The best autumn walks for exploring Ireland this season

The Best Autumn Walks For Exploring Ireland This Season
Kerry walking route
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By Imy Brighty-Potts, PA

When it comes to delightful walks, autumn is the perfect time to get outdoors and see the wonders of Ireland.

The leaves are turning amber and it’s not too hot, not too cold. And the options are endless, from winding walks to challenging hikes, or even just a post-lunch stroll.


“Autumn is a great time to walk these trails,” says Anthony Barrett, managing director of Hillwalk Tours. “The weather is mild and pleasant, you’ll avoid the summer crowds, and have more peace and quiet on the trails. The atmosphere is cosy and festive, with local events and traditions, such as Halloween (or Samhain) and harvest festivals.”

So, which spots are sure to be a hit? 

Ring of Kerry

One of the most well-known walking destinations is in Co Kerry. The famous Ring of Kerry – respected for its diverse wildlife, stunning views and for being home to the tallest mountain in the land, Carrauntoohil – can be walked in its entirety over nine to 11 days, or you can visit some of its marked routes for more relaxed or shorter hikes.

killarney national park
Killarney National Park is rich in wildlife (Tourism Ireland/PA)


For a challenge, the 11-mile Glencar to Glenbeigh route is an opportunity to soak up the stunning scenery and Atlantic views, refuelling with a pub meal in one of the small villages along the way.

Within the Ring of Kerry, if you fancy a shorter walk, you can also explore Torc Waterfall at the base of Torc Mountain and Muckross Lake in Killarney National Park on foot.

“Walking in Killarney National Park in autumn is a wonderful experience,” says Barrett. “With the changing of the season comes the browning of the lush forestry, creating a beautiful array of colours.”

Wicklow Way


With autumn being a little quieter, you may be “able to experience the ancient monastery at Glendalough in solitude on the Wicklow Way” at this time of year, says Barrett.

Wicklow Way
Wicklow Way has a route for all fitness levels (Tourism Ireland/PA)

While the whole route is over 120km, you can again experience smaller nuggets of autumnal delight by picking out sections along the way. Part of the route passes through Dublin itself, so you can mix countryside with cosmopolitan, too.


“Make sure to pack your camera to catch the stunning changing colours of the leaves and heather on the hillsides,” Barrett suggests. “Pack plenty of layers, as well as a hat and gloves – it can get quite chilly at higher altitudes and in exposed places along the routes. An Irish coffee is the perfect way to warm up again at the end of a great day of walking in Ireland.”

Dún na Rí Forest Park, Co Cavan


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A post shared by Wendy Coyle (@wendycoyle23)

Dún na Rí Forest Park is one of Ireland’s most beautiful forests, with its stunning waterfalls and the Cabra River weaving through it.

When the leaves begin to change, the 565-acre stretch near Kingscourt is an especially beautiful spot for a shorter walk, where you can soak up the peace and quiet of the wild forest, home to rabbits, red squirrels and stoats.

Divis and the Black Mountain, Belfast

For panoramic views of Belfast, right in the heart of the Belfast Hills, Divis and the Black Mountain make an ideal walking spot, with views from the Divis summit even reaching Scotland on a clear day.

divis views
Golden views could make your evening (Tourism Ireland/PA)

“A combination of the overlapping Ridge Trail, which is only three miles, with the Summit Trail only four, provides an incredible walk of two halves in the Belfast Hills,” says Eimear Flanagan, founder of Away A Wee Walk walking tours.

“The Ridge provides majestic views just above the city of Belfast, while the higher Summit trail provides incredible views as far west as Lough Neagh, the Sperrins and even Donegal. Eastern views stretch to Scotland and the Lake District.

“This is a great family-friendly trekking location on the outskirts of Belfast with both a rural and urban vibe,” Flanagan adds. “Ordnance Survey mapping nerds will love to know that the ‘trig’ pillar on Divis was the first point used in the mapping of Ireland in 1825.”

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