Ireland is perfect for hikers and walkers of every level. Secret ruins, stunning vistas, flora, fauna and wildlife, all ensure that every path you take is dotted with hidden gems and moments of sheer delight. Here we share with you our Top 10 beginners’ scenic hikes.

Torc Waterfall Walk, Killarney National Park, County Kerry

Torc is Irish for boar and the waterfall relates to a local legend. A man found himself changing into a wild boar at sundown after a Devil’s curse. He hid away from everyone, but they discovered his secret and enraged, he exploded into flames and burst through the banks of the Devil’s Punchbowl Lake. The tale says this created Torc Waterfall, which hides the boar-man’s cave!

Stroll in from the car park and follow the sound of water. Beginning at the base of the waterfall, climb the steps to ascend some 20 metres (70 feet) to the top. Continue your elevated walk to Friar’s Glen, look back at the sweeping panorama of the lakes, and continue your elevated walk along the Owengarriff River, flowing from the Devil’s Punchbowl to the waterfall.

You can choose to return at this point, or continue towards Torc Mountain and incredible views of the lakes and over to Muckross Abbey and Muckross house.


Lower Diamond Hill, near Letterfrack village, Connemara National Park, County Galway

Widely regarding as one of best hikes that Ireland has to offer, Diamond Hill is split into two main walks, with the upper level for the more experienced hiker. We recommend the lower walk around this diamond shaped mountain, but rest assured you are still getting wonderful views!

There is a Visitor Centre at the entrance with amenities and a couple of short nature trails for the less able and kids. The Lower Loop Walk starts at the visitor centre and the trail covers some 3km (less than 2 miles) across the Connemara bogland and boulders dating back thousands of years. The ever changing landscape gives way to stunning views of Kylemore Loch, over to Tully Mountain and out to Ballinakill Harbour. A Monolith marks the return point for the loop, with the option to continue to the more difficult Upper Loop for the seasoned or adventurous!


Dalkey and Killiney Hill Loop, Killiney Hill Park, South County Dublin

Coming in at under 3km (less than 2 miles), this sea vista walk can be completed in under an hour at a reasonable pace. The route has a number of points of interest along the way including an obelisk, an old granite quarry and even a pyramid! The area is a haven for birds so ‘twitchers’ will enjoy this experience.

Starting at the Killiney Hill Car Park, walk through a small woodland and begin your ascent to the peak. Your rewards are the sweeping coastal views and if the weather is kind, you can see from the Wicklow Mountains, across the Irish Sea and sometimes the peaks of neighbouring Wales!


Queen Maeve Trail, Knocknarea, County Sligo

This incredible location is believed to be the final resting place of the Warrior Queen Maeve of Connacht, a major part of Irish Mythology.

While the climb to the viewpoint may be suitable for all levels, it is still 275 metres (almost a mile) high above sea level. This walk has three starting points, Knocknarea Car Park, Rathcarrick and Strandhill.

In a place where folklore and history entwine, walk through the remnants of the Megalithic Era and Bronze Age, as well as stone cottages. Immerse yourself in lush forests, before re-emerging to walk the bog bridge and wooden steps to the top where you stand before the imposing Cairn, said to contain the remains of the Warrior Queen, interred standing and ready for battle.

The true prize however, is the ability to see across to Benbulben, the ocean vistas and on a good day, as far as the Cliffs of Slieve League!


Howth Cliff Path Loop, North County Dublin

This stunning 6km (under 4 miles) cliff top walk begins at Howth Railway Station in the heart of the pretty coastal village of Howth for those with moderate fitness or at the Howth Summit Carpark for an easier walk. The loop starts with walking alongside the picture postcard harbour, before you begin your ascent up to around 130m (just over 425 feet).

Enjoy views of the conservation island of Ireland’s Eye, the Martello tower and Lighthouse as well as the splendour of the rugged Irish Sea and the ships coming into Dublin port. See some of the hidden beaches, coves and a plethora of birds and other wildlife. Flora and fauna including heather and bracken just add to this charming walk. Just be mindful of uneven ground and stay back from the edge of the cliffs! On your ascent, the village has fabulous choices of restaurants, cafes, bars and traditional pubs to relax and take refreshment.


