What is a recreational rrail?
A recreational trail can be a corridor, route or pathway that may be land or water based and that is primarily intended for recreational purposes.
What are waymarked trails?
Waymarked trails are developed walking, cycling, equestrian or water-based routes that are signposted to make it easier for people to find their way.
How fit do I need to be to walk on a waymarked walking trail?
For the most part the waymarked trails are available for all levels of fitness. You do not need to be super fit or very experienced, but it is recommended that you have some experience of walking in the countryside for the longer waymarked ways. If you are new to waymarked walking you can take on shorter, less challenging trails or short selections of longer trails. Remember to take your time and walk at a comfortable pace. As your confidence (and fitness) levels build you can take on more challenging, longer hikes and possibly multi-day walks.
Am I trespassing on private property when walking on a trail?
All trails listed on www.irishtrails.ie have been developed with the kind support and agreement of the landowners along the line of the route, so you are not trespassing.
Do I need to be able to read a map to walk on a waymarked trail?
Not necessarily, as all trails should be well waymarked. However, on longer trails it is recommended that you have basic map reading skills. This means that you should be able to locate your position in case some waymarkers are damaged or missing, follow your progress on a map, and also recognise prominent features along the trail. For the shorter trails it is a good idea to bring a map if one is available.
Do I need a map and compass to navigate a waymarked trail?
It is not necessary for you to be able to navigate with a compass while walking a waymarked trail. By following the way-markings and signposts carefully you should have no difficulty. However, it is recommended that you bring a map of the area or guidebook for the trail with you if you intend to walk a long distance.
If you intend walking on a regular basis in the countryside there are a number of training courses available to improve your skills in this area. See www.mountaineering.ie for further details.
Are there any waymarked walking trails in the Irish mountains?
There are no official way-marked trails high on the Irish mountains.
Is walking on waymarked trails just for long distance walking enthusiasts?
Definitely not! Waymarked walking trails are there for all walkers to experience and enjoy. There are many short trails, or short sections of longer trails, that can be used.
How far could I plan to walk in one day?
Most reasonably fit walkers can walk between 3km and 5 km in one hour. If you were to walk for 5 hours, you could easily cover 15 km. If you are walking up hill a lot, additional time needs to be allocated to this (1 minute for every 10 metres of ascent). When walking allow yourself plenty of time for taking breaks and to enjoy the surrounding landscape. An estimated time to complete each trail listed on this website is provided.
What do I do if I get lost?
Don't panic, look at what's around you and think about where you have walked and the last place you saw a waymarker or signpost. You may have missed a marker or there may be a waymarker missing, so you may have to retrace your steps. Study the map and try to work out your location, your direction of travel, where you are now and where you are going.
Do I need walking boots or any other equipment?
If you are walking off-road you will need walking boots or shoes that are suitable for use on rough ground. Always bring a waterproof jacket and plenty of food and liquids. If you are walking in the mountains you will need some additional items - see Step 3 in the Walk Safely Leaflet.
I want to book a walking holiday in Ireland - where do I start?
The best place to find information about walking holidays is on the Fáilte Ireland websites (www.discoverireland.com which includes information in foreign languages for those outside Ireland, or www.discoverireland.ie). It is useful to know which area you would like to visit before you try to plan your holiday. If you have no preference, you should do some research on a few different regions on the above websites.
How do I book overnight accommodation in Ireland?
It is recommended that you make your booking through the local Tourist Information Office. Most guidebooks include details of accommodation providers along the trail, but this should be checked and booked in advance to avoid disappointment. Fáilte Ireland's website provides accommodation options all around Ireland which can be booked on-line: www.discoverireland.ie.
As far as is possible, the longer distance way-marked ways are divided into stages that can be easily walked in a day, and at the end of which a well deserved evening meal and also accommodation can be obtained. Many of the ways will guide you through towns and villages where you can usually find food, accommodation and transport.
