Irish people have a genuine sense of fun, so they invented a festival to celebrate all sorts of things including walking! And whatever your walking skill level you can join in walking festivals in Ireland at any of the many and varied walking type festivals that happen up and down the country from one end of the year to the other. Irish walking festivals also include everything from food and music to farmer’s markets. There’s never a dull moment and as long as you’re ready to join in you know you’ll never be bored.
Ireland is a passionate place with an impressive heritage & a fascinating history… But if the festivals and events are what make Ireland so exciting, it’s the people you’ll meet on your walking holiday that make it truly interesting. And anywhere you go you’ll meet them – all of them with a story to tell that you’ll remember long after your holiday is gone. Because a walking holiday in Ireland is about making memories – then coming back to live them all over again.
All the major walking festivals and events are on our Walkers Welcome website are divided into regions to help you find your way. You can also log onto Discover Ireland for a full listing of walking festivals taking place around the country throughout the year.
The Carlow Autumn Walking Festival is a great opportunity for beginner, experienced or advanced walkers to enjoy the challenge of Carlow’s mountain treks or the peace of its woodland and forest parks. A beautiful and varied landscape, knowledgeable local guides and excellent accommodation all combine to ensure you enjoy a relaxing Autumn break. Special accommodation packages available. Nightly musical entertainment – O’ Shea’s Pub, Borris.
The Burren Peaks Walking Festival gives walkers a choice of walks over the weekend. The ‘A’ walk is for the very experienced walker and will take walkers over the Burren Peaks (approx 9 hrs); the ‘B’ r B walks are for the experienced walker and take walkers on a walk approx 5 hours of walks; while the C walkers can enjoy a two hour stroll and take in a visit to one of our many local attractions – these walks are family friendly.
“The annual East Clare Walking Festival will be based in the harbour village of Mountshannon and there is something suitable for walkers of all ages and abilities with a family friendly walk on Sunday. East Clare is a beautiful, unspoilt and hidden corner of the county, surrounded by magnificent mountains on one side and the majestic Lough Derg on the other. You can enjoy panoramic views and wonderful scenery from all of the walking routes. The base will be at the Mountshannon Hotel and as the walking festival is sharing the weekend with the local Trad Music Festival, you will be assured of a hearty welcome with the very best of East Clare traditional music! Come for the walks & stay for the craic!”
Each walk takes in a different area or island. The type of terrain varies, but there are walks for all levels of mobility – some are leisurely, some more strenuous – so walkers can choose the walks that suit them best.. Walks are planned so there is an opportunity for refreshment at the end of each invigorating stroll and the weekend also includes a programme of entertainments.
Cape Clear Island Walking Talking Festival provides a series of walks by local guides covering areas such as ornithology, whale and dolphin watching, general nature, history and archaeology as well as some deliberately idiosyncratic walks such as the local garden trail, poetry and writings. This is a ‘low key’ event where participants are guaranteed to mix and meet with the locals. 2012 will highlight the recently completed ‘looped walk’ which features in Damien Enright’s new book Scenic Walks of West Cork. Group meals are encouraged in local restaurants and local musicians provide nightly entertainment.
Ardara International Walking Festival takes place each year on St. Patrick’s weekend with a range of walks for all abilities. See website for more information.
The Connemara Four Seasons Walking Festival – Spring – takes place annually in March. It is a walking festival aimed at all levels of walkers. Weekend includes pre-walks presentation by guides and two days walking in Connemara, with emphasis on archaeological and heritage sites. Using the celtic calendar and national holidays, the holidays are designed to explore the wilderness of Connemara’s highlands and islands.
The Leenane Mountain Walking Festival includes a choice of high-level mountain walks or a low-level option, and enjoy a unique combination of mountain and sea along the way. There will be transport to and from the mountains, including a speedboat across Killary Harbour to Mweelrea Mountain.
Tea/coffee and scones will be hosted by a local business at the end of each walk.
Dingle Walking Festival gives participants a wonderful opportunity to experience Dingle Peninsula’s breathtaking scenery and some of its numerous archaeological sites. Dingle Peninsula – Corca Dhuibhne was described by National Geographic as the ‘most beautiful place on Earth’. It is one of the premier walking destinations in the world and Dingle Walking Festival will present walking enthusiasts the opportunity to experience this geological jewel first hand for themselves.
If you want to relax and unwind and hear the cuckoo sing come walking in Tarbert. You can enjoy wonderful cross country walks along farmland, bog land and woodland. The event offers 3 days of wonderful walking. You can experience the scenery and the solitude of the landscape and receive a tonic for your mind, body and soul. The social aspect is a pivotal part of the festival. Walks are followed by a social gathering, where you can have a bite to eat, a cupán tae or something stronger while you enjoy the chat and the sing song. And remember to listen out for the cuckoo.
A weekend of walks in West Kerry. Walks included will vary from easy to difficult, offering something for everyone.
“Ballyhoura International Walking Festival offers over 30 guided walks suitable for all levels of ability on many different terrains from the undulating green pastures, woodlands and rolling hills to the high peaks of the Galty Mountains. Ballyhoura Country is a walker’s paradise with unspoilt beauty and a variety of landscapes. There is something for everyone at this year’s festival, whether you enjoy a family day out or a serious hike.”
