Irish weather might not always be perfect, but our climate is great. In other words, while it can get damp or chilly, it rarely gets too hot or too cold to venture outdoors.
This changeable, relatively mild weather also means that we have a rich, wild and beautiful landscape. Unfortunately, it also brings muddy, slippery and craggy walking conditions.
For those who love a jaunt in all weather, but don’t especially love mud and rocks, there are acres of gorgeous paved walking trails across the land.
Here are some of our favourite (mostly) paved walks throughout Ireland…
Malahide-Portmarnock Coastal Walk, Dublin
This island has – unsurprisingly – an embarrassment of lovely sea walks. But only a small handful are as lovingly paved as this one. This walk offers beautiful coastal views: You can see Howth and Lambay Island from here.
The paths are broad enough to accommodate large groups (or a buggy!) and there are several access points to the beach.
Ardgillan Castle Walk, Balbriggan, Dublin
Many of Ireland’s best paved walks are in the shadow or grounds of old monuments, especially castles. This one has 8 paved kilometres to traverse, near the sea (again) but this time, you’ll also be travelling through forests and garden areas.
This place is also pretty good for fans of pretty vistas: it’s elevated, giving you a nice view of the local lighthouse, Mourne mountains and more.
Castletown House, Kildare
Again, with the castle grounds! While many of the grounds’ 550 acres are gloriously green, there’s more than enough pavement trailing around this gorgeous land. Streams, a lake, wildflower meadows, woods and manicured gardens populate this paved walk that touches the River Liffey from the Meath end. And, you might have heard, the spectacular central building is worth a gander too.
Derrynane Coastal Circuit, Ivearagh Peninsula, Kerry
Technically this walk combines pavement and gravel, but we think it warrants a mention. This incredibly scenic, 8-kilometre looped walk covers much of Derrnane National Park. The history buffs among you might know that it holds the ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell, which is now a museum. As for the walk, it’s a relatively easy journey with a satisfying, varied smorgasbord of views – including beaches, mountains and some islands. Along the way, there’s a fairy garden, café and even South American plants.
Lower Diamond Hill Walk, Letterfrack, Galway
This is one of the more rustic and remote walks on the list, but that’s part of its magic. We would file this under “mostly” paved, as some parts of it are covered in wooden boards and gravel paths. Still, if you want to walk an Irish hill and greatly reduce the chance of getting your feet wet, this is where to do it. And, with coastline, loughs and mountains, you are crossing through some truly dramatic and spectacular terrain.
Lough Key Forest, Boyle, Roscommon
This place is a gem for walkers and cyclists of all levels. There are several options, for all ages and abilities (yes, you can bring little ones or dogs). And much of it is immaculately paved. The cycling trails deserve a mention. Cycle paths like this should be everywhere; 8 kilometres, free of anything with a motor. It’s a perfect place for anyone who’s just getting used to their bike, so expect to see lots of little ones on bikes and trikes, along with parents who are ferrying even smaller kids.
Carrigaline-to-Crosshaven Greenway, Cork
Walking on repurposed rail tracks, this walkway (also used by cyclists), brings you along waterways through forests and eventually to the beautiful, impressive harbour of Crosshaven.As well as being a lovely, leafy walk, it’s a great place for birdwatching, and you might well see some herons searching for dinner at low tide. History buffs, meanwhile, might be interested to know that this region was a train line at the start of the last century and (rumour has it!) a port of call for Sir Francis Drake.
OSi – paving a path
If you need a map for any of these places, remember that OSI has lovingly and meticulously mapped every corner of this gorgeous land.