The Green Road, Glendalough, County Wicklow

Glendalough is a spectacular glaciated valley with tranquil lakes, mountain panoramas and an ancient monastic settlement at its heart – the monastery of St. Kevin. The Monastic City contains an iconic round tower, St Mary’s Church, a 12th century priest’s house, a 7th century giant granite cross and the nave and sacristy of the 12th century cathedral.

The Green Road takes you 3km (2 miles) across the valley and Lower Lake. Encounter ancient oak woodlands, a charming boardwalk across wetlands filled with plant life and of course, stunning views.

Begin by parking at the Upper Lake Car Park as you take your minimum 1-hour amble. This hike is great for families and do take longer to relax and admire the scenery and take amazing photos. Pass through the monastery ruins, along the edge of the lake and base of the Derrybawn Mountain as you return to the carpark.


Gougane Barra Forest Park, West County Cork

The entire park covers some 340 acres, nestled into the Sheehy Mountains. Rugged mountainous terrain, enchanting pine forests and sweeping views across the lake and the origins of Cork’s River Lee. An islet on the edge of the lake is the site of the monastery founded by St. Finbarr, patron saint of Cork.

This really is a location for all seasons, with six trails – five of which are moderate/easy to follow. These trails will take from 1 to 2 hours and you will encounter a wide variety of vegetation, birds and other wildlife. The small church on the island in the lake is a photographic beauty, so make the most of it!


Lough Avalla Farm Purple Loop, the Burren, County Clare

A private farmer opened his farm to the public for this trail so they could share in his love for the diverse nature of the area and the stunning landscapes! Park at Gortlecka Crossroads for a 6km (4 miles) few hours of really getting back to nature.

A moderate trail, traverse farm lanes, through woodland and rocky ground. The higher ground gives way to incredible views across the limestone wonderland and indigenous flora and fauna. As it is a farm, enjoy sheep, cows and goats, grazing peacefully on the surrounding pastureland.

Towards the end of your hike, refreshment beckons in the form of the Lough Avalla Tea House with homemade cakes, tea and coffee.

Of course, The Burren has many other trails with different levels of ease and distance, with information on all of them available at the Burren Centre.


Dursey Island Loop, Beara Peninsula, County Cork

This hike starts with a Cable Car ride! Dursey Island is reached by crossing the Dursey Sound by cable car (cash payment only) and you could find yourself sharing with a sheep! After an 8-minute adventure, you will find yourself at the start of the 11km (just under 7 miles) Dursey Island Loop and we suggest the low road for ease. The full loop will take around 4 hours and we recommend going on a dry day!

Meander a mix of inclines and level paths and see incredible ocean vistas as you pass by historical landmarks, a sea edge cemetery, and monastic settlement ruins. As you admire the views of the Beara Peninsula, Iveragh Peninsula and Skellig Islands, you may also get to enjoy whales and sharks in the water and rare birds and wildlife on land!

Patchwork fields, stone walls and the remains of controlled gorse burning are all indicative of the farm life on Dursey Island. There are no shops on the island so do remember to bring food and drinks!


The Hill of Tara Walk, County Meath

The shortest of our routes, the loop is just under 1.3km (less than a mile. It will take around half an hour non-stop and starts from the car park. We recommend however, spending time immersing yourself in the folklore, history and landscape of this ancient and sacred site.

The Hill of Tara is the coronation place of the High Kings of Ireland, with strong Pagan links and connections to St. Patrick. As well as a passage tomb, old church and graveyard, The Hill of Tara is famous for the Stone of Destiny, Lia Fáil – the coronation stone of the High Kings and treasure of the ancient race, the Tuatha Dé Danann.

The quaint shops and café are a fabulous bonus to finish your walk!


Regardless of your chosen path, there are a few simple rules to follow for a safe and enjoyable hike. Wear layers, waterproof outerwear and sturdy footwear. Take a mobile phone, SPF, drinks and small snacks are important. Also, remember to let people know you are off on a hike and leave no trace to protect our stunning landscape.

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