Local hiking guide Michelle Hughes shares her favourite places in western Ireland: Top 5 Long Walks.
The western Irish hills (or should I say mountains) offer two special qualities seldom found elsewhere in Europe. Firstly, they are empty. The walker can spend a day crossing them in solitude, without meeting another person with many ways still unmarked with trails. Secondly, they offer a wonderfully integrated scenery of peaks, lakes and seashore unequalled in most of Europe (excepting perhaps the spectacular landscapes found in Norway and Scotland). As a hiking guide, I’ve collated my five favourite walks in the west of Ireland between Kerry and Donegal on the Wild Atlantic Way.
I have to admit it was difficult to keep it short and just choose five because there are so many. So my criteria was based on the walks I personally like when out for a good days walk, but the truth be told I could easily pick 5 others if I was walking with family and friends who were not perhaps as fit. So I guess I will have to do another five at some stage which are equally as beautiful but not as long. So here goes, four of the walks are not for the faint hearted as they are long and committing walks which require guides for no track markers are to be seen on these mountains.
One is well marked and shorter but spectacular. I have given each place three names… To be sure, to be sure, to be sure. No, not really. The first is what they are called on the maps. The second is the Irish name and it’s meaning.