The Táin Walking Festival is a popular event located in Carlingford & The Cooley Peninsula, only one hour from Dublin. Easy, moderate and difficult graded walks are offered with experienced guides amidst breathtaking scenery. Biodiversity and heritage walks are also offered.
Why not blow away the cobwebs and take part in the Mulranny Walking event to explore the beauty of the countryside during this walking weekend. Mulranny & the Great Western Greenway is a European Destination of Excellence and the area was recently listed as one of the top 10 walking destinations in Ireland by the Bridgestone Guide 2012.
June – July Annually
Come and meet walkers from more than 21 countries to walk, talk and discover the bogs, rivers, mountains, flora and fauna and the unspoilt beauty of the west of Ireland. Each day, there is a 10 kilometres, 20 kilometres and 40 kilometres road walk and also a guided cross country ramble, which is approximately 30 kilometres in length and takes about 6 hours to complete. All of the road walks are through the countryside around Castlebar, while some of the rambles take you further afield. There is a range of routes to suit all levels of fitness.
The Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail Festival will consist of a three-day guided walk along the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail from the town of Balla and goes on to the village of Murrisk. On each of the three days, transport will be provided to and from start/finish points. The Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail extends from the town of Balla in central Mayo, to the village of Murrisk at the base of Mayo’s holy mountain, Croagh Patrick. The Trail is 61km in length and mainly at low level, but the walker should note that the Trail does reach a high point of 310 metres around the foothills of Croagh Patrick.
This outdoor challenge in the south Mayo/west Galway region awaits all walkers. There are three categories of walks which all start and finish in Finney Village, at Finney Community Centre, just five miles from the Co. Galway town of Clonbur. The main Challenge is unled and is for the experienced, fit and self-sufficient walker and features a 30km, 1936m ascent. The route follow the beautiful ridges of the Joyce/Partry Mountains which circle Lough Nafooey and takes in the Maumtrasna Plateau, the Devil’s Mother, and the southern shore ridge of Bunacuuneen and Ben Beg.
Féile Siúlóidí Acla is a family hill walking festival. There will be a choice of walks, suitable for regular hill walkers or for those who just enjoy getting out in the fresh air.Sites of historical and archaeological interest, as well as those of great natural beauty, will be visited. Walkers are required to register prior to the event. There will also be a Welcome Reception for walkers, as well as other social events organised.
“Get your boots on and come on a weekend of fun and easy outdoor activity at the Annual Slieve Bloom Walking Festival.
Enjoy beautiful scenery, great walking and lots of fun at this annual walking festival. In the evening relax in good company at a traditional Irish music session in a local pub and join in the fun at the Blisters Hoe Down at Kinnitty Castle.”
“The Annual South Sligo Spring Walking Festival will take place over the May Bank Holiday Weekend. Registration will take place at Joe Dan Mullarkeys Pub in Aclare each morning of the festival (approx 6 miles from Tubbercurry on the R294 road). There will be 3 guided walks each day, the short walk will suit those who prefer a leisurely pace while the medium and long walks will be more challenging and offer enjoyable hill walking. Participants will be given the chance to experience, firsthand, the splendid isolation that is the Ox Mountains. Every year new walks are added and this year is no exception. The National Loop Walk at Lough Easkey, The Sligo Walk and many more trails will be explored. Groups will be met halfway into their walk with refreshments and afterwards a warming bowl of homemade soup at Joe Dan’s Pub.”
The Glen of Aherlow Walking Festival is a three day event on the Galtee Mountain range and Slievenamuck Hills. All walks are led by experienced guides from the Galtee Walking Club. There is a choice of 4 graded walks each day from easy to difficult so you can enjoy challenging treks on the high Galtees or low level walks on the National Loop trails. Following a great days walking enjoy the craic in the local pubs with nightly music and a courtesy bus available to bring visitors to & from the local pubs.
This is the 19th running of an annual and very popular festival of walking. Starting with an information evening on Friday where you meet some of the guides and learn about the history and geography of the surrounding countryside. The Saturday walks are out on the hills with fitness levels from very fit to moderately fit required. Relax on Saturday evening at the festival dinner and enjoy the best of local traditional and folk music & dance.
“The Dunmore East Rambling Festival is a relaxed walking festival on Waterford’s spectacular coast. There are 6 guided walks over the weekend where the leaders will give information on the history, flora, fauna and areas of interest on all walks. The weekend features guided walks in woods, on beaches, cliffs and in open countryside. A special kid’s beach walk & exploration will also take place. An informal arrival evening will take place on Friday and a BBQ and music on Saturday. For full details see website.”
The Comeragh Mountains Annual Bogtrot begins at 8am with a bus trip from your base at Ballymacarbry Village to the Mahon Falls car park where the walk begins. Ascending by the side of the falls it crosses the Comeragh plateau taking in spectacular views over the Nire lakes and further on to most of County Waterford, South Tipperary and Kilkenny. It finishes with a walk down through the Nire Valley, crossing streams and rivers back to the village of Ballymacarbry where refreshments await.