Coastal walks on Inishowen Head in Donegal and on the Cliffs of Moher in Clare are incredible places to spend a few hours. Hike the trails of the Slieve Bloom Mountains and Munster Vales, or plan a walking holiday on the Beara Breifne Way. Follow the seven Leave No Trace principles to help protect our beautiful landscapes.
The old saying ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, applies to outdoor adventures. We must bring appropriate equipment with us for a number of reasons. A camp stove helps reduce our impact on the surroundings as we don’t need to burn wood and create ash. Maps are very useful for keeping us on waymarked trails that are designated for walkers, we can look at the route before leaving to plan rest stops, get a bite to eat and fill up water bottles, which helps to reduce waste.
The wonderful walking trails through Connemara National Park and The Munster Vales are great places to relax and enjoy time outside, but these areas are also where farmers and landowners work, so we must be considerate of them. Practice good etiquette by staying on waymarked trails, adhere to local rules and park in designated parking spaces. By doing this, we can all share the outdoors and respect each other.
On our adventures along the rugged coast and through leafy forests we often come across farm animals roaming in fields and wildlife scampering through the undergrowth. We need to make sure that we protect the animals by keeping our dogs on a leash, storing all rubbish correctly and of course, never feeding the animals.
Walking and camping on durable ground is a common-sense approach that will make your walk more comfortable and help protect the environment. Venturing off-trail to walk on delicate bogs and fragile flora can destroy precious ecosystems. Hiking and camping on suitable ground will also keep you and your equipment dry and prevent the ground from being damaged.
Part of the appeal of walking in Ireland is the beautiful scenery and lush landscapes. The rolling green hills of Slieve Bloom and cliff walks along The Wild Atlantic Way are stunning places to surround yourself with nature, so it’s important that we leave it exactly as we found it for the next person. Resist the urge to pick flowers and take photos instead.
The walks and trails in Ireland entice us to explore and discover beautiful parts of the country. To keep us going we need to bring water, food and camp supplies with us which can, unfortunately, create waste. Energy bar wrappers, empty water bottles and food scraps can all damage the environment and wildlife, so it’s vital that we pack up what we brought with us and use bins along the trail.
There’s something special about huddling around a fire and cooking up a well-earned meal after a day in the outdoors, but we must use fire responsibly as it can destroy natural habitats and put people’s lives in danger if used incorrectly. Always check local regulations before setting off as some forests and national parks have banned the use of fires. Only use wood that has fallen naturally and make sure that you extinguish your fire properly and scatter the ashes widely.
By following these seven principles we’re able to enjoy our walks and also leave the landscape in a pristine condition. Start planning your trip on one of Ireland’s great walks now.