Trip created by Patricia Doe
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The perfect trip for hiking enthusiasts looking to explore multiple regions, Hiking Ireland’s National Parks is an epic adventure that summits the highest point in three corners of Ireland, exploring three of Ireland’s most amazing national parks.
Ancient monasteries, hidden glens, rugged bogs, and cosy pubs await you on this hiking journey across three of Ireland’s most spectacular regions for outdoor lovers. You’ll summit the highest mountain of Ireland, as well as the highest peak in each corner of Ireland – and you’ll also visit three of Ireland’s six national parks: the Wicklow Mountains National Park, Connemara National Park and Killarney National Park. Along the way, we’ll have ample opportunity to taste some of Ireland’s delicious seafood, rub shoulders with locals in quaint pubs, and learn about the fascinating history of three of Ireland’s most iconic regions.
On this trip, you’ll get the chance to hike some of Ireland’s most iconic landscapes as well as striking off into the backcountry with your experienced mountain guide. Designed for hikers who love peak-bagging, mountaintop vistas, national parks and challenging hikes, this is the perfect way to explore a wide variety of Ireland’s wild landscapes in Wicklow, Kerry and Connemara.
From the cosmopolitan centre of Dublin, we start our national parks hiking adventure by heading into the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Full of emerald hills topped with purple heather and framed by lush forests, Wicklow is a special place. A 6th century monk known as Saint Kevin came here seeking solace and contemplation. Stumbling across the idyllic surroundings of Glendalough, St Kevin was inspired to found Glendalogh, which became one of Ireland’s greatest monasteries. Today’s hike explores the quiet hills beyond Glendalough’s ancient monastic centre following the Glenealo River through a stunning glaciated valley. (L,D)
Hike details: 9km/ 4 miles, 4 hrs.*
Our goal for today is reaching the summit of Lugnaquilla Mountain. The highest peak in the Wicklow Mountains – one of Ireland’s six national parks – as well as in the entire province of Leinster, majestic Lugnaquilla proudly overlooks the glittering green valley of Glenmalure. We follow an exceptionally scenic route to the top of Lugnaquilla via a cliff-fringed hanging valley to arrive at the plateau summit named after a 17th century local character. (B,L)
Hike details: 17km/ 10 miles, 8 hrs.*
This morning we hit the road westwards towards Connemara, where Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way coast beckons. Famous Irish playwright and wit Oscar Wilde once described the region as a ‘savage beauty.’ It’s easy to see why as the gentle green fields of Ireland’s interior give way to the rugged west coast. It’s time to put our boots to test this afternoon on our hike into the rugged beauty of Connemara National Park. Characterised by glittering quartzite rocks and boggy slopes, Connemara’s peaks contrast sharply with the gentler Wicklow Mountains. (B,L)
Hike details: 8-10km/ 5-7 miles, 4-5 hrs.*
Mweelrea, the highest mountain in the west of Ireland, is best known for its breathtaking panoramic views. The distance is relatively short but the terrain is challenging and the summit is hard-earned but well worth it. The south falls steeply to the waters of Killary Harbour, Ireland’s largest fjord. To the east stretches the sprawling Sheffry Hills and the mountain Ben Gorm, and to the west lie the white sandy Atlantic shores. (B,L)
Hike details: 13km/ 8.5 miles, 7 hrs.*
Leaving behind the remote mountains of Connemara, we head southwards to the Kingdom of Kerry. In the afternoon, you’ll discover the lush green valleys and wild hills of Killarney National Park, Ireland’s first established national park. Away from the more popular parts of the park, instead our hike heads up into the quiet hills where a fantastic view of the Magillycuddy’s Reeks Mountains spreads out before us – our first glimpse of tomorrow’s challenge. (B,L)
Hike details: 6.5km/ 4 miles, 3 hrs.
Carrantuohil is Ireland’s highest peak and the jewel in the crown of our high points hiking tour. At 1,040m, its jagged summit presents an enticing challenge for today! There are many paths to the summit: the cliff-sides of O’Shea’s Gully or the aptly named Devil’s Ladder are just two options. As we hike, we’ll take time to admire the wildflowers, spot raptors soaring on the mountain thermals and keep a lookout for Irish mountain hares. This evening, we’ll celebrate our high points hiking trip accomplishments with a traditional Irish music session in one of the great local pubs in lively downtown Killarney. (B,L,D)
Hike details: 12 km/ 7.5 miles, 7hrs.*
Explore the colourful and bustling centre of Killarney for a bit of last-minute souvenir shopping. Prefer to stay in the beautiful woodlands? With your guide stretch your legs on a gentle and picturesque walk along the lakes and quiet paths of Killarney National Park before returning to Killarney train station in time for the train back to Dublin. (B)
Hike details: 5km/ 3 miles, 1-2 hrs.*
*This itinerary is subject to changes and improvements. All hiking times are approximate.
On your high points adventure, our trip designers have hand-picked 3 accommodations that are each recognised for their cosiness, charm and comfort each night. This trip features accommodations chosen for their excellent location, service and comfort. All accommodations provide breakfast.
We do not charge single person supplements to people booking on their own. However, you will be expected to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you specifically require a single room you will have to pay the single supplement charge of €250 but this is subject to availability.
Most meals are included in the price of this trip with the exception of dinner on one night. Breakfast is provided each morning, as well as lunch and snacks throughout the trip. Dinner is provided the first and last night. Other evenings, can dine where you choose u2013 your guide can help you by making recommendations and reservations. Local pubs and restaurants offer a wide choice of local dishes.
On this trip, we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations.
You will be met by your Wilderness Ireland Guide at Dublin Heuston Train Station at 11.00am on Day 1 of your trip. You will be dropped off at Killarney Train Station by 12.00pm on the last day of your trip. For full details on how to get to Galway, please see our Travel to Ireland section here.
|Trip Dates for 2021||Availability||Status||Price||Book|
|8th May - 14th May 2021||7 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||€1,695||Book Now|
|18th Sep - 24th Sep 2021||8 place(s) left||UNCONFIRMED||€1,695||Book Now|
Sometimes it's nice to get family and friends together and travel privately for some quality time. This means you benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides and we'll take care of it all. Then you can make your choice of departures dates and we'll get back to you to finalise the details.
An avid cyclist and hiker, Patricia enjoys exploring Ireland’s wild landscapes every chance she gets – she particularly loves the under-appreciated regions of Mayo, Connemara, Sligo and Donegal. Having spent nearly a decade in the hospitality industry, Patricia is an expert on Ireland’s luxury and unique accommodations. As Wilderness Ireland’s General Manager and head of the sales team, Patricia is ready to help make your Irish adventure spectacular!
- Patricia DoeAsk Patricia a Question
Our hiking trips range from very straightforward low-level hikes to trips that include more challenging itineraries which will take you to a new mountain top each day.
Our blue-graded trips involve exploring some of Ireland’s best hiking regions, introducing some steeper climbs to summits as well as valley and coastal hikes. The hike will be conducted at a steady pace and you will typically hike 5-7 hours per day. The terrain underfoot can be anything from well maintained hiker’s trails to rough or boggy ground, boulder fields and mountain tops.
The daily hikes will occasionally involve a mountain ascent of over 3000ft / 900m high. More challenging days are interspersed with lower level valley, coastal or forest walks which would include some cultural highlights along the way.
Can you comfortably hike for around 10 miles (16km) with the occasional longer day? Are you happy with some ascents of 3,000ft / 900m? Are you comfortable on a variety of terrain from good paths to rough mountain tracks?
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