Visitors find it easy to fall in love with the Irish countryside; its pervasive lushness, its green, fat verdure, and its broody fertility all combine to form a landscape that has enchanted travellers for centuries. From bogs to mountains, the best way to explore is by foot, and the best way to ramble is invariably in good company. So, when planning your next trip to Ashford Castle, why not coincide your journey to take part in one of these scenic walking festivals across Ireland.
Glen of Aherlow
Take the high roads through the Galtee Mountains or the low roads on Slievenamuck. Either way, you’re promised nightly entertainment, good food and fun company as you make your way up or down the picturesque sides of the Glen of Aherlow.
Famous throughout Ireland for its broad Atlantic horizon, its colossal coastline, and evergreen dales and vales, the Dingle peninsula constitutes Europe’s most south-westerly point but also, more importantly, one of its more noteworthy walking sites.
A renowned walking festival with short, medium and strenuous walks, kit yourself out in the town, which is renowned for its tweed and knitwear, before heading out on a ramble. Other welcome diversions include sticking close to the Owenea River, where salmon and trout fishing flourish, taking in the waterfalls, or cleaving close to the pubs, which are famous for their traditional music.
Boots ‘n’ Bogs
Put your boots on and get ready to trample through some bogs; this walk really does what it says on the tin. Exploring the boggy land of the Sliabh Beagh Hills for two days, there’s a lot of soggy terrain to explore on this adventurous escapade.
A hike into the Mourne Mountains is obviously going to involve a peak or two, and ramblers can choose whether they go all out with the 25-mile option or take it easy at six miles. Taking place over three days, hot suppers and other communal meals form the perfect opportunity to form new friendships.
A little different in that it offers a range of walks rather than just a couple, Castlerock includes walks for those who love hills, challenges and history – or even just stubbornly sticking to their own pace. One of the most popular is the family option, which takes place in the Downhill Demesne and is led by an environmentalist who also works with children.
Coined ‘The Garden of Ireland’ – or more prosaically, ‘Dublin’s playground’ – Wicklow is renowned for possessing the largest area of unbroken high ground in Ireland. This walk takes participants through the Wicklow Mountains National Park, and will contain lots of fun digressions on some of the animal and plant-life that lives there, such as deer, foxes, badgers and hares.
After your walking adventure, travel to Ashford Castle on the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib, where you can recuperate with some well-deserved R&R, and indulge with a sumptuous Afternoon Tea in the elegant Connaught Room.
Image Credits: The Galtee Mountains © iStock/tamsindove. Dingle Three Sisters © iStock/Luke Abrahams. Assaranca Waterfall © iStock/mtnmichelle. Irish Wetland © iStock/MagicBones. Sunrise over Mourne Mountains © iStock/sara_winter. Wicklow Mountains © iStock/danielobrienphotography.