If you’ve dreamed of an Ireland holiday for a while and want to start piecing together the ultimate trip, then this 3 part mini blog series is going to inspire you into action, starting with 8 of the best gentle hikes in Ireland for softies!
Back when Irish Experience Tours was founded in 2008, many people assumed adventure travel always involved the kinds of people who were energy-drink-chugging adrenaline junkies. Well it’s not, that’s why we introduced a more leisurely adventure holiday style, that’s not all about clocking up the miles but more about the time you spend in between.
So by offering you a more fully immersive cultural adventure tour, we’re definitely providing you with the ‘softer ‘option. All you have to do is be open to the range of activities that can be either easy-going or a wee bit more active. It’s your choice!
Soft Adventure in Ireland
The name ‘soft’ doesn’t necessarily mean the adventure is easier, but you can pick gentler routes away from the crowds, like the traffic-free examples we have below. We are not a ‘Hiking’ company but we don’t want you to be stuck in a bus all day just looking at the scenery, we want you to be part of it, and these gentle hikes below allow you to do just that.
A typical travel day can see you stopping off for a short walk or a gentle hike with numerous beautiful photo opportunities, pausing at Castles and early Christian relics close to the trails. All this combined with an opportunity to taste local wine/craft beer or seafood, stumbling across local festivals and events or even checking out some colourful sheep and other wildlife!
Are There Any Qualifications?
You don’t need any special qualifications to enjoy this type of travel other than a desire for an unusual or memorable experience and are reasonably good health. All this along with your usual assortment of great meals and entertainment. Families with kids are finding soft adventure vacations a great way for a family to bond together by experiencing exciting activities with some mild exercise.
So with our understanding of your desire to dive deeper into the communities you want to visit, and into the natural environments there, we’ve compiled a few soft adventures for you to discover over the next few weeks that suit all levels of fitness.
This week, it’s all about gentle & easily accessible hikes around the island of Ireland!
The 90-minute hike from Doolin Village, is a once in a lifetime experience, with the pounding waves of the Atlantic Ocean on one side, the lush green countryside of County Clare on the other. Setting off from Doolin village on the Wild Atlantic Way, as you walk you will slowly see the awesome Cliffs of Moher (over 700 feet high) come into view. Though not physically demanding, this spectacular walking trail is not for the faint-hearted as you will need a head for heights.
Dunmore Head Walk – Dingle, County Kerry
Dunmore Head is the most westerly point in Europe and arguably has the most dramatic scenery that Ireland has to offer. Located on the rugged Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, Dunmore is marked with an Ogham stone commemorating the ancient pagan traditions of the past. This is a beautiful walk as you trek towards the edge of Europe from Couminole Beach and see the raw beauty of the Blasket Islands looking across the wild Atlantic – next stop New York.
Bray Head Walk, Valentia Island, County Kerry
Walking to Bray Head along the coastline of Valentia Island, County Kerry is a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours. Part of the Wild Atlantic Way, a UNESCO Heritage site and views of a Star Wars filming location (the Skellig Islands) make the Bray Head loop walk simply unmissable. The route is waymarked and family-friendly, and the Old Bray Head Tower is worth a look from a military and historical perspective.
At nearly three times the height of the Cliffs of Moher, the Slieve League Cliffs in County Donegal are among the highest sea cliffs in Europe. Walking the coastal paths of another glorious section of the Wild Atlantic Way reveals amazing views of Sligo, Leitrim and Mayo.
Derrybawn Woodland Trail, Glendalough, County Wicklow
Glendalough is a spectacular glacial valley famed for its monastic city and teeming with history, scenery and great walking trails. This walk begins with a steep ascent beside the picturesque Poulanass Waterfall and continues above the ancient glacial valley through larch and pine woodlands and oak forests over about 8kms. This is a highly recommended route.
Diamond Hill is a scenic loop walk around the beautiful boglands, mountains and heaths of Connemara National Park. The route leads along a narrow ridge as you ascend the summit for excellent views of the Connemara coastline, the Twelve Bens mountain range, Kylemore Lough and the islands of Inishturk, Inishbofin and Inishshark.
Cong Forest Nature Trail, Cong, County Mayo
This route is a short nature trail around Cong village, and takes in Ashford Castle, now a luxury hotel that was converted from a Victorian castle. Nearby is ruined Medieval Cong Abbey where the last High King of Ireland resided. The Cross of Cong, an artistic Celtic Cross can be seen here. There are plenty of walking routes in the area to suit all ages and fitness levels, and the natural environment and wildlife are second-to-none.
Giants Causeway Cliff Top Experience, Bushmills, County Antrim
Experience the Giant’s Causeway like never before…take the road less travelled and see the UNESCO World Heritage Site on a stunning five-mile hike along the thrilling clifftop path.
Beginning at Dunseverick Castle, the walk covers five spectacular miles of wonderfully wild and rugged coastal scenery along grass and gravel paths, offering walkers the opportunity to see much more of the World Heritage Site than most people even know exists!
If you’re a ‘softie’ adventurer, then we hope we’ve put Ireland firmly in your sights. So much of the joy of travel starts now, in your imagination, so we hope you’re already picturing your Big Softie Ireland Adventure. We’ll be back next week with some more inspiration on cycling for softies![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]