Monday, August 19, 2013

A Few Hikes in Ireland (The Burren, Inishmore, Connemara)

We just got back from a week-long vacation in Ireland. It was great! We spent most of our time in Western and Northwest Ireland. Unlike most of our vacations, where we hit up museums, churches, and cultural sites in cities, this was a more nature-oriented trip, as I think is common in Ireland. We wanted to do some hikes, but were having trouble finding enough information about them online.

So, for future visitors to Ireland, I thought I'd recap  the hikes we went on with a bit more information. Good luck!

The Burren (Ballyvaughan Wood Loop)

Distance: 8 km
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 1:26, but we were running for a fair bit...
More information: here and here

Our first 'hike' was actually a run. We needed to run 9 miles as part of half marathon training, and we thought we'd do two loops around this 8km route to get us there. It's "Easy," right? Well, that turned out to not really work. The first ~15 minutes of this hike are though some interesting, but tough woodlands and rocky fields. Good hike. Lots of farmland that you pass through, and some times it was almost tough finding our way, but we did it. Go to Monk's restaurant afterwards!

View The Burren in a larger map

Inis Oirr Island Hike

Distance: 4.73 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 1:44
More information: here, and the ferry

We took a ferry to the smallest of the Aran Islands, Inis Oirr, and while there we did this nice hike. I can highly recommend it! We saw lots of great views of the island, some livestock, and we even had a nice picnic at the rustic castle tower on top of the island. 

View Inis Oirr Hike in a larger map

The Connemara (Diamond Hill Hike)

Difficulty: Medium
Time: 2:22
More information: here and here

A short distance from the Connemara National Park visitor center is a hike to the top of Diamond Hill. In fact, there are a few hikes around the hill, but we took the one that went to the top. It was a nice, strenuous climb for me, although some of us didn't like the views from steep heights! The scenery makes one think of the Scottish Highlands. We took the hike pretty seriously, but there were plenty of families with small children doing it (in fact, it was a little crowded) so probably just about anyone could make it to the top. 

View Diamond Hill Hike in a larger map

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