Republic of Ireland
Ireland is often referred to as the “Emerald Isle” because of its lush, green landscape. Naturally, landscape like that makes it an attractive proposition for walkers. However, the verdant countryside; the picturesque valleys, hills and mountain ranges and the awesome coastlines, are just a few pieces of the puzzle. There are a whole lot of other pieces which, when put together, show the sparkling nature of the Emerald Isle.
Walking in Ireland allows travellers to immerse themselves in the country’s rich history and culture. The world knows well that the Irish have always been passionate advocates for their country and its people. As a walking traveller, moving slowly through treasured regions that feature in popular culture and remembered history, it’s impossible not to experience that. The Irish are renowned for their hospitality and for walkers, whose presence shows their interest, the personal contact is always a highlight.
There are 43 designated “National Waymarked Trails” in Ireland. In the lowlands, these trails follow woodland paths, fields, riverbanks and quiet country roads. In the uplands, these trails follow forestry tracks and mountain paths. As explained below, Ireland’s trails follow roads to a greater extent than in the United Kingdom. It’s always worth looking at the amount of road walking a trail involves before embarking on it.
Unlike in the United Kingdom, there are no legally prescribed rights of way in Ireland. So, where a walking trail needs access to private land for the best route, agreement between the local authority and the landowner must be obtained. Where no agreement is reached, this can result in some tracks having substantial sections on public roads. Constant work is being done on developing sustainable recreational trails in Ireland with the aim that trails will follow roads for less than 10% of their length and that appropriate support services will be available.
For ease of reference, we’ve split Ireland into its eastern and western halves. Click on the button below for information on walking in that half of the country