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3 Ireland Nature Trails to Try

3 Ireland Nature Trails to Try

Andrew Domerese |

Check out the natural beauty of Ireland on foot. These trail options offer something for everyone—from a family of beginners to more experienced hikers—and are located throughout the Emerald Isle.

Scalp Lookout Trail

BEST FOR: All ages and skill levels; short walks; amazing views of rock formations

You’ll find the Scalp Lookout Trail on the eastern side of Ireland in County Dublin. It is nestled in what is known as Barnaslingan—an arched rock formation. From this trail you can see into the “scalp,” a valley that was formed by a glacier thousands of years ago during the ice age. Wind your way through the pines before emerging to take in the captivating view of the valley. This is a particularly easy route for children and mature adults, as it features a walking path and is just shy of a mile in length.

Giant’s Causeway Trail

BEST FOR: Moderately difficult outings; breathing in the sea air; seeing history in nature

If you prefer a view of the sea, head to Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim for a nature trail filled with a mystifying arrangement of basalt rock pillars that were formed thousands of years ago. You can make this “trail” as long or short as you like. However, to truly see it all, you should plan to make a two-mile round trip hike from the visitor center down to what is known as the “organ,” a formation of the pillars that—you guessed it—looks like an organ. Note that this path does have some steep places where climbing or stepping up is required; the rocks can also be slippery. There is a shuttle bus from the visitor center that will take you to the start of the trail if you prefer not to walk the very steep portion from the center to the trail.

BONUS: Before you visit, read up on the legend of Finn Mac Cool that surrounds Giant’s Causeway.

Coomloughra Horseshoe Loop

BEST FOR: Experienced hikers who can spend several hours navigating the trail; amazing panoramic scenery

Views will abound if you’re up to the challenge of a longer (think 4-5 hours) and more strenuous hike. Located in County Kerry, the Coomloughra Horseshoe Loop tracks 10 miles of mountainous peaks in MacGillyCuddy’s Reeks. This is a mountain range that showcases some of Ireland’s highest peaks and delights hikers with unrivaled scenery. It even includes the highest peak, Carranuntoohil. With that being said, it’s not for novices and should not be accessed in icy or treacherous conditions.