By Leigh Maher
Experiencing Ireland on foot can be one of the best ways to take advantage of everything the Emerald Isle has to offer: from historic landmarks and natural wonders, to friendly villages and gorgeous landscapes.
If you’re interested in doing a walking tour of Ireland, you will enjoy reading our quick guide to the best routes and locations. We’ve also added in some helpful tips about fitness and packing the right stuff for your holiday in this charming and unique country!
Walking Ireland – What You Need To Know
Ireland is subject to occasional rains and abrupt changes in weather: you’ll need to ensure you pack appropriate gear for your walking tour! Your knapsack should always contain excellent rain gear, layers for warmth, and lots of protein bars and fluids. You should consider a portable GPS system if you’re prone to getting lost, and plan on exploring without joining a guided tour (and there are many excellent guided tours of the region available to visitors). In lieu of GPS, a good map or guidebook will help you stay oriented.
Of course, you should never travel in this scenic region without packing a camera and video recorder: a cell phone, flashlight, and medical travel insurance should also be high on your list when you prepare for your walking tour. Identification papers and a secure, discreet carrying case for important documents and money and credit cards is always a good idea.
Gauging your fitness level is important before you select a route. The amount of exercise you do on a daily basis at home is a good guideline to use. If you’re used to working out daily, you’ll have more stamina and enjoy your walking tour a lot more. If you need to work on fitness, you should plan a gentle itinerary that offers plenty of rest stops and time to recharge your batteries. There are many ways to walk Ireland, and people of all shapes and sizes can find the route that is perfect for their own fitness level.
Where To Go
Kerry Way –
The Kerry Way walking tour is one of Ireland’s most popular routes. When you opt for this destination, you are able to take in all the pleasures and beauty of County Kerry on foot. Highlights of this popular walking tour include Killarney National Park, beautiful Dingle Bay, and the pubs and markets of Kerry and Caherciveen.
Generally, this walking tour is done over a period of ten or eleven days. Nights are spent at B&B’s or small hotels that cater to tourists on foot. Spending each day exploring this part of West Ireland can be even more fun when you know your evenings will be spent in warm friendly pubs and restaurants. Many tour operators feature guided tours of Kerry Way, or you can go your own way and walk with your fellow travelers.
The Burren –
Located in picturesque County Clare, the Burren is a distinctive flatland, covered in stones that evoke otherworldly images of barren moonscapes.
Although the Burren seems harsh and forbidding, it actually is the home to all manner of rare flowers, sea birds, and other wonderful surprises. Walking tours of this area can be a very fulfilling way to experience this fascinating, world-renowned natural wonder. Many walking tours of the region also include tours of the nearby Aran Islands.
You can opt for a tour with an Irish guide who really understands the historical significance of the region and landmarks, so that you really learn about what you are seeing. It’s also possible to customize your trip according to your schedule and fitness level. Four-day walking tours of County Clare will usually allow tourists to see all the main highlights of this stunning region.
Leigh Maher runs the online Celtic jewelry store: Irish Celtic Jewels. As well as providing some of the finest Celtic jewelry, he gives tips and information about all things Irish, including weddings, travel and culture.
© 2010 Leigh Maher