Explore the best birding trails in Ireland with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
My wife and I went to Ireland just for this trail. We were able to complete it in 7 days, staying at B&Bs each night along the way. We took the path from South to North, however, starting our trek in Clonegal and ending at Marlay Park in Dublin. I am glad we took this direction, as it made the trail get more interesting the farther we got in. The southern section of the trail is mostly farm land with trails through pine woods. There are quite a few stretches where we were walking on roads with cars periodically whizzing past us. In my opinion, this was the best way to experience a new country; walking through it. The countryside is gorgeous, as are the wooded areas. We did not see too many other walkers until we got near Glendalough, so that was nice as well. I do think I assumed it was going to be easier than it was. Some of the uphill stretches are much more steep than some of the mountain hikes near Los Angeles. Also, we carried all of our items in our packs, and if I could do it over again, I would have brought less clothing. I would have brought maybe 2 outfits of athletic materials that I could wash in the sink and dry overnight. My pack was about 30lb, and after 12-13 miles each day, it got pretty cumbersome.
My favorite hiking partner (my wife) and I hiked to the highest point in Ireland in June of 2009 on a clear blue sunny day. The mountain is quite impressive as you approach it, and it appears to be very steep. We hiked up between the two lakes below it and ascended the infamous Devils Ladder. This is a steep chute filled with talus and boulders the whole way. You have to pick your way through as there is no real trail in this section. It took us almost an hour to go up this short pitch. Kinda sketchy in a few places. Once at the top of the ladder, it is wide open to the top. We arrived on top after about 2 1/2 hours of hiking. It is pretty steep, but you are not fighting high elevation here. The views are endless up there. You can see both the Kenmare and the Dingle Bays on the ocean, and countless lakes all over the Killarney area. There is a huge cross on top with a couple of memorials for some hikers. We had the place to ourselves too ,which made it nice. After about a half hour or more on top we started down. When we got back to the top of the ladder, we decided to take a different route down from there. So we kept hiking on the ridge trail from there, and that goes back down to the main trail avoiding the ladder. Really nice along this ridge top. It was steep going down the switches here, but beat going down the boulders. We got back to the main trail and then it was just back to the car from there. Beautiful hike on a gorgeous day. If ever there, it's a great way to spend a day. We rolled into the corner pub on our way back to our B&B for a few celebratory pints. Great way to end the day!!! Would do it again for sure.
The first part of this hike is pretty easy, walking through the country side and in between the beautiful lakes. The devil's ladder portion, however, is the toughest hike I've done! The views on both portions are breathtaking I would highly recommend it.