Rachel’s top 10 Irish trail running and hiking routes
Rachel’s Irish Adventures offers customised hiking and trail running experiences on the most mind-blowingly stunning coastal trails along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and Ancient East.
We know the best locations in Ireland to get off the beaten-track, get out in the nature and explore the rugged coastline and the hidden valleys.
There are so many beautiful trails to choose from in Ireland and we cater for all fitness levels and take it at your pace.
1. Carrowteige, Co. Mayo
Distance: 18km looped coastal trail
This is possibly my personal favourite place to go trail running along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Carrowteige is a peninsula located in the Gaeltacht region in the northwest of county Mayo. It’s sheep line rugged coastline, variety of terrain, beautiful golden beaches and pure tranquillity takes me into another world.
2. Slieve League, Co. Donegal
Distance: 3km pilgrim path out and back
This hidden gem has not yet been put on the tourist radar and it’s massive dramatic cliffs are nearly 3 times higher than the Cliffs of Moher.
It’s for good reason that the National Geographic named Donegal as the coolest place on the planet!
3. Keem Bay, Achill Island, Co. Mayo
Distance : 7km circular hike
If you are looking for a challenging hike with a 360 spectacular scenery over Ireland’s highest sea cliffs, then this is for you !
The reward at the end is a dip in the sea and an ice-cream while chilling out on the golden sandy beach also shared with the sheep.
4. Clare Island, Co. Mayo
Distance: 12km coastal loop
I really feel at home on Clare Island. Once I get on that ferry at Roonagh Pier, I know I’m about to escape onto a magical island.
This island is a paradise for those that love the outdoors and just enjoying nature at its best.
There are so many trails to choose from and if you are like me, you will just create your own and leave the watch at home.
It’s highest point is Knockmore at 462 metres and the island measures around 7km west to east and a maximum of 4km north to south.
5. Knocknarea, Co. Sligo
Distance: 4.5 km up and down
I just love to bring groups to hike up this 300 million year old limestone mountain and enjoy the stunning views over Strandhill onto Donegal.
At the summit lies one of Ireland’s most impressive unexcavated passage tombs which was an important ritual focal point since Neolithic times. It is also said to be the burial grounds of the legendary Queen Maeve.
6. Nephin Mountain, Co. Mayo
Distance: 7km, 806 metres
Nephin Mountain Trail is my local mountain and I’ve grown up looking at it every day from our Bed & Breakfast as it provides the perfect backdrop over Ballina town.
This is the second highest mountain in Connacht and is the ideal adventure if you are looking for an open mountain challenging hike.
There are several ways to approach the mountain and as of yet there are no marked trails so unless you are good with a compass and map, you need a guide.
The views over the many lakes, the islands and as far as Donegal are just breath-taking.
7. Inishturk Island, Co. Mayo
Distance: 8km coastal off road loop
Get ready to be blown away by the stunning rugged cliff lined coast and amazing local welcome.
Inishturk is 15 km off the West Coast of Ireland, it’s 5km x.5km and there are currently 51 inhabitants living on this treasure island.
This island is a heaven for the great outdoors and ideal for a full day of hiking and exploring but I always recommend to stay the night so you can go to the local community pub, mingle with the locals, listen to traditional music and hear the stories and legends that have been passed down through the generations.
8. Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo
Distance: 6km, 764 metres
If you are coming to Ireland on a hiking trip and you want to tick the ultimate box, then you have just got to summit Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holy mountain.
It’s a challenging climb but wait until you see the view from the top!
The church at the summit lies at 764 metres and the panoramic view over the 365 islands of Clew Bay are something you need to experience!
9. Glendalough Spinc Trail, Co. Wicklow
Glendalough is within close driving range of Dublin and attracts thousands of locals and visitors to take advantage of it’s well maintained walking trails and enjoy the beauty that comes with it.
The Spinc Trail is 9km long and takes you on an adventure through a wooded area, up 600 wooden steps and you are rewarded my magnificent views over the upper lake.
The loop continues accenting over Poulanass Waterfall and back into Glendalough Valley and finishing up at stone ruins of a monastic settlement originally built in the 6th century by St. Kevin.
10. The Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland
The Giant’s Causeway certainly does attract a huge number of tourists but this route will get you off the beaten track and approach the famous Giant’s Causeway from a non-traditional approach.
Starting off at the spectacular Carrick-a-Reade Ropes, follow the stunning coastline towards the idyllic setting of Ballintoy Harbour where Games of Thrones scenes have been filmed. You’ll then pass the golden sandy beaches of White Park Beach before passing a series of rocky bays to Dunseverick Harbour.
The views are postcard perfect, you will then descend the steps to the waters edge to experience the hexagonal basalt formations down to that make the Giant’s Causeway, Ireland’s first World Heritage Site.
Rachel’s Irish Adventures creates tailored-made holidays of a lifetime. You can expect to discover spectacular off the beaten track scenery along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, breath-taking hiking trails, stunning and wild cycling routes and all with the perfect mixture of being active and soaking in the local atmosphere and guaranteed Irish welcome.
We pride ourselves on providing exceptionally locally sourced artisan food and look forward to inviting you into our lifestyle to share our passions and culture.
To create your Irish adventure of a lifetime, contact us at: email@example.com