If epic coastlines, rugged mountains and religious pilgrimages don't satisfy your hiking and biking appetite, the West of Ireland also offers you the chance to visit its islands, by ferry, so as to explore them on foot or pedal.
With an ever changing coastline and an abundance of sprawling countryside, the West of Ireland is the ideal spot to pick a trail, hike and forget about the world.
An enjoyable five hours should be sufficient for this remote and scenic cliff walk along the undulating Mayo coastline. You will pass islands, sea stacks and an impressive 250m coastal precipice. From Carrowteige, head for Kilgalligan and then north to the Children of Lir sculpture which will mark you arrival at the coast.
Follow the cliffs toward Benwee Head and remain on the same heading until you reach the bay of Doonvinilla. Head south east for Portacloy and then south west back to your start point. A pleasant afternoon's walk only to be attempted on a clear day when you can see the cliffs and appreciate the beauty that lies beyond.
Perhaps only Donegal's Slieve League can challenge the claim of Croaghaun on the western tip of Achill Island to be Europe's highest, most dramatic and most beautiful sea cliffs. A clear, calm day is a must for anyone who attempts to walk the cliffs and significant hiking experience is a must.
From the tranquillity of Keem Strand, make for Moyteoge Head and follow the coast over Benmore to Achill Head. From there, ascend to Croaghaun and proceed to Bunnafreva Lough West before cutting across inland to return to Keem. Paths will not always be obvious, so keep a good map and a compass handy throughout.
Perfect for days when time and daylight are limited, the pleasant jaunt up Connaght's second highest peak can be completed in a comfortable four hours. Ascending along Nephin's south-eastern flank, two steep gullies are separated by a narrow ridge where 730m of uninterrupted ascent awaits you. Nephin is a great mountain for winter walking, but good visibility is a must on a route where finding the correct line of descent can be tricky.
Ireland's most mountainous island rewards visitors with a 462m summit, spectacular coastal views and some breathtaking sea cliffs. Straight off the Clare Island ferry, head for Maum before continuing north to the Island's iconic lighthouse. Follow the coastline south west past Alnamarnagh as you climb to the summit of Knockmore. Descend south west and continue until you reach the road which will once again convey you back to the pier and your ride home.
Ireland's most iconic mountain is also its most popular, attracting around one million walkers each year. That's 20% of the Irish population! On the last Sunday in July (Reek Sunday), no fewer than 25,000 pilgrims ascend to the summit where St Patrick is said to have fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.
The most popular route is the unmissable out-and-back path from nearby Murrisk, but connoisseurs with suitable transport options might be more inclined to spend the five or so hours required to traverse the Massif east to west. The latter option would link up the full sequence of five peaks, finishing with Ben Goram.
On a seven-hour circular route best suited to experienced hikers, the idyllic Mayo landscape showcases some of its most impressive features, including three loughs, five summits, various glacial corries and the inspiring Killary Fjord. The Delphi Mountain resort offers itself as the most obvious point of departure from which a forest trail will lead you south west and then west to the beginning of the day's climbing.
Follow the emerging ridgeline toward Mweelrea as you parallel the shore of Killary Harbour to your left. From Mweelrea continue along the ridge to Ben Bury (aka Oughty Craggy) from whose lofty position you will be able to see Glencullen Lough and Doo Lough. Continue to Ben Lugmore and follow the ridge's descent back to your starting point. A stunning circular walk.
The beauty and stillness of Aasleagh Falls set the tone for a day of incredible views. This day out will be thoroughly enjoyed by any hiker who is up to the challenge of climbing up to a vertical kilometre on some at times testing surfaces.
The ascent to Ben Gorm represents the day's biggest challenge, though the appeal of Ben Creggan's two summits will be enough for many to undertake the out-and-back spur before taking the ridgeline north of Lugaharry Lough as it leads you back to the waterfalls and home. A testing but rewarding six hours.
The rewards of traversing the Central Maumturks may be obvious to all who have undertaken the journey, but the effort involved will not be quickly forgotten. While the northern summits in this range may be soft, green and forgiving, here you should expect a very rocky landscape with all the obstacles that entails.
You will encounter cliffs, gullies, slabs and scree among the natural fortifications that keep these slopes relatively free from tourists. A one-way traverse could logically begin near Illion West, though circular walks are comfortably possible in six hours or so.
Woodlands, idylic coastal landscapes and mountainbike routes give West Ireland a rich canvas of family-friendly biking options.
Shared with walkers, the Bonaveen and Rinmaher Trails showcase the spectacular natural beauty of a Forest Park which centres around a mature Scots Pine forest and a lake which provides a haven for ducks, waterhen and cranes throughout the cooler months. Each looped trail may take up to two hours for children on bicycles.
This old woodland site used to be part of the Castle Kelly Estate. Today, this picturesque area provides the perfect setting for families of cyclists and walkers in the Roscommon area to get outdoors. At 6km, the Castlekelly trail starts in the village. Alternatively, the Aghrane loop is 8km in length and offers a view of the Aughrim raised bog.
Expect a profusion of exotic and native trees as you explore the 2.2km cycle trail here. A short distance ideal for little legs.
Ireland's longest off-road walking and cycling trail offers 42km of traffic-free cycling along a route which, until 1937, served as the Westport to Achill railway. As you hug the enchanting coastline of Clew Bay, take in the spectacular views of its famous 365 islands.
Welcome to The Land of the Giants. With 5km of flat terrain, suitable for bikes, buggies and wheelchairs, Clare Lake Forest Greenway is an inclusive route - ideal for young families. Look out for a wealth of wildlife including Ash, Oak, Willow, Birch and Alder trees providing habitat for the many foxes, rabbits, hares, hedgehogs, badgers, weasels, bats, frogs and field mice.
With stunning views over the River Moy, the 4km stretch of this linear trail is also enjoyed by walkers drawn here by the beauty of the mature woodland and its wildlife. The trail is firm and even, suitable for cyclists of all abilities. There are well-placed picnic spots along the way.
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.