A season of Irish walks: time to get out and explore
Here’s a selection of organised walks around Ireland led by experienced guides
The magic of East Clare
East Clare may not be a place that immediately springs to mind for quality walking but this is exactly what is on offer at the East Clare Walking Festival which is renowned for its welcoming atmosphere. Walks explore a little known but deeply compelling landscape. On offer are memorable Slieve Aughty and Slieve Bearnagh along with adorable vistas of Lough Derg and Lough Graney. A boat trip and guided walk on Holy Island, which was once a great centre of medieval pilgrimage, is a highlight of the weekend. Information: 087-6867548: Email: email@example.com Cost: A/B walk, €12; C walk, €8; Family Walk, €5 (children free); Holy Island walk, €20. Includes bus transfers and refreshments after walk.
The best of the west
Co Mayo (October 10th-12th)
Westport is a town with a genuine heartbeat and a walking weekend based in the “olde worlde” charm of four-star Knockranny House – to support visually impaired people – is bound to prove a winner. Choice of fully guided walks including an ascent of Mweelrea (highest mountain in Connaught); a full traverse of Croagh Patrick; or a low-level wilderness ramble along the renowned Great Western Greenway. Included items: accommodation and breakfast on Friday and Saturday; dinner and entertainment on Saturday, and a choice of six walks to suit all fitness levels, led by experienced guides. Cost: €169 per person Information: midtipphillwalkers.ie Booking: 086-4009989 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Co Waterford (October 10th-12th)
Waterford’s Nire Valley is a place where the Celtic Tiger failed to roar and so remains one of Ireland’s hidden gems. Above this serene valley the lordly Comeragh mountains provide a rugged outdoor experience comparable with the best on offer anywhere in Ireland. This year’s 21st annual Nire Valley Walking Festival offers a choice of 11 outings ranging from the tough, seven-hour, Lake Loop in the high Comeraghs to a three-hour family friendly outing on woodland trails. Meeting Place: Nire Hall beside the Nire Church Cost: €10 per walk Information and starting times: 087-7539276; nirevalley.com
The roof of Ireland
Co Kerry (Twice weekly)
If you believe everyone should visit the highest point of their native land at least once, then a fully guided ascent to Ireland’s highest piece of real estate is just the thing for you.
Irish people are lucky in this regard, for not only is Carrauntoohil Ireland’s loftiest peak, it is, in many ways, also its finest mountain. Every Wednesday and Saturday, Hidden Ireland Adventures offer ascents for small, intimate groups on this delightfully complex and spectacular massif ,led by experienced and knowledgeable local guides. Information: hiddenirelandadventures.com Booking: 087-2214002; email: email@example.com Cost: €75 per person Duration: Six to seven hours (average time) Meet: Gap of Dungloe (by prior arrangement). Equipment for the ascent can be supplied.