventure across the Beara Peninsula.
Enjoy the upbeat atmosphere of this friendly town and tuck into some of West Cork’s food specialties to get your hike to a fantastic start.
The town of Tralee in County Kerry is the starting point of the Kerry Camino and home to its annual walking festival. The festival and trail have been lovingly maintained and cared for by the local Kerry Camino association and hikers here are guests of honour. The Kerry Camino walking festival takes place each May Bank Holiday weekend if you like to be part of the festive atmosphere but you can also hike this beautiful trail any time of the year.
Make sure you get your Kerry Camino pilgrim passport and stamp it along the way so you can get your pilgrim certificate at St James Church in Dingle.
The Great Western Green Way and Croagh Patrick
Westport in County Mayo has been a traditional destination for hikers and pilgrims for many years as they headed west to climb Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holiest mountain. Besides ‘The Reek’, as Croagh Patrick is also known, the Great Western Greenway trail also attracts many hikers and cyclists.
We suggest you book a couple of nights in the town so you can climb Cloagh Patrick before setting off on your Great Western Greenway hike or cycle. You will be rewarded with breathtaking views of Clew Bay. We would also recommend you avoid the last Sunday in July, known as Reek Sunday, when Croagh Patrick gets thousands of pilgrims.
The best way to wind down after the climb? Head to one of the town’s pubs to enjoy a traditional music ‘session’.
Locals in Doolin are well used to visitors, being one of the closest villages to the famous Cliffs of Moher and one of the places where you can get a ferry to the Aran Islands. The stretch of the Burren Way that joins the Cliffs of Moher and Doolin is also one of the most popular walking trails in the country, as well as being quite spectacular.
This tiny village on the Wild Atlantic Way is small in size but always offers a big warm welcome. Head to one of its cosy pubs for hearty food, live music or to find someone ready to strike a conversation.
For more information about hiking friendly towns in Ireland and our hiking tours contact our travel specialists