Ireland has some of the best trail runs in the world, suitable for every level of runner.
The best trail runs in the country also boast superb scenery.
Here are some of the best in the country.
TRAIL RUNS IN IRELAND
Howth Peninsula Trail
Total Ascent: 239m
The beautiful little fishing village in North Dublin needs little introduction and is a really popular tourist area.
Accessible at the end of the North DART line (commuters train), the Harbour is always buzzing with activity and has the most stunning views on the East coast.
For outdoor enthusiasts, the running trails just outside the village are amazing.
Known as ‘The Bog of Frogs’, the trail is just under 12km and takes in the Irish Sea Coastline, Dublin Bay and the Wicklow Mountains.
The full-length trail is quite long and would not suit beginners, but it also offers shorter routes of 6, 7 and 8k to cater for runners of all abilities.
Plus, you can go for a cool-down dip in the sea afterwards!
Glendalough Spink Trail – White Route
Total Ascent: 456m
In terms of options, it doesn’t get better than the Trails of Glendalough in the Wicklow mountains.
In total there are nine marked trails to run or walk, varying from short and quick trails that take 30 minutes to more mountainous options that could take up to four hours.
We’ve picked the White Route as one that suits all levels and can be considered moderately difficult.
Coming in at 9.5k in distance, the trail starts in the National Park Information Office and the trails are signposted as you go.
The scenery you will take in is nothing short of breath-taking.
Murrisk and Croagh Patrick
Elevation Gain: 749m
The most difficult of the trails in this guide, the Murrisk to Croagh Patrick trail run is not for the faint hearted.
Beginning in the car park at the foot of Ireland’s Holiest Mountain, this up-and-back route is over 7km in length and will take people anywhere from 2 to 3.5 hours.
The terrain is rugged and steep so appropriate footwear is required, and it’s not unfamiliar to experience the four seasons while ascending too so dress appropriately.
Home to the world-famous Sea2Summit race, trail runners can enjoy one of the most breath taking views in the country when at the summit and looking out across Clew Bay.
It is worth the challenge of getting there and some newly installed steps around ‘The Cone’ make the ascent and descent a bit easier.
Diamond Hill Circular, Connemara
Elevation Gain: 400m
Connemara National Park is a trail runner’s paradise and the Diamond Hill Loop is a heavenly experience.
Located near Letterfrack in Galway, this is a moderately challenging route and will take approximately 2.5 hours to complete.
Suitable for most fitness levels, however there are so bits of the route that boasts challenging and steep terrain.
Be aware, on a busy day the route can be packed with people as well as insects – bring your insect repellent.
Runners will experience some beautiful scenes across the National Park as well as the vibrant wildlife that run free across the hills.
Again, the right clothing and trail running shoes are needed as the weather can change very, very fast on the West Coast!
Torc Waterfall Loop, Killarney National Park
Elevation Gain: 406m
This loop trail running located near the picturesque village of Killarney is a beautiful moderately challenging route.
Starting at Muckross House, trail runners will have to navigate around 1km of steps so you need to be reasonably fit as you ascend the Torc Mountain.
On the last couple of km on the route, you will come across the amazing Torc Waterfall as well as views of Killarney town and the lakes.
Proper trail running shoes with good grip is essential here, especially for the steps, but there is no gain without some pain and when you get to the top that will all be worthwhile.