While we all appreciate Ireland’s pubs and craic during the colder months, the arrival of summer should remind us of the abundant outdoor activities and dramatic scenery that Ireland supplies. Despite being a small country, Ireland’s landscape and terrain varies widely from valleys to peaks, beaches to bogs. This beautiful diversity allows for plenty of outdoor adventures!
Hiking & Walking
Cronin's Yard Loop (MacGillycuddy's Reeks, County Kerry)
This walk begins at Cronin's Yard, a starting point for many who seek to climb Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s mightiest and highest peak. Cronin's Yard provides showers, changing facilities and a coffee shop, bringing some comfort to the expedition. As you venture up the mountain, you can enjoy the breath-taking silence and brilliant views of the sun-lit Carrauntoohil.
The Famine Walk (Killary Fjord, Connemara, County Galway)
Connemara has a unique, wild and raw beauty that can be discovered by foot. The Famine Walk encompasses the only fjord in the Republic of Ireland, and numerous lakes and mountains. These elements unite in one location to allow for a spectacular walk. As you make your way along the edge of the fjord, you’ll find the picturesque Mweelrea Mountain towering at your side. The walk brings you along the famine relief path, past little cottages that were witness to the harsh 1840s.
Causeway Coast Way (North Coast, County Antrim)
This superb route brings you along Northern Ireland's most celebrated coastline. It offers high cliffs, hidden beaches, charming harbours and numerous landmarks, including the famous Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge and dramatic Dunluce Castle.
Glendalough Lake Walk (Glendalough, County Wicklow)
Just an hour from Dublin, Glendalough gives access to dramatic and ancient landscapes with little effort. Glendalough is a 6th century monastic settlement sheltered by the Wicklow Mountains, and home to St Kevin’s Bed, a cave that can be spotted across the lake. Feral goats are commonly spotted on this trail and falcons may be seen high in the sky. Keep in mind that it can be very busy during summer months, so get here at sunrise to really experience it!
Canoeing & Kayaking
Ireland has some brilliant canoeing and kayaking locations. For those new to the fun of paddling, hiring a guide is the ideal way to uncover the hidden secrets of each trail and pick up some new skills. Don’t be surprised if, at sea, you’re welcomed by dolphins as you float along our beautiful coastline!
The Wild Atlantic Way (especially West Cork)
The entire coast from Cork to Donegal makes for a superb kayaking destination. Along this coast, the area of West Cork stands out because of its geography, scattered with numerous islands and bays. It can be accessed all year round thanks to all of its sheltered areas.
Derrynane Harbour, County Kerry, including Deenish & Scariff Islands and Lambs Head
This location fits the bill for the perfect excursion, as it can be enjoyed both by car and by paddle. From the road, this is one of the best section of the Ring of Kerry drive. From the sea, the scenery is even more spectacular.
Island Hopping, Ardmore, County Galway
Paddle along a course of uninhabited islands with sandy beaches and a backdrop of the Twelve Bens and Maamturk mountains, to reach the Island and church of MacDara, the patron saint of the Galway Hooker.
Lough Erne Canoe Trail, County Fermanagh
This trail has it all – bays, narrow channels of slow moving water and countless islands and peninsulas. Lough Erne is a brilliant venue for families or those venturing into their first canoe trip. There is even accommodation on Lusty Beg Island for a little extra luxury!
Climbing is an exciting sport which will bring you to incredible Irish locations and ignite fantastic adventures. Non-experienced climbers should contact a qualified climbing instructor, which can allow people of all abilities to visit and climb in places of outstanding natural beauty.
Gap of Dunloe and Black Valley, County Kerry
The Gap of Dunloe splits the MacGillycuddy's Reeks, Ireland’s highest mountains. The rocks are purple sandstone with great friction and lots of slopers and pockets, and only a handful have been developed, so there are plenty of new problems to climb.
Glenmacnass, County Wicklow
The Wicklow Mountains are graced with a big volume of granite boulders. The granite is a large grain and the individual boulders are fairly spread out. To fully appreciate the isolation and beauty of the valley, try camping on the soft grass beside the stream and pack your grub.
Doolin, County Clare
Doolin is best known for trad music and nearby coastal limestone cliffs. The limestone sea cliffs extend for over 500 feet and up to 15 feet high—perfect for bouldering. The sea is so powerful that, after winter storms, huge boulders can totally disappear, so pay attention to the tides and the weather.