Ireland’s Best Coastal Walks

We are drawn to the ocean.

It attracts countless walkers, hikers and holidaymakers with its sirens’ call of rolling waves, the mist of its spray and the unmistakable smell of the sea.

A sea view has a therapeutic quality, and coupled with gentle exercise, it’s irresistible.

For those of us lucky enough to live on an island, a coastal walk is never too far away. Here are some of our favourites…

Bray to Greystones, Wicklow

A hit with Dubliners and locals alike, this Wicklow walk usually kicks off at Bray Head (though you can start at Greystones, of course).

The appeal of this walk is that it’s elevated, giving you a glorious view of the Irish Sea. Apart from the initial ascent, this is a relatively easy walk, with few inclines and a generally level surface. For just about all of its 7 kilometres you’ll enjoy that sea view.

This walk is linear (as opposed to a loop), leaving you in the picturesque village of Greystones.

Doolin to Liscanor (Cliffs of Moher), Clare

In recent years, the Cliffs of Moher in Clare have become increasingly popular with tourists keen to take in the humbling rock formation and accompanying vista of the Atlantic. But many visitors miss out on one of the best things about the area – the walk from Doolin to Liscanor.

A rugged, sometimes challenging trail, this walk has few barriers separating you from the ocean. Some of the cliffside moments are not for the faint-hearted or clumsy. But it’s worth the effort, as you take in the sea air and (on a good day) views of the Aran Islands, Galway Bay and the epic Atlantic.

Bookending the incredible views are some very charming parts of County Clare – Liscanor (which is not far from Lahinch) and Doolin.

Dunmoran to Aughris, Sligo

Many seek seclusion in their coastal walks, and the trip from Dunmoran to Aughris fits that bill.

About half of this 4k walk is on Dunmoran beach, a gorgeous, unsullied stretch of sand. Its secluded location and hilly dunes do a great job of separating its walkers from the busy, noisy outside world. If you’re lucky enough to get there on a quiet day, the only sounds you’ll hear are the breeze and the sea.

This walk brings you past the beach, over a wooden bridge, onto a clifftop and eventually to the fishing harbour of Aughris. The sea view is captivating, but don’t forget to look right the odd time, where you’ll see some beautiful fields and – at one stage – the mighty Benbulben.

Ballycotton Cliff Walk, Cork

Much of this walk is over a well-worn pathway and treats the walker to meadows and one side and the Atlantic on the other.

Your nose will be treated not only to the smell of the ocean, but to that of evergreen gorse bushes. These plants, strangely, can bring a lovely coconut-like aroma if the breeze catches them the right way. There are also some benches, should you want to take a load off.

It’s a relatively easy, scenic walk, but it comes with one note of warning; there are turnstiles to control the movement of livestock, but this means that some points are inaccessible to bikes and buggies.

Maharees, The Dingle Way

This route is over 162 kilometres, but don’t worry – you’re not obligated to walk it all! If you’re looking to try a nice coastal walk in this region, we’d recommend Maharees, a 5k ayre connecting a small island to the mainland.

Along this peninsula is an endearing ecosystem (including the rare Natterjack toad). This walk, perhaps more than any other on the list, is the one with the most beach.

As you might imagine, this quirky, sandy spot is a popular one, and you’ll see anglers, caravans and maybe even scuba divers along this gentle journey.

“Sea” you there…

If you’ve been called by the sea, but don’t want to get your feet wet, there are countless, wonderful seaside spots to take a stroll.

OSI, with a vast, comprehensive range of maps, can help you find these magical places from our Online Store. The maps listed below contain the walks in this blog post.

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