Ireland at its best is wild and windswept and absolutely made for hiking. On this 9-day trip, you can go horseback riding on pristine beaches and walk the length of the Cliffs of Moher. Spend the night in cozy pubs and village guesthouses, visit lively Galway, and experience the unsurpassed beauty of the Emerald Isle.

Highlights

  • Walk the length of the Cliffs of Moher
  • Go horseback riding on an Atlantic beach
  • Hike on the Dingle Peninsula
  • Visit the Aran Islands

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Go hill walking around Doolin Doolin
Day 2 Walk the full length of the Cliffs of Moher Doolin
Day 3 Visit the Aran Islands Inis Mór
Day 4 Go horseback riding on the beach at Tralee Tralee
Day 5 Scale a mountain near Cloghane Cloghane
Day 6 Hike to beautiful Slea Head  Dingle
Day 7 Go hiking in the Dingle Peninsula Killarney
Day 8 Explore the Ring of Kerry Killarney
Day 9 Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Go Hill Walking on the West Coast

Hiking in Ireland
Hiking in Ireland

Start your day in the pretty village of Ballyvaughan, about 2.5 hours west of Dublin on Ireland's Atlantic coast, and get ready for your first hike of the trip. For day one, you'll be walking along the Green Road near Fanore Beach. This route takes you into the Black Head Mountain area, with limestone paths and old stone walls all around. Enjoy amazing views of Galway Bay and out to the Aran Islands as you walk over to Gleninagh Mountain. From there, join the Burren Way, dropping down into the Caher Valley before walking around Slieve Elva. Finish the day with dinner and a cozy night in a guesthouse in the village of Doolin

Hiking distance: 11 miles

Hiking duration: 6 hours

Terrain: A little road walking, rocky grass tracks, open hilltop, and limestone pavement, with a maximum ascent of 1,049 feet. Boots are essential.

Day 2: Walk the Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher
Cliffs of Moher

Some of the most stunning natural highlights in Ireland are the Cliffs of Moher. Just a half-hour drive from Doolin, today you won't just "point and click" at those famous cliffs. You'll walk the length of them, with the crashing Atlantic surf below and wildflowers at your feet. Spend the night back in Doolin before another great hike in the countryside tomorrow. 

Hiking distance: 8 miles

Hiking duration: 4 hours

Terrain: A little road walking, rocky grass tracks, and exposed cliff edge, with a maximum ascent of 262 feet. Boots are optional today.

Day 3: Head to the Aran Islands

Ireland's traditional houses
Ireland's traditional houses

Off the coast of Doolin are the iconic Aran Islands. Take the ferry to the largest and possibly most beautiful of the bunch this morning on a trip to Inis Mór, and enjoy a day's walk to the clifftop stone fort of Dun Aonghasa. Described by the 19th-century archaeologist George Petrie as "the most magnificent barbaric monument in Europe," it's quite a sight.

On the island, you'll find that this is a place where old Irish traditions live on. As you meet the people who live here, you'll notice that Gaelic is the everyday language of most locals. Spend the night on this charming island, and maybe head to one of the excellent pubs this evening for some freshly caught seafood and live music. 

Hiking distance: 11 miles

Hiking duration: 6 hours

Terrain: A little road walking and open clifftop with a maximum ascent of 492 feet. Boots are essential on this hike.

Day 4: Go Horseback Riding Around Tralee

Horses in Ireland
Horses in Ireland

This morning, head back to the mainland and travel about 2.5 hours south to the market town of Tralee. There, go horseback riding in the surrounding hills, or even on its wild Atlantic beach before an evening spent exploring the town. 

Day 5: Hike in the Cloghane Area

The Irish coast
The Irish coast

Today, it's time to head to Cloghane and Brandon Point, which takes its name from the folkloric tale of a local giant. This part of Ireland has amazing hiking options, and it's up to you which route you'd like to take on today. How about heading up Mt. Brandon? At 3,000 feet above sea level, it's the highest mountain in the region. Or go on a gentler walk along the coastline if you prefer a less strenuous walk. Spend the night in a local guesthouse in Cloghane village. 

Hiking distance for Mt. Brandon: 6 miles

Hiking duration: 5-6 hours

Terrain: A maximum ascent of 3,123 feet on rocky and grass trails and open mountain. Boots are essential.

Day 6: Hike Slea Head

Blasket Islands on the Dingle Peninsula
Blasket Islands on the Dingle Peninsula

In the morning, travel to the famous fishing town of Dingle. It's known for its excellent bars and seafood restaurants. First up, though, go hiking just outside town to the early Christian site of Kilcolman, and keep going until you're at the stunning sweep of sand and sea that is Ventry Beach. Then head to Slea Head before finishing the walk in the village of Dunquin. Along the way, enjoy views out to the Blasket Islands and poke your nose into Ireland's ancient dwellings, known as "beehive huts." Spend the night in Dingle before continuing the adventure tomorrow. 

Hiking distance: 12 miles

Hiking duration: 5 hours

Terrain: Rocky and grass trails, beach walking, and a bit of road walking with an ascent up to 1,148 feet. Boots are essential.

Day 7: Walk the Dingle Peninsula

Hiking in Ireland
Hiking in Ireland

Tonight you'll be staying in the buzzing town of Killarney, but before you drive there, there's a great hike to enjoy. Walking along the Dingle Peninsula from north to south, you'll follow the old farmers' path, Mach Na Bo (The Way of the Cow). You'll hike over the plateau, past the remains of a village that was deserted during the Great Famine, and past Annascaul Lake as you head down into Annascaul village before spending the night in Killarney. 

Hiking distance: 8 miles

Hiking duration: 5 hours

Terrain: Ascend up to 1,230 feet on grassy mountain tracks with some rocky parts; sections of the trail can be damp. Boots are a good idea, but not essential.

Day 8: The Ring of Kerry

The Irish coast
The Irish coast

The Ring of Kerry is a famous driving route that follows the Iveragh Peninsula coastline. This morning you can take this scenic drive, stopping to enjoy amazing views along the way. Then get ready for the day's walk! Today's hike is a loop that'll take you to Derrynane House, once home to the 19th-century Irish nationalist leader Daniel O’Connell. Then follow the old Mass Path to a beautiful beach before heading inland through an old oak forest. Finishing back in Derrynane, you'll have time to tour the historic house before heading to Killarney, about an hour and a half's drive away, to spend the night. 

Hiking distance: 5 miles

Hiking duration: 2.5 hours

Terrain: Grassy mountain tracks with some rocky parts; gravel tracks and road walking with a maximum ascent of 591 feet. Boots are essential today.

Day 9: Departure

Ireland
Ireland

It's the end of your Irish hiking trip! How about tagging on a few days in Northern Ireland, or exploring Dublin before you leave?