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12 of the best hikes in Ireland

A hiker with a backpack and hiking poles follows a trail through a mountainous region of Ireland

Hiking in Ireland means magnificent coastal cliffs, rewarding family-friendly walks and a variety of terrain and scenery that’ll leave you in awe of the beautiful Emerald Isle.

The country has so much to offer in terms of natural beauty, and seeing it on foot is one of the best ways to experience it. Ascend steep rocky paths, jump in the ocean right after, and sit in a local cafe to analyze the peaks and pits of the trail you just conquered. Here are 12 of Ireland’s best hiking routes.

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1. The Great Sugar Loaf, County Wicklow

A great walk for the entire family
2.5km (1.5 miles) out and back, 1–1.5 hours, easy

One of Ireland’s most recognizable hikes, the Great Sugar Loaf gets its name from resembling a giant pile of sugar. This short walk includes a steep scramble to the summit that makes the panoramic views from the peak that little bit more rewarding.

If you happen to hike the Great Sugar Loaf on an exceptionally clear day you can see all the way across the Irish Sea to Snowdonia in Wales. Pretty impressive for a mountain that stands at only 501m (1643ft) tall.

Carrauntoohil is part of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range © Semmick Photo / Shutterstock

2. Carrauntoohill, County Kerry

The highest peak in Ireland
13km (8 miles) out and back, 4–5 hours, hard

The route you will most likely take to reach the highest point in Ireland is known as “the Devil’s Ladder” and it is no joke. As the name suggests this trail is challenging, steep and dangerous. Be aware of the difficulty and potential falling rocks from above before embarking on this hike.

If you’re not 100% confident in taking on this hike but still want to reach the top of Ireland, then you should contact a local guide. There are plenty in the area and are a good idea to help you safely reach the summit.

3. Mweelrea, County Mayo

Connacht’s highest mountain
10.5km (6.5 miles) out and back, 3.5–4.5 hours, hard

Offering up incredible views of the surrounding mountains, Mweelrea is a hike you can’t miss if you’re traveling along the Wild Atlantic Way. The highest mountain in the province of Connacht, standing at 814m (2671ft), has many different routes to the top that vary in difficulty and views.

For many, the best route to take starts and ends at Silverstrand beach. Not only do you get constant coastal views on the trail, but you can also hop straight into the sea to…

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