These are lists of long-distance trails in Ireland, and include recognised and maintained walking trails, pilgrim trails, cycling greenways, boardwalk-mountain trails, and interconnected national and international trail systems. Access is noted as the greatest obstacle to developing trails as Ireland has weak supporting legislation.
There are 43 National Waymarked Trails by the National Trails Office of the Irish Sports Council. Each trail is waymarked with square black posts containing an image, in yellow, of a walking man and a directional arrow, a symbol reserved for use only by National Waymarked Trails. The oldest trail is the Wicklow Way, which was opened in 1980, and there are now over 4,000 kilometres (2,500 miles) of waymarked trails Ireland. The most frequented trails are the Wicklow, Sheep's Head, Kerry, Dingle, Beara, Burren and Western Ways. The standard of many of these trails are below international comparison, with access noted as the greatest obstacle.
In 1997, the Heritage Council, started developing a series of walking routes based on medieval pilgrimage paths, and there are now 124 kilometres (77 miles) of major penitential trails: Cnoc na dTobar, Cosán na Naomh, St. Finbarr's Pilgrim Path, Saint Kevin's Way, and Tochar Phádraig. These pilgrim trails, and seven others, are supported by Pilgrim Paths of Ireland who follow the same guidelines for developing National Waymarked Trails.
In 2017, the 46-kilometre Waterford Greenway was opened for cyclists, and many others are planned or in development. Many of the National Waymarked Trails form part of larger long-distance and transnational trails such as European walking route E8, the Beara-Breifne Way and the International Appalachian Trail.
The establishment of the Ulster Way in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, prompted the creation of the Cospóir Long Distance Walking Routes Committee (now the National Trails Advisory Committee of the Irish Sports Council) to establish a national network of long-distance trails in Ireland. The committee included An Taisce nominee, J. B. Malone who had done much to popularise walking through an Evening Herald newspaper column, television programs and books. The first trail – the Wicklow Way – was based on a series of articles Malone had written for the Evening Herald in 1966., and was opened in 1980; it was followed by the South Leinster and East Munster Ways in 1984; the Kerry Way and the Táin Way in 1985; and the Dingle and Slieve Bloom Ways in 1987.
The work of the Committee was not supported by compulsory powers, and access had to be achieved by agreement with local authorities and private landowners,  which was not usually forthcoming. Most of the trails are therefore dependent on access from by the state: Coillte, the state-owned forestry company, is the largest single manager of any of the trails with more than 30 National Waymarked Trails making use of its property. Coillte provides and maintains 52% of all off-road walking trails and 24% of the total amount of developed walking trails in Ireland. Access issues mean that many trails have substantial sections on public roads. Author John G. O'Dwyer summed up the situation of trails using long stretches on boring public roads interspersed with monotone Coillte stika spruce forests.
A 2006 National Trails Strategy, by the Irish Sports Council noted that Irish trails fell well behind international standards, and that access was "the single most important" issue. A 2010 review of the National Waymarked Trails by the Irish Sports Council restated many of these issues and made recommendations on a new standard of trail called a National Long Distance Trail (NLDT), intended to meet international standards for outstanding trails. Five trails – the Beara, Dingle, Kerry, Sheep's Head and Wicklow Ways – were recommended to be upgraded to NLDT.
