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28th Sep 2023

16 of the best autumnal woodland walks in Ireland

Katy Thornton

woodland walks ireland

Something to make getting those 10k steps a bit easier in the colder weather.

Looking to get your steps in despite the changeable weather? While you might need to wrap up a little more to keep warm in this climate, autumn is one of the best seasons to head out and stretch the legs. If you’re sick of doing the same old loop around your estate or your local park, maybe it is time to look a little further afield.

Betfair Bingo have put together the definitive list of the best autumnal woodland walks in Ireland. The popularity of each walking spot was measured by a unique index score based on the number of hashtags and views each location has racked up on Instagram, as well as Trip Advisor rankings – with the lower the overall index score the higher the ranking.

10. Portumna Forest Park, Galway

Portumna, which derives from the Irish Port Omna, meaning the landing place of the oak, covers 450 hectares of land. It has four walking trails, two mountain bike routes, as well as more leisurely cycling trails better for casual or family cycling.

The park also has a large animal population, including fallow deer, red squirrels, badgers, and foxes, so keep an eye out for them while you’re out walking.

9. Clonbur Cong, Mayo and Belleek Woods, Mayo

In joint ninth place comes two woodland walking trails in Mayo, Clonbur Cong and Belleek Woods.

Clonbur Wood has 12km round trip trail that brings you right into Cong Village, where a little known film called The Quiet Man was filmed in 1952.

Belleek Woods is a peaceful autumnal walk that stretches 4kms along the river, complete with a picnic area.

8. Ballycotton Cliff Walk, Cork and Ards Forest Park, Donegal

Ballycotton Cliff Walk in Cork and the Ards Forest Park in Donegal come in joint eighth place for the best woodland walks in Ireland.

Ards Forest Park has nine different walking trails, so something for everyone regardless of how much activity you’re willing to do – it also has a playground if you are visiting with young kids.

Ballycotton Cliff Walk on the other hand is a 7km walk there and back, and is not a loop – you will finish the first part of your walk in Ballycotton village before turning back to do the 3.5km trek back to where you started.

Ards Forest Park, Donegal

7. Lough Key Forest Park, Roscommon

The walking trails for Lough Key Forest Park are varied in difficulty and length, so you can download their different maps ahead of time to choose which one is best for you.

Lough Key Forest Park lake and recreation, Roscommon 

6. Powerscourt Estate, Wicklow and Torc Mountain, Killarney

Coming in joint sixth place are the walking trails through Powerscourt Estate in Wicklow and Torc Mountan in Killarney.

Powerscourt Estate has a short enough trail of just 2.1km, which takes most people about 37 minutes to complete. The biggest draw for the estate are the beautiful gardens, which National Geographic has named the 3rd most beautiful in the world.

Torc Mountain is more challenging, and not quite straight forward, but those who complete it will be treated to gorgeous views of the Dingle Peninsula as well as the Lakes of Killarney.

Powerscourt Estate, County Wicklow

5. Dingle Way, Kerry and Glenariff Forest Park, Antrim

Glenariff Forest Park and Dingle Way come in joint fifth place for the best woodland autumnal walks in Ireland.

Dingle Way is a a peaceful, scenic long-distance trail around the Dingle Peninsula, that would take over a week to complete if you were to conquer all of it, while Glenariff Forest Park covers 1,000 hectares of land with is comprised of lakes, planted woodland, and outdoor recreation spaces.

Glenariff Forest Park

4. Burren National Park, Clare and Glendalough National Park, Wicklow

Burren National Park is another popular option this autumn, with it being known for its natural beauty and walking trails.

The glacial valley that is Glendalough National Park, renowned for its previous position as a monastic settlement, has nine walking trails and is an absolutely gorgeous spot to stretch the legs.

The Burren National Park

3. Beara Peninsula, Cork

The Beara has been described as the most underrated road trip in Europe – and is said to be one of West Cork’s best-kept secrets. The stunning peninsula lies between the Kenmare River and Bantry Bay and is known for some of the most beautiful coastal sunsets in Ireland.

Beara Peninsula, County Cork

2. Croagh Patrick, Mayo and Howth Cliff Walk, Dublin

Croagh Patrick in Mayo proved to be popular with it following behind in joint second place with the Howth Cliff Walk in Dublin. Known for being a difficult climb and the ‘holiest mountain’ in Ireland, many recommend a hike up Croagh Patrick for its panoramic views of Clew Bay at the top, as well as its religious significance.

Howth’s Cliff Walk on the other hand is arguably one of Dublin’s most beautiful trails, boasting incredible views of the rugged coastline and neighbouring headlands. A hugely popular spot for Dubliners and tourists alike, the variety of trails are ideal for a quiet walk away from the hustle and bustle of the city regardless of fitness level.

Croagh Patrick 

1. Killarney National Park, Kerry

Killarney National Park came out as the very best of the woodland walks on offer in Ireland; it is a must-see destination on any trip to County Kerry.

The very first national park in the country boasts incredible scenery and breathtaking views, as well as a number of picturesque waterfalls you won’t want to miss out on.

Lady’s View at Killarney National Park

Got any other favourite walking trails? Let us know!

Header images via Getty


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