The Best Coastal Walks in Ireland

The Best Coastal Walks in Ireland

In Ireland we are so fortunate to have an abundance of stunning coastal walks to explore and enjoy on our doorstep. With longer, brighter and (fingers crossed) sunnier days in our reach, we hope that the below list will inspire your next adventure! 

1. Gobbins Path

Location: Antrim | Distance: 5 km / 3 miles

Set in Antrim Northern Ireland this is a very unique experience. Originally a path along the cliff face, this “path” follows the Gobbins cliff faces across an array of tunnels, bridges, stairs, cliff walks, and narrow paths. Created in 1902 by a railway engineer, the walk takes in caves, cliffs, sea-stacks, natural aquariums, and islands. Reopened in 2014-15 with a series of new bridges and cliffside gallery structure, you can book a guided walk for £20 each (booking in advance advised) suitable for all ages and all fitness levels. 

2. Tramore, Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal

Location: Donegal | Distance : 4km (There and back)

Also known locally as the “secret beach”, this location is as beautiful as it’s secluded. Accessible only by foot, you have to trek across large sand dunes to reach it. Start from the carpark across the bridge by Horn Head and follow the path through the wooded area to reach the start of this 2km hike over sand dunes to explore and enjoy this beach. Trust us it’s worth it!

3. The Cliffs of Moher Loop

Location: Clare | Distance: 5 km / 3 miles one way to the visitor centre (return 10km /6 miles)

The Cliffs of Moher is probably Ireland’s most iconic landmark. But the best way to visit these dramatic cliffs is via a breathtaking coastal walk.

Start in Liscannor at the signal tower and walk along the cliffs to the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre. From there, you can continue the full length to Doolin village, known for its colourful facades and cheery pubs, or simply head back along the cliffs.

This is a linear walk and so you can either turn back and return on foot or alternatively, take a local taxi back to the start. Either way, you can enjoy the stunning views along much more remote stretches of the Cliffs of Moher. 

This walk is relatively flat and manageable for all fitness levels.

4. Ardmore Cliff Walk

Location: Waterford | Distance: 4km

This is a unique 4km walk with beautiful seascapes, historical landmarks, breathtaking views and wildlife. It should take you around an hour to complete.

Follow the yellow arrow on the brown background to stay on track. From the village, head up past the Cliff House Hotel to go around Ardmore Head and Ram Head. This walk brings you on cliff-top paths and the laneways of St Declan’s Well. Continue towards the Ardmore Head, passing the old coastguard station on your right (now a private residence) and soak up the amazing views.

The most iconic part of this walk is the shipwreck known as Sampson, which has been stranded along this coastline after a storm in 1988. The landscape is covered with a variety of flora, fauna, and birdlife and some of the best stunning coastal scenery you’ll see along Ireland’s Ancient East.


5. Bray to Greystones Cliff Walk 

Location: Wicklow | Distance: 5km / 3 miles with a possible 7km / 4 mile extension.

This is arguably one of the most popular and well known cliff walks on the east coast, stretching  from Greystones to Bray Head. It offers a little bit more of a challenge and some really lovely elevated views. 

There are two options:

  1. A path leading to the top of Bray Head with stunning views of the Irish Sea, the Wicklow Mountains National Park and of course the seaside town of Bray. This section is 7km long, though do keep in mind that landslides can occasionally cause parts of the cliff walk to close. Learn more here.
  2. Taking the lower path, this linear walk takes you from Bray to Greystones along the stunning coastal path. The path is well maintained and you can return by rail (DART) to the start point. Greystones has plenty to offer by way of eateries and cafes after beautiful views and a range of marine wildlife.  

Both options provide a very enjoyable walk in a spectacular coastal setting linking Bray and Greystones. It is a bit rough in places, with a steep climb at the Bray end but very manageable for all ages and fitness levels. 


6. Howth Head Loop 

Location: Dublin | Distance: 6-10 km / 3-6 miles (looped or out & back linear options) | Fitness Level: Moderate

There’s actually a few ways to do this walk with many different routes depending on your preference. To do the full loop starting and ending in Howth it takes about 2.5hrs. Try to head out in the morning as it gets very popular with tourists, particularly at the weekends and can cause bottlenecks along the narrow paths.

The Howth Cliff Path Loop Walk starts at the DART (train) station in Howth village and follows the green arrows passing the harbour and then along the cliff path as you climb to ‘The Summit’. Returning here along a path parallel to the outward route is a 6km loop walk but you can extend the walk to a 10km loop by heading towards the Lighthouse and returning on well-worn paths with spectacular views along the entire walk including the nearby Lambay Island and Ireland’s Eye as well as Dublin Bay. Some of the path is quite stony and rough so good footwear is advised. There are some pretty steep inclines in parts of the route so a moderate level of fitness is required for this walk.

7. Dingle Lighthouse Trail

Location: Dingle | Distance: 8.2km

This lovely walk takes you out to the Dingle lighthouse and keepers' cottage. The trail is flat the majority of the way and is suitable for the whole family. The trail will take you along the Dingle coast through fields with breathtaking pastoral views of grazing cows and sheep. Along the way, you will pass a castle known as Hussey's Folly, built in the year 1845 during the famine. Before you reach the lighthouse, you will pass a laneway down to the beautiful beach Sláidín. Make sure to stop for a swim if the weather permits. The route extends past the lighthouse and takes you along the cliffs providing incredible views of Dingle Bay on a clear day. Please proceed towards the cliff walk with caution if doing so with young children.

Tag us on your adventures @outwestireland if you get a chance to do any of these fab walks!


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