|Ballyhoura Way[a]||Cork; Limerick; Tipperary||Linear||St John's Bridge||Limerick Junction||89 km (55 mi)|
|Barrow Way||Carlow; Kildare; Laois||Linear||Robertstown||St Mullin's||100 km (62 mi)|
|Bealach na Gaeltachta – Slí an Earagail||Donegal||Circular||Dunlewey||Dunlewey||77 km (48 mi)|
|Bealach na Gaeltachta – Slí Cholmcille[b]||Donegal||Circular||Ardara||Ardara||65 km (40 mi)|
|Bealach na Gaeltachta – Slí Chonamara||Galway||Closed|
|Bealach na Gaeltachta – Slí na Finne||Donegal||Circular||Fintown||Fintown||51 km (32 mi)|
|Bealach na Gaeltachta – Slí na Rosann||Donegal||Circular||Dungloe||Dungloe||65 km (40 mi)|
|Beara Way[a][c]||Cork; Kerry||Circular||Glengarriff||Glengarriff||206 km (128 mi)|
|Blackwater Way (Avondhu)[c]||Cork; Tipperary||Linear||Clogheen||Bweeng||94 km (58 mi)|
|Blackwater Way (Duhallow)[c]||Cork; Kerry||Linear||Bweeng||Shrone||67 km (42 mi)|
|Bluestack Way[b]||Donegal||Linear||Donegal||Ardara||65 km (40 mi)|
|Burren Way||Clare||Linear||Lahinch||Corofin||114 km (71 mi)|
|Cavan Way[a]||Cavan||Linear||Dowra||Blacklion||22 km (14 mi)|
|Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail||Mayo||Linear||Balla||Murrisk||61 km (38 mi)|
|Dingle Way||Kerry||Circular||Tralee||Tralee||162 km (101 mi)|
|Dublin Mountains Way||Dublin||Linear||Shankill||Tallaght||55 km (34 mi)|
|East Clare Way||Clare||Circular||Killaloe||Killaloe||180 km (110 mi)|
|East Munster Way[c]||Waterford; Tipperary||Linear||Carrick-on-Suir||Clogheen||75 km (47 mi)|
|Grand Canal Way||Dublin; Kildare; Offaly||Linear||Lucan Bridge||Shannon Harbour||117 km (73 mi)|
|Hymany Way[a]||Galway||Linear||Portumna||Aughrim||55 km (34 mi)|
|Kerry Way[c]||Kerry||Circular||Killarney||Killarney||214 km (133 mi)|
|Lough Derg Way||Limerick; Clare; Tipperary||Linear||Limerick||Dromineer||65 km (40 mi)|
|Mid Clare Way||Clare||Circular||Newmarket-on-Fergus||Newmarket-on-Fergus||148 km (92 mi)|
|Miners Way and Historical Trail[a]||Sligo; Roscommon; Leitrim||Circular||Arigna||Arigna||118 km (73 mi)|
|Monaghan Way||Monaghan||Linear||Monaghan||Inishkeen||65 km (40 mi)|
|Multeen Way[a]||Tipperary||Linear||Milestone||Tipperary Town||23 km (14 mi)|
|Nore Valley Way||Kilkenny||Linear||Kilkenny||Inistioge||34 km (21 mi)|
|North Kerry Way||Kerry||Linear||Tralee||Ballyheigue||45 km (28 mi)|
|Offaly Way||Offaly||Linear||Cadamstown||Lemanaghan||37 km (23 mi)|
|Royal Canal Way||Dublin; Kildare; Meath;
|Linear||Ashtown||Abbeyshrule||79 km (49 mi)|
|Sheep's Head Way||Cork||Circular||Bantry||Bantry||90 km (56 mi)|
|Slieve Bloom Way||Laois; Offaly||Circular||Glenbarrow||Glenbarrow||84 km (52 mi)|
|Slieve Felim Way||Limerick; Tipperary||Linear||Murroe||Silvermines||43 km (27 mi)|
|Sligo Way||Sligo||Linear||Larrigan||Dromahair||78 km (48 mi)|
|Slí Gaeltacht Mhuscraí[a]||Cork||Linear||Kealkill||Millstreet||70 km (43 mi)|
|South Leinster Way[c]||Carlow; Kilkenny; Tipperary||Linear||Kildavin||Carrick-on-Suir||104 km (65 mi)|
|Suck Valley Way[a]||Roscommon; Galway||Circular||Castlerea||Castlerea||105 km (65 mi)|
|Táin Way||Louth||Circular||Carlingford||Carlingford||40 km (25 mi)|
|Tipperary Heritage Way||Tipperary||Linear||Vee Gap||Cashel||56 km (35 mi)|
|Western Way (Galway)||Galway||Linear||Oughterard||Leenaun||55 km (34 mi)|
|Western Way (Mayo)||Mayo||Linear||Leenaun||Ballycastle||124 km (77 mi)|
|Westmeath Way||Westmeath||Linear||Kilbeggan||Mullingar||33 km (21 mi)|
|Wicklow Way[c]||Wicklow; Dublin; Carlow||Linear||Marlay Park||Clonegal||129 km (80 mi)|
Influenced by the work of the Council of Europe on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in the 1980s and 1990s, the Pilgrim Paths Project was set up by the Heritage Council as its Millennium Project in 1997. The purpose was to develop and support a network of walking routes along Irish medieval pilgrimage paths to raise awareness of natural and built heritage along these routes and to contribute to tourism and community development.
