Munster coastal trails: Try some of the best coastal walks in Cork, Kerry, Clare and Waterford

Get outside to breath in some Vitamin Sea with a bracing walk on 20 of Munster’s glorious coastlines.
Munster coastal trails: Try some of the best coastal walks in Cork, Kerry, Clare and Waterford
Hit the trails with these beautiful coastal walks in Munster. File picture.

Waterford

Ardmore Cliff Walk: This 4km meander begins and ends at the Cliff House Hotel. You’ll walk on cliff paths and minor roadways, taking in Declan’s Well, Ardmore Round tower and a lookout post where you can spot Peregrine Falcons and Kestrals amongst other coastal birds. Dogs are allowed on the trail and there is plenty of car parking available.

Doneraile Walk: Running 4.9km in distance, the Doneraile Walk affords views across Tramore’s stunning sand dunes, which are some of the highest in Ireland. It’s home to lots of historical features, which will keep young people occupied, including an ancient canon gun which resides on the top of a cliff overlooking the bay. You’ll pass a ‘haunted well’ at The Cove and see The Metal Man, who warns mariners of the dangers of Tramore Bay.

Dunmore East Cliff Walk: Not suitable for prams or buggies, the Dunmore East Cliff Walk starts from a signposted point at the back of the Old Convent in the village. This quick walk takes about an hour including the return walk and affords incredible views across to Hook Head. Expect to see lots of coastal birds flying overhead and wear good shoes – the trail can be a bit slippy, especially after wet weather.

Copper Coast Clifftop walk: From the Copper Coast Geopark car park, follow the untarred road straight up the hill and along the top of the cliffs for this short, but bracing walking trail. Five minute’s walk will bring you to a spot above the gorgeous Tranmoe (Beach of the Cattle). On the right-hand side of the beach you’ll see complex volcanic features, while on the left, red sandstone. You can follow the trail down to the beach and along the top of the cliffs.

The Copper Coast Clifftop walk is a short, but bracing walking trail. File picture.
The Copper Coast Clifftop walk is a short, but bracing walking trail. File picture.

Cork

Ballycotton Cliff Walk: The well-hewn path from Ballycotton beach to Ballyandreen beach has been worn well by the locals who walk it every day. It’s no surprise, this gorgeous walk runs along the cliff face, offering picturesque views out over the sea. There are a number of stiles along the narrow path, so not suitable for those pushing buggies.

Carrigaline to Crosshaven Greenway: This hugely popular walk is an easy 5km, and navigable by even the youngest members of the family. Along the route you will be able to see lots of birds and wildlife or take a load off and relax with a picnic at one of the many benches throughout.

Kinsale to Charles Fort: This easy 5.5km route takes you on a walking route along a coastal path with spectacular views at every turn from Kinsale town to the famous Charles Fort. Most importantly, you will pass both The Spaniard and The Bulman pubs, should you need to pause and gather your thoughts with a refreshing drink.

Timoleague To Courtmacsherry: Young families will have no problem attempting this easy 3.2km walk, which takes you along the estuary at Timoleague all the way into Courtmacsherry. For wildlife enthusiasts, there are lots of signs along the way with information on the wildlife and birdlife of the area.

Stretching over 88km, the entire Sheep’s Head Loop would take over four days to complete. It’s easy to divide it up though. File picture.
Stretching over 88km, the entire Sheep’s Head Loop would take over four days to complete. It’s easy to divide it up though. File picture.

Lough Hyne Loop: Enjoy a walk up Knockomagh Hill, overlooking Lough Hyne Marine Nature Reserve. Follow the nature trail to the top and experience one of the most beautiful views in West Cork. Knockomagh Hill is 197m high and the walk takes about an hour, depending on your level of fitness. The view of Lough Hyne lake from the top, and the surrounding countryside, makes the climb well worthwhile.

Dursey Island Loop: Arrive to Dursey Island by cable car to start this stunning looped walk. Immediately, you will find yourself walking on the quiet roads and byways of this beautiful island. You’ll be privy to the magnificent views of the ocean and coastlines of the Beara Peninsula and Kerry from this privileged vantage point.

The Beara Way: This walking route is a walking circuit of the peninsula following side roads, boreens, bog roads and tracks, taking in all that is special about the place, including a variety of historical sites ranging from Ogham Stones to Wedge Graves, Stone Circles to ancient church sites. While there are a few stretches along the very edge of the Atlantic you will never be very far from the sea, even on the mountainous parts.

Sheep’s Head Loop: Stretching over 88km, the entire Sheep’s Head Loop would take over four days to complete. It’s easy to divide it up though, and there are clearly marked shorter routes along the way. No matter which part of the loop you choose to walk, this wild and utterly unspoiled part of the world is an ideal place to escape from the world for a day.

Creha Quay Loop: Starting in the picturesque village of Eyeries, this easy trail begins at O’Sullivans shop in the village and heads towards the beach, signposted by a blue arrow. You’ll follow the shoreline with views across Coulagh bay to the Coastguard Station Loop and back to the village.

Kerry

Fogher Cliff Walk: Walk to the top of Geokaun Mountain and Fogher Cliffs. This mountain park is the highest point of Valentia Island, offering 360 degree views across The Skelligs, Dingle and The Blaskets, extending as far west as the eye can see. There are lots of parking facilities and intervals along the way for those who need to take a break.

Kerry Cliffs at Portmagee: Offering an extremely safe walkway and a great coffee shop at the beginning, the Kerry Cliffs are always a popular spot for families. Allow a minimum of one hour here, lots of visitors spend a few hours relaxing and bird watching after their walk.

Give yourself an hour at Portmagee to take it all in. File picture.
Give yourself an hour at Portmagee to take it all in. File picture.

Derrynane Dunes Nature Trail: Kids will love this wonderful walk across Derrynane Beach and the National Park Walk with all the flora and fauna of the seashore around you. Watch out for the Mass Rock and Smugglers viewing point.

Lúb Na Cille: This 5km loop starts and ends at The Blasket Centre car park in Dún Chaoin. It offers otherworldly views out onto The Blaskets and surrounding areas and is an easy walk suitable for people of all fitness levels. The walk will take around an hour and a half and there are a few uphill parts, as well as a number of stiles to climb over along the way.

Clare

A trip to the Burren is as much of an excuse for a trip to County Clare as ever there was. File picture.
A trip to the Burren is as much of an excuse for a trip to County Clare as ever there was. File picture.

Doolin Cliff Walk: Meander 8km along a gravel path that clings to the cliff edge and be rewarded with majestic views of the Cliffs of Moher. The trail will take around three hours to complete, and at its highest point, takes in the Dingle Peninsula to the south, Aran Islands to the West and the mountains of Connemara to the north.

The Burren Way: Traversing the entirety of The Burren may be out of your remit, but there are parts of this almost lunar landscape that peep out over The Atlantic ocean and are as much of an excuse for a trip to County Clare as ever there was. The whole of this 123km trail is waymarked and extremely easy to navigate.

Loop Head Lighthouse Walk: This 1.5km walk is ideal for people who want both spectacular scenery and enough history and folklore to keep the small people occupied. Stunning views and easy trail paths make it a really popular spot for young families.

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