The most common type of accommodation is the Bed & Breakfast, but there are usually a range of accommodation possibilities, such as: hotels, self-catering options, guesthouses, hostels and camping areas. Many of these accommodation providers have facilities for drying clothes and providing packed lunches. It is recommended that bookings be made in advance to avoid disappointment. There are a few areas where accommodation is not available. Accommodation options are listed in the guidebooks, and can also be booked through the local Tourist Information Office. To book on-line go to: www.discoverireland.ie.
Is it possible to join a guided walk?
For the most part all way-marked trails have been developed as self-guiding walking routes. On many of the trails local groups organise weekly guided walks, walking festivals and events. Some of these are listed on the National Trails Office Facebook page, but for more specific information contact the local tourist information office, or the relevant route contact person as listed on this website.
I would like to join a walking club - where can I get details?
For walking groups around Ireland, have a look at the Irish Heart Foundation website. Or if you are interested in getting involved in hillwalking, there are many walking clubs around Ireland which meet regularly. Mountaineering Ireland is the National Governing Body of Sport responsible for hillwalking and mountain climbing in Ireland.
Where do I get information on walking festivals and events in Ireland?
Many of the walking Festivals & Events are listed on our Facebook page or on www.discoverireland.ie, but you are advised to contact the relevant Regional Tourism Authority or Local Sports Partnership to get a listing of all the official events and activities.
Is it possible to camp along a waymarked trail?
No. For the most part camping is only permitted in official camping sites. In many cases local landowners do not mind people camping - as long as permission is sought in advance, due care is taken, and the Leave No Trace Principles are adhered to!
Is it possible to book a walking or cycling package holiday?
Yes, there are quite a number of walking and cycling tour operators with whom you can book walking and cycling package tours. For a list of Tour Operators please go to www.discoverireland.ie. You can also make contact with the relevant regional tourism authority.
Where do I get guidebooks and maps for waymarked trails?
Most waymarked trail maps can be downloaded from this website. Some trails also have guidebooks for the walk which may be picked up from the local tourist office, good outdoor activity shops, bookshops, or on-line from EastWest Mapping and Ordnance Survey Ireland.
I would like to try a cycling trail - how do I get started?
To find a list of such trails select cycling or mountain biking in the drop-down menu of the Search function on this website's home page. There are some off-road and way-marked cycling and mountain biking trails suitable for families in Ireland. Fáilte Ireland also have details about cycling tour operators, cycle hire, etc. on their website www.discoverireland.ie. They provide a search facility whereby you can search for trails by activity. For details on transporting bicycles on public transport, please contact the relevant transport provider Bus Eireann (www.buseireann.ie) or Irish Rail (www.irishrail.ie).
Cycling Safety Tips:
- Always remember to wear a cycling helmet.
- Use front and rear lights and reflective clothing if you will be cycling in poor light.
- Remember to always cycle on the left hand side of the road.
- Remember that rain will make your brakes less effective, so take care, especially when going downhill.
- Have a sturdy lock to secure your bicycle, even if you are only leaving it for a short time.
- If there is traffic behind you, keep your course straight and predictable. If you are causing a traffic jam behind, you could pull into the side for a moment and let it pass you by.
For further details on cycling safety please go to the Road Safety Authority website: http://www.rsa.ie/.
There are many cycling clubs in Ireland which promote leisure cycling. If you are interested in joining a cycling club go to Cycling Ireland at: (www.cyclingireland.ie). Remember, cycling is a fun and inexpensive way to keep fit, and it is an activity that all the family can enjoy together. Cycling is a form of sustainable transport as it causes little or no negative effect on the environment.
What do I do in the event of a more serious Emergency or Accident?
Call the Mountain Rescue Service - (telephone 999 or 112 and ask for Mountain Rescue). Mountain Rescue is a voluntary service and should only be contacted in a genuine emergency! If you need to send people to tele phone for help, make sure they can find their way, and give details of the group's location and the nature of any injuries. Treat any injuries to the best of your ability and make the casualty as warm and comfortable as possible - (NB: Ensure that the other members of the group are also safe and comfortable as it may take a number of hours for help to arrive).