In 2013, Pilgrim Paths of Ireland (PPI) was set up as a non-denominational representative body for Ireland's medieval pilgrim paths, and represents 12 community groups supporting specific paths. PPI holds and annual National Pilgrimage Paths Week during Easter, and issues a National Pilgrimage Passport to finishers of the 5 main trails: Cnoc na dTobar, Cosán na Naomh, St. Finbarr's Pilgrim Path, Saint Kevin's Way, and Tochar Phádraig.
|Cnoc na dTobar||Kerry||Linear; Mountain||St. Fursey's Holy Well||Knocknadobar mountain||9.5 km (5.9 mi)||3.5 hours||Moderate|
|Cosán na Naomh||Kerry||Linear; Mountain||Ventry Strand||Brandon mountain||18 km (11 mi)||4–5 hours||Moderate|
|St. Finbarr's Pilgrim Path||Cork||Linear||Drimoleague||Gougane Barra||37 km (23 mi)||2 days||Strenuous|
|Saint Kevin's Way||Wicklow||Linear||Hollywood or Valleymount||Glendalough||30 km (19 mi)||7 hours||Moderate|
|Tochar Phádraig||Mayo||Linear; Mountain||Ballintubber Abbey||Croagh Patrick mountain||30 km (19 mi)||10 hours||Moderate|
The routes follow the guidelines for National Waymarked Trails, with black marker posts with a yellow pilgrim symbol; this image is based on a stone from a pilgrimage site in County Cork which depicts a pilgrim with a Celtic tonsure, wearing a tunic and carrying a staff. Beneath the symbol is a directional arrow inset with a cross of arcs, one of the main symbols of pilgrimage in Ireland.
|Great Southern Trail||Limerick; Kerry||Linear||Rathkeale||Abbeyfeale||35 km (22 mi)|
|Great Western Greenway||Mayo||Linear||Westport||Achill||42 km (26 mi)|
|Waterford Greenway||Waterford||Linear||Waterford City||Dungarvan||46 km (29 mi)|
A project has been initiated to create an 80-kilometre (50-mile) Connemara Greenway along the route of the former Galway to Clifden Midland Great Western Railway. The Dublin-Galway Greenway has also been initiated. The 280 km route is planned to be completed by 2020. Sections of the route follow the Royal Canal from Dublin, as well as the disused Mullingar-Athlone rail line. Funding has been made available for the development of a greenway on the former Tralee to Fenit railway line in County Kerry and the development of further greenways is under active consideration in other parts of the country. There is also a campaign to create a greenway on the Claremorris, County Mayo to Collooney, County Sligo section of the Western Rail Corridor.
The driver of their creation has been to protect the underlying ground (often delicate bogland) from erosion by hill-walkers, however, in most cases, the creation of the paths has also materially increased the use and popularity of the paths by the public. When the Stairway to Heaven was opened in 2015, it was estimated that visitors to Cuilcagh Mountain increased from circa 3,000 per annum, to over 60,000 per annum.
As of June 2019, there are four boarded mountain paths (also called Tóchars by the NPWS) in Ireland:
The future of boarded mountain paths and trails in Ireland was put in doubt when a climber, Teresa Wall, successfully sued the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in the Circuit Court for Euro 40,000 in 2016 for an injury sustained in on the Djouce boarded walk (she required seven stitches after tripping on the boardwalk and cutting her knee near the J.B. Malone memorial stone); however, her award was overturned in February 2017 following a High Court appeal by the NPWS, which rejected her arguments that a "trip hazard" is the same whatever the location.
Beara-Breifne Way is a walking and cycling route under development intended to run from the Beara Peninsula, Cork to Breifne, Leitrim following the line of Donal Cam O'Sullivan Beare's march in the aftermath of the Battle of Kinsale in 1602. The intended route will make use of the Beara Way; Ballyhoura Way; Suck Valley Way; Miner's Way and Historical Trail; Leitrim Way; and Cavan Way.
European walking route E8 is an international walking trail that extends from Dursey Island, County Cork to Istanbul in Turkey. In Ireland the E8 follows the Wicklow, South Leinster, East Munster and Blackwater Ways and parts of the Kerry and Beara Ways.
There is also a proposal to extend the International Appalachian Trail (IAT), an extension of the Appalachian Trail through Canada to Newfoundland, to all terrain that formed part of the Appalachian Mountains of Pangaea, including Ireland. It is proposed that the Irish leg of the IAT will make use of the Slí Colmcille and the Bluestack Way in County Donegal before joining the Ulster Way in Northern Ireland.
Nicknamed the ‘stairway to heaven,’ the boardwalk opened in 2015 with an aim of conserving pristine blanket bog and restoring damaged peatland that had been eroded by people walking through it.
This route is the most popular of nine waymarked walking trails in the Glendalough valley, and rightly so. It climbs through a forest to the top of a high cliff overlooking the Upper Lake, where the exposure and views take your breath away.
Walk 11: Torc Waterfall Circuit
The combination of rocky path and sleepers will take you all the way up the summit. So unlike other mountains in Kerry, you won’t need any navigation skills.
In a significant judgment concerning the nature of the duty of care of landowners to hillwalkers, Mr Justice Michael White found contributory negligence by Teresa Wall in relation to her fall. He rejected her arguments that a trip hazard is the same whatever the location.
