Spirit of Ireland

Coastal, Mountain, and Island Hikes in Cork and Kerry

Trip Level

This trip is rated a Level 3 (Moderate) according to our trip grading system, depending on the hiking options you choose. You will need to be comfortable hiking 7 miles a day and being on your feet for up to 5 hours a day. You will need to be able to keep up with the moderate but steady pace of the group; however, there are alternative hiking options available most days. Trail conditions, weather, and the group’s level of fitness can affect hiking times and pacing.

Average Hiking Day
• 5-6 miles
• 3-4 hours
• 500-600 feet gain/loss

Challenge Days
• Day 6: 6 miles, 5 hours, 1,200 feet gain, and 1,500 feet loss


Some paths and trails are well-groomed, but many can be rough with rocky and uneven terrain. With the frequent rain, trails can be muddy or even wet underfoot. As is common in Ireland, we may sometimes hike off-trail where the terrain allows, gaining lofty summits via switchbacks across wide, grassy hillsides. Hiking boots with ankle support are always best (though sneakers are sufficient for the lighter hiking options) and hiking poles are recommended.


This trip takes place when Ireland has some of its best weather. Being the Emerald Isle, however, you must be prepared for rain showers at any time. Ireland’s weather is dictated by the pressure systems coming in from the Atlantic and is notoriously variable. Gore-Tex outerwear, warm layers, and proper boots are necessary. Overall, Ireland’s climate is milder than Britain’s, thanks to the Gulf Stream, and a morning of rain can easily be followed by a brilliant blue sky and abundant sunshine.


Our accommodations range from a historic family-run guesthouse to a quaint traditional Irish downtown hotel to a relaxing countryside property with a pool and spa. They are charming and comfortable, but since they are often in historic buildings, the rooms are not always of uniform or international size. Our leaders do their best to assign rooms in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage throughout the trip as a whole. Single rooms can be requested but are not always available, due to the limited space in the hotels. If you prefer a single room, please make your request as early as possible.


Most accommodations serve big, hearty Irish breakfasts, which include sausage, black and white pudding, and homemade apple juice. Most lunches are picnic-style during our hikes, but we occasionally stop at a local cafe or pub. Dinners will be at restaurants in town or at the hotels, and plenty of fresh seafood is available. Please note that in Europe, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the US. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 7:30 pm.


We will use a mini-coach/van throughout the trip, which will transport the group's luggage, so you only need to carry a daypack for items you need for the day (rain gear, sweater, camera, water bottle, etc.). Trip members are always free to skip a day's hike and travel to the next destination in the support vehicle (or remain at the hotel if we are not transferring that day). We will also take three boat journeys, one over typically calm and placid lake waters, and two in the open ocean. Please note that these can be affected by weather and sea conditions.

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.