Hill Walking Routes

Where to Walk?

Here is a round Ireland tour, clockwise from Dublin. The rounded granite mountains of Wicklow, with great ice-cut valleys like Glendalough and Glenmalure offer excellent walking within easy reach of Dublin. The sandstone mountains of the South-east, the Comeragh, Knockmealdown and Galty Mountains offer plenty of scope for long and short walks. The sandstone Cork and Kerry Mountains, include Carrauntoohil, at 1,039 metres the highest mountain in Ireland. These are rough, rugged mountains, much cut up during the Ice Age, and offering what many consider the most exciting hill walking in the country.

Galway offers the bare white quartzite peaks and steep-sided valleys of the Twelve Bens and Maum Turks, and moving north into Mayo there are plenty more wild lonely sandstone hills to visit. Sligo and Leitrim have the only limestone mountains in Ireland, notable for steep rocky sides, and good grassy summits - very little bog!

Donegal has perhaps our wildest mountains, all kinds of mountains, all kinds of rock, just the place for the adventurous walker. Across in Northern Ireland we find the Sperrins, a long ridge of rounded tops, reminiscent of Wicklow, but without its splendid ice-cut coums. Lastly there are the Moune Mountains, Belfast's lung, young granite mountains, not worn down like the Wicklows, and offering wonderful walking on the long horseshoe ridges.

There are many guidebooks to the walks in all these areas - you will find them in the bookshops, locally or in the main towns. It is important to check that they are published recently, there are often changes (not in the hills!) but in the approaches from the public road. Also please remember that because a walk is shown in a guidebook, that does not make the walk a right-of-way, and you are often on private property. You will also find many good ideas for walks on the website Hill-walking in Ireland(*).

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