Waymarked Trails and Other Places to Walk

Glendalough boardwalk and valley Below

For walkers who want to walk for recreation or health but who do not feel strong enough or skilled enough for hill-walking there are other possibilities:

There are waymarked trails of all kinds. These are paths which are marked with direction arrows. They pass through forests, along rivers and canal banks, beaches, through farmland, bogland and over small hills, and are rarely far from a road. They are provided with stiles, gates and bridges wherever necessary. They come in all lengths from a few kilometres up to six-day walks, but even the longer walks can easily be split into one day or half-day walks. Many of the trails have sub-trails, options that are circular and bring the walker back to the start. These are generally half-day walks. Most of the trails have their own map/guide which not only shows you the route but also gives a lot of information about the environment, the history and local custom as well as practical information about restaurants and pubs, accommodation of all standards and public transport.

Many waymarked trails in the Republic, including all the multi-day trails, are monitored by the National Waymarked Ways Advisory Committee(*) of the Irish Sports Council; its website is most informative. If a trail is on the website then it will have been inspected and found to be safe. NWWAC is currently expanding its remit to include all the best short waymarked trails in the Republic, and these will appear on its website as soon as they are monitored. There will of course remain short walks which are outside NWWAC's remit and walkers should enquire locally about these.

Of course there are also possibilities for walks in parks, river and canal banks; nearly everyone in Ireland should be able to find a pleasant walk within easy reach.

In Northern Ireland the Countryside Activities and Access Network (CAAN)(*) has recently set up a series of new waymarked trails, mostly of one day duration and there are still open sections of the old Ulster Way. Otherwise, information about the many shorter trails must be sought locally.

A very recent arrival in Ireland, Greenways are common in Continental Europe. They can best be described as trails which are suited to all non-motorised traffic, from roller-bladers, through walkers to cyclists. None are yet open in Ireland, but a couple are in preparation, including the major Beara-Breifni Greenway following the route of O'Sullivan Beare after the Battle of Kinsale from Beara to Leitrim.


National Waymarked Ways Advisory Committee: www.walkireland.ie
Greenways: www.heritagecouncil.ie/projects/project7.html
CAAN: www.countrysiderecreation.com

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