Best Hikes in Southern Ireland

ireland

A beautiful hike to enjoy in Ireland, which is moderate in difficulty and probably Ireland’s most famous mountain is Mount Errigal (An Earagail in Gaelic). The mountain is 751 metres (2,464 feet) and is part of the Derryveagh Mountains in North West Donegal, close to Gweedore. It is the tallest peak in County Donegal. The mountain is known by the locals as one of the “Seven Sisters”. It is both the steepest and tallest of the mountain range. The others in this range include Muckish, Crocknalaragagh, Aghla Beg, Ardloughnabrackbaddy, Aghla More, Mackoght and Errigal. All beautiful mountains with great hikes.

The hike is usually climbed from the carpark at the back coming off the R251 road. The walk starts through some bogland which in wet seasons will require good footwear and waterproofs. After crossing the boggy land, the route follows an obvious path of steep shining quartzite rock and scree. From the carpark to the summit the hiker will gain an ascent of around 520m. Whilst at the top people can cross the exposed ridge known as “one man’s pass”. This will lead onto the twin summit peak of Mackoght. Extra care is required on this pass if the weather is wet or strong winds are present. From the top you can see beautiful views of the blue stack mountains and the table top peak of mount Muckish. Also viewable to the west of the summit is the famous Guinness estate in the middle of the poisoned Glenn forest.

Errigal is commonly classed as Ireland’s most famous peak and this is due to the famous pinky glow that radiates off it during sun set. The route is around 6km round trip and would take on average 3 hours for the total duration of the Walk.  It’s good to keep a snack and water supply in a backpack and there are no facilities within close range of this walk. A compass and headlight or hand torch is always advisable especially in winter months as darkness can come suddenly.

The mountain has featured in popular culture in many different instances. It has been used many times in music videos from famous local singer Enya and also features in New Zeeland’s indie rock band “The Chills” video for Heavenly Pop.

As usual for all hikes in Ireland, no matter the season, an extra jacket should always be packed in a back pack as the weather can turn very frequently here as cold air from the north Atlantic can make it very cold, even in summer months. Walkers should also take care at the beginning as many pot holes prove to be a hazard in the main field before the approach to the walkway to the summit. These can be hard to view in a misty, winters day and can prove dangerous if walkers are on their own and come across these. So, this is a point of the walk extra care needs to be taken. Once the bogland meadows are passed the summit trail is clear and well-trodden.