Donegal and Sligo offer some of the most glorious and challenging vistas in Ireland for anyone looking to take them on. A naturally rugged and mountainous terrain that is constantly growing in popularity for people looking for their outdoor fix. There is an abundance of hostel accommodation, especially in the surfing obsessed villages of Donegal, that make for the perfect stay when all you need is a place to rest your head.
The landscape of Northwest of Ireland looks like something out of a walking and hiking magazine. Rugged mountain terrain and sprawling coastal vistas invite you to explore.
Don't forget your camera as you head to Melmore Head with its eight sandy beaches, none more beautiful than Boyeeghter Strand. From Trá na Rosann capark, a circular walk around the headland is a straightforward proposition as you set out, following the road south east before cutting north east to Invermore Bay. From there, follow the coast to Gortnalughoge Bay and Tranafaighboy before cutting across the headland and heading south just after Ravedy Island.
Skirt Melmore Hill past Altweary Bay toward Claddaghanillian Bay, then Boyeeghter Strand. The climb to Crocknasleigh's 163m summit will reward you with a stunning view over the Atlantic before you descend to Trá na Rosann beach and back to the carpark.
Known in Irish Gaelic as An Mhucais (the Pig's Back), Muckish is a table-top mountain from the same mould as Benbulbin in Sligo and is part of the Seven Sisters mountain chain that traverses northwest Donegal.
The two main routes to the summit are The Miners' Track (the more demanding route) or the more popular trail via Muckish Gap. For the latter, you will find parking spaces at the Muckish Gap Shrine.
Fáilte Ireland has designated two walks in the Glencolmcille area as part of the national walks network, namely the Tower Loop and the Drum Loop. The former is of moderate difficulty, taking 2-3 hours to cover the six mile circuit. The latter covers most of the same ground, plus an additional (and fairly strenuous) two miles. For maps of the loop walks, click here.
The ascent to the summit of Slieve League sea cliffs is probably the most popular walking route in northwest Ireland, and with good reason. Three times higher than the iconic Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare, the 600-metre immensity of Slieve League is only beaten to the title of Europe's highest sea cliffs by the Croaghaun Cliffs on Achill Island.
For a three-hour out-and-back, take The Pilgrim Path from Teelin. Alternatively, to extend your trip and get the best photo angles of the cliffs, return to Teelin via One Man's Pass which takes you down to Bunglas before bringing you to country roads and Sliabh Liag Walk.
Part of the Dartry Range, Sligo's table-top Benbulbin mountain stands at 526m above sea level. Formed from Dartry limestone, a hard and fossil-rich bedrock, Benbulbin was gifted its iconic shape by glaciers during the last ice age.
Perhaps the most obvious and popular point of departure is Luke's Bridge: from here, the ascent up the gully toward the summit plateau is gentle and enjoyable. To extend the trip, head for the cave at Cartronwilliamoge or hike across to Benwiskin via Annacoona Top.
A blend of woodland trails, coastal tracks and woodland routes come together in offering families of all ages a wealth of cycling options.
Just five-minutes from Sligo Town on a bicycle, Doorly Park attracts cyclists to a network of paths and nature trails which showcase the best of this stunning wetland setting. There is a picnic site, a children's playground and an outdoor gym on site.
Witness the spectacular natural beauty of Lough Macnean on a 4km multi-use trail which hugs its western shoreline before contouring the foot of Thur Mountain. Some terrain here is very steep, making this less desirable for those with young children in the group.
From Drumleague Lock, cycle down one side of the canal to Battlebridge Lock before returning on the other side to make what is technically but perhaps misleadingly referred to as a "looped cycling trail". On the east side of the canal, more ambitious groups can also continue on to Drumhauver Bridge.
This peaceful woodland setting is home to an 8km traffic-free cycle trail suitable for families with kids' bikes, child seats or tag-a-longs. A great place to teach your children to cycle and develop their confidence on a bike.
Falling on the route of the North West Trail (326km) the hard-packed sand at Rossnowlagh Beach is easy to cycle on, making this the perfect place to explore free cycling in a wide-open expanse with stunning coastal views. This blue-flag beach is known the locals as "The Heavenly Cove" and is considered by many to be the most scenic and dramatic beach in the north west of Ireland.
This 2.8km purpose built walking and cycling trail once served as the railway line for a Bord na Mona turf extraction facility. An hour of cycling along an easy, even pathway, sheltered by forestry, will culminate in your arrival at Lough McHugh
Adare is a small town in Co. Limerick, known for its quaint and colourful thatched cottages. Adare is considered to be one of Ireland's most beautiful towns so stop and take in the view. Don't forget your camera today - the perfect chance to capture the essence of old Ireland.
Explore Adare Village along the Wild Atlantic Way
Take a journey through this once troubled city. See the murals of the Loyalist Shankill Road & Nationalist Falls Road. The Troubles took their toll on the economic life of Belfast but the past ten years of peace have returned much prosperity while the genuine friendliness of the city never left.
Originally built in 1823, Blarney Woollen Mills was mainly used for the spinning and weaving of wool. After it closed in 1973, it reopened in 1975 — as an Irish heritage shop.
The Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre commemorates the last pitched battle fought on British soil, in April 1746. Learn more about the Jacobite intent to overthrow the House of Hanover and return the House of Stuart to the British throne.
Located within Glenveagh National Park, Glenveagh Castle was built by Captain John George Adair between 1870 and 1873. Having made his fortune through land speculation in America, Adair return to Ireland and began large amounts of land in County Donegal. The castle was built in the Scottish Baronial style and is surrounded by a garden and commands stunning views of the nearby mountains, lakes, woodlands and valleys.
About Highland Folk Museum is a museum and open-air attraction located in the Scottish Highlands. It is designed to showcase the domestic and working lives of the early highland people.
Located alongside the River Shannon in County Limerick, on King's Island. Dating back to 922, to a time when Vikings were the inhabitants of the island (Thormodr Helgason, the Viking sea-king, built the first settlement here. The castle itself was built in 1200, under the instruction of King John of England.
Located close to the Killarney National Park, Moriarty's is an Authentic Irish Gift Store and Restaurant. Hand crafted Irish jewellery, Waterford Crystal and classic and modern tweed fashions and furnishings are all on offer at the gift store. The restaurant is an 85 seater offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Mount Congreve Gardens. Located in Kilmeaden, County Waterford, Mount Congreve Gardens is an 18th century Georgian estate and mansion. It was designed by the same architect that created both of Waterford's cathedrals, John Roberts.
Recently recognised as being one of the top 10 gardens in the world, Mount Stewart is a rich tapestry of planting plant life and stunning walking trails. The house dates back to the 19th century, and was the Irish seat of the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family.
Located on the grounds of the expansive and idylic Killarney National Park. Muckross House, and its 11,000-acre grounds, was donated to the Irish state in 1932.
Located on the grounds of the picturesque Muckross House and its impeccable gardens. Take a step back in time and see the Irish farming lifestyle of the 1930s and '40s. A time when the horse was responsible for much of the labour and the weather was the be all and end all in terms of production.
The Quiet Man Museum. A reproduction of the quaint thatched cottage from the John Wayne starring, John Ford directed movie of the same name. all costumes, artifacts and furnishings have been recreated in precise detail, to reflect the setting of the 1952 classic. Located in the picturesque village of Cong, County Mayo.