If there’s one thing we have in Ireland, it’s space – and we use it well! With hiking trails, mountain biking locations and exploration hubs all over the country, here are some of our favourite outdoor spots.
Outdoor Activities in Dublin
It’s easy to overlook Dublin as an outdoorsy paradise, but it is! With mountains, parks and more Dublin’s sure to soothe your soul and freshen your lungs.
These locations are just a short trip from our Dublin hotels.
The largest walled park in Europe is hard to summarise in one word, but we’ll try: space.
Within its 11 kilometres of walls, there are 707 hectares (1,750 acres) to explore and countless things to do. Phoenix Park plays host to Dublin Zoo, The People’s Garden (vast and beautifully maintained), two playgrounds, a visitors’ centre, forests, glens and of course, the home of the Irish President — Aras an Uachtarain.
There are fields as far as you can see, perfect for strolling, impromptu football games and picnics. Visit in the evening, and you might spot one of the hundreds of enchanting deer that roam the grounds.
The Wicklow Way
We appreciate the irony of recommending something with “Wicklow” in its name under ‘things to do in Dublin’. But the Wicklow Way kicks off in Marley Park in South Dublin, before it traverses forests, The Dublin Mountains, and finally winds towards Glendalough in Wicklow.
There are several entry points, and most walkers tend to take in just a fraction of the journey. That’s understandable since the entire Wicklow Way is over 100 kilometres!
Outdoor Activities in Cork
Cork has it all, from a charming central city to beautiful walks and outdoor adventures, there are activities to be pursued across its land right to its ocean — all a short journey from our Cork hotels.
Glengarriff Nature Reserve – Esknamucky Walk
There are several walks around the Glengarriff Nature Reserve; they’re all worth exploring, but we’re especially fond of this trip.
The Eskamucky Walk — also known as the High Walk, is a gentle incline that brings you above much of the reserve, showing you a magnificent view of treetops. Along the way, there’s a delightful picnic spot, a waterfall and a possibility to stroll among eucalyptus leaves.
This can be a little muddy, so maybe don’t wear your favourite runners!
Cork has no shortage of eye-catching scenery, but Carrigaline-to-Crosshaven Greenway, where the water meets the sky, is a really special place.
Depending on when you walk this pleasant, 5-kilometre trail, you’ll either see high-tide (lots of water reflection) or low tide (mud and bird activity — especially herons).
This is a captivating part of the world at any time of day, but if possible, try to time this walk at around sunrise or sunset.
Outdoor Activities in Galway
Galway is best known, perhaps, for its music scene and beaches. But it also boasts some marvellous forests and incredible scenery.
Our Galway hotel is the perfect jumping-off point for these adventures.
Portumna Forest Park
This vast, dense forest park has been beloved by locals and visitors since it opened to the public in 1948. Across its 450 hectares, there are hundreds of oak, birch and ash trees, many of which are situated along a picturesque lakeshore.
There are numerous walking routes, depending on whether you want a leisurely stroll or something to get the blood pumping.
And it’s a great place for cyclists, with different-level mountain bike trails and one specifically for family cycling. In fact, many families go there to teach their little ones how to cycle.
One more thing: Keep an eye out for adorable red squirrels!
This walk is only 4 kilometres, so not especially taxing, but it leads to a glorious panoramic view of the area. Along the way, you’ll see woodland and some gorgeous, exotic Burren plants — including the Spring Gentian and the Purple Helleborine.
History fans might be interested to know that this is the reputed burial grounds of Queen Maeve.
Outdoor Activities in Limerick
As a city, Limerick’s cache seems to grow with every passing year and our Limerick hotel is close to all of it.
The city’s surrounding countryside is both picturesque and well maintained with fun things to do. For instance…
Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails
The biggest mountain bike trail in the country, Ballyhoura is both thrilling and scenic. Across its astonishing 98 kilometres of trails, there are adventures for every level of fitness and skill.
Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails are especially popular with return visitors because of their size. You could tackle these trails a dozen times and never retrace your tracks.
Some of the ascents will test your fitness levels, but you’ll be rewarded with unbelievable views of the Ballyhoura mountains.