Ms Wall, of Rathingle Cottages, Swords, claimed she tripped and fell after her foot snagged in a hole on a railway sleeper that was part of a boardwalk near the JB Malone memorial on the Sally Gap to Djouce trail on August 6th, 2013.
Carrauntoohil (, Irish: Corrán Tuathail, meaning "Tuathal's sickle") is the highest mountain on the island of Ireland at 1,038.6 metres (3,407 ft). Located in County Kerry, Carrauntoohil is the central peak of the MacGillycuddy's Reeks, Ireland's highest mountain range.Crone Woods
Crone Woods (or Crone Forest) is located in the northeastern section of the Wicklow Mountains, just below the summit of Maulin 570 metres (1,870 ft), in Wicklow in the Ireland. Crone Woods have an extensive network of forest trails and hikes which can be accessed from the village of Enniskerry.The woods were once part of the Powerscourt Estate with records from the 13th-century showing the area was set aside as a royal hunting ground. Use of the woods for cover during the 1798 Rebellion led to the creation of the military road through northern Wicklow Mountains with several barracks to open up the region. The forest is owned and operated by Coillte, the Irish state forestry agency.Popular parts of the trails are to Ride Rock, with views down into Powerscourt Waterfall, and the trails to the summit of Maulin.Crone Woods is an access point to the Wicklow Way, the oldest Lists of long-distance trails in the Republic of Ireland, which extends for 131 metres (430 ft) from its starting point in Marlay Park in South Dublin to Clonegal Village in County Carlow. The wood is also used by hill-walkers completing the 16-kilometre loop of Maulin, Tonduff 642 metres (2,106 ft), War Hill 686 metres (2,251 ft) and Djouce 725 metres (2,379 ft), which is sometimes called the Circuit of Glensoulan.Irish Greenways
Irish Greenways are off-road routes for walkers, cyclists and other non-motorised transport in Ireland, which are often created from abandoned Irish rail networks.J. B. Malone
John James Bernard (J.B.) Malone (December 13, 1913 – October 17, 1989) was an Irish hill-walking enthusiast who popularised the pastime through his television programmes and books. He was responsible for the establishment of the Wicklow Way as a recognised walking trail, having first proposed it in 1966.Knocknadobar
Knocknadobar (Irish: Cnoc na dTobar, meaning "hill of the Wells") at 690 metres (2,260 ft), is the 102nd–highest peak in Ireland on the Arderin scale, and the 123rd–highest peak in Ireland according to the Vandeleur-Lynam scale. Knocknadobar is one of the main mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland, and has been one of the most important sites of pilgrimage in Ireland since medieval times.Pilgrim Paths of Ireland
Pilgrim Paths Ireland (PPI) is a non-denominational representative body for Ireland's medieval pilgrim paths. PPI was founded in 2013 to oversee the development and promotion of Ireland's medieval pilgrimage paths, and consists of 12 community groups supporting specific paths. PPI holds an annual National Pilgrimage Paths Week during Easter, and issues a National Pilgrimage Passport to finishers of the 5 main trails: Cnoc na dTobar, Cosán na Naomh, St. Finbarr's Pilgrim Path, St. Kevin’s Way, and Tochar Phádraig.Saint Kevin's Way
The Saint Kevin's Way (Irish: Slí Chaoimhin) is a pilgrim path in County Wicklow, Ireland. It is 30 kilometres (19 miles) long and begins in the village of Hollywood, crosses the Wicklow Gap, and ends at the remains of the medieval monastery in Glendalough. An alternative spur route begins at Valleymount and joins the main trail at Ballinagee Bridge. It is typically completed in one day.The trail follows in the footsteps of Saint Kevin who crossed the Wicklow Mountains and founded the monastery at Glendalough in the 6th century. The journey later became a route of pilgrimage for visitors to Glendalough. It is one of a series of medieval pilgrim paths developed as walking trails by the Heritage Council
In 2016, Saint Kevin's Way became part of the new National Pilgrim Passport for Ireland. The new passport offers an opportunity to walk 125 km of Ireland’s medieval pilgrim paths, with stamping points at the conclusion of each participating path. On completion of all five paths, participants are entitled to an Irish Pilgrim Paths completion certificate (Teastas Oilithreachta) from Ballintubber Abbey, Co Mayo.
The four routes currently in the Pilgrim Passport along with St Kevin’s Way are: Tochar Phádraig, Mayo; Cosán na Naomh, Kerry; Cnoc na dTobar, Kerry; St. Finbarr's Pilgrim Path, Cork.
Lists of long-distance trails in Ireland
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