32 great running routes around Ireland – one in every county – complete with maps

From Antrim to Wicklow, the ultimate guide to running locations in Ireland

No matter where you are on the island, experienced runner Conor O'Keeffe has a route picked for you. 

Please remember the maps below are just a guide and whenever and wherever you go, stay safe. 


Name: Cavehill Trail
Length: 5.1km
Elevation gain: 271m
Route type: Loop
Footwear: Road or Trail Runners
Dogs: Permitted, but dogs must be kept on a lead.

Route Information: This is a challenging circular route ran anti-clockwise beginning at Belfast Castle and following the green way marked arrows. It can, however, be joined from Bellevue car park, Upper Hightown Road or Upper Cavehill Road. Begin at the interpretative panel in the car park just before the entrance to Belfast Castle. Climb up the path on your left until you reach the first junction. Turn right and follow this path through the woodland, keeping to the left of any of the junctions you come to. This path leads up through the trees, climbing on to an open seating area. If you would like a breather, stop here and admire the fabulous views over the city and Belfast Lough. Continuing on, you will arrive at the Devil’s Punchbowl with the first cave facing you. Keep on the path to the right of that cave and you will skirt the plateau on an easy ascent. The path will then left onto the cliff top at the junction with Hazelwood. Continue gently climb the plateau towards McArts Fort. This affords some magnificent views. The trail will continue on a pretty wide gravel path heading southward with views over the beautiful Lagan Valley. Follow this towards the Upper Hightown Road. Along the way on the left you will pass a path which provides a short cut past the limestone quarry in case you are feeling too fatigued and need to shorten the route. At the bottom of these steps turn right and join the main castle drive. Continuing on the Cavehill trail turn left at the dogleg near the waterfall and follow the lane along the perimeter. This will take you to the Upper Cavehill Road entrance, re-enter the site using the entrance on the left and follow the path into the woodland. At the junction take the path on the right and you will return to the main drive to Belfast Castle. Follow this to back to the walking trailhead.

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