What to Bring on a Hike In Ireland

DT65WX Walkers on the Winchcombe Way during the walking festival, Cotswolds, UK. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.
DT65WX Walkers on the Winchcombe Way during the walking festival, Cotswolds, UK. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.

The key when hiking in Ireland is to always plan for a little bit of everything, weather-wise. There’s a local saying that no matter what month of the year we are in you could get hit with all four season’s! Waking up could be torrential rain, followed by sun followed by more rain etc! Even in summer time in Ireland the weather can range between 12c–18c, so it’s always good when arranging a hike to make sure you are prepared for all season’s! The amount of rainfall in Ireland causes a lot of the green grass and scree to become extra slippery! The first and main thing to prepare when planning a hike in Ireland is a good pair of boots.

This is a must and you will need a boot with good grip, sturdy for downhill walking on steep ground and of course waterproof as you don’t want to be walking through bog land with wet socks and feeling miserable! Even in midsummer a waterproof boot is essential as the ground can still be boggy from weeks and months of rain! Especially is you are wandering “off the beaten track”. To avoid blisters you need a good quality pair of hiking socks. A lot of people go for branded names but the best I find is a pair of army socks which are both waterproof and thick, preventing blisters from the rub of the boot. Always remember when spending a long day walking in the hills, to break your boot in first, as failing to do this can lead to foot injuries and discomfort.

Copyright by: Switzerland Tourism / Jan Geerk

The next essential to think about is bringing layers on yourself and layers in your backpack! Quick drying, thin layers are good as in summer as it allows you to adapt to the various conditions without the weather ever getting too cold where you would need thicker, waterproof gear. Avoiding materials like cotton is always a good idea when hiking in Ireland as you can become heavy if you do get caught up in a shower and also it’s slow drying so you will feel miserable slogging it out in damp clothes.

Waterproofs are essential most of the year. In summer you can get away with it, but it’s still advisable to have a light waterproof jacket in your backpack just in case! For the rest of the year it’s always a good idea to have waterproof jacket, waterproof trousers, and of course waterproof shoes. In the winter time, and colder months it is advisable to have a good pair of waterproof gloves and the hands are usually the first part of the body to feel cold.

Other essential items to bring on a hike to Ireland is a compass and torch. Even if you know the area well the weather can change in an instant and you could find yourself in a “white out” not knowing what direction to go in. Many have got lost at night time without a compass and torch and having to call in the local mountain rescue team.

The last part of the article on essentials to bring on a hike to Ireland is snacks and water. It’s essential to stay hydrated while hiking, even if you’re feeling cold, and you don’t feel like doing it, it’s always important to take some water on your walk. It’s also good to pack some snacks for energy. Nuts, seeds and fruit are recommended.