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Thread: Walking in Ireland

  1. #1
    Übermensch
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    In Northern Ireland there are few public rights of way. District Councils have a duty to assert and protect and to keep a records of them on maps. There are also promoted Waymarked Ways.

    Are there any public rights of way in the Republic? There are 30 National Waymarked Ways and landowners are encouraged under the Rural Environment Protection Scheme to open their land for public access.

    But how do strangers find out where it is permissible to walk? And how do they plan a walk?

    Hugh


  2. #2
    Goon
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    On my trips there I dug out a map, took a cmmon sense approach about farmland and went where it looked nice. Sort of that path looks nice, where does it go, oh now I am here I'll go that way.

    No grief whatsoever.

  3. #3
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    Their are a lot of guide books of walks, not waymaked, but very popular or well known.

    There is no "Right to Roam" freely in Ireland as such. All the land is owned by someone. The 'advice given' is to ask the land owners permission, but even locals find this near impossible to do!.

    On the well known routesit's not a problem, It can be on some of the lesser used ones, so I've been told. I've yet to have any problem and I've been walking in Ireland, (North and South), for over 35yrs.

    As long as you don't disturb farm animals or light wild fires, ( that can be seen or get out of control), cause 'hassel', you should be fine.

    You could ask the Tourist Boards, or Mountaineering Council of Ireland, to suggest routes for where you are thinking of going.

    If you are going to wild camp, it's really only in the North this is done more. In the South it's normally day walks. If you do want to camp in the South just be 'discreet'.


  4. #4
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    Thank you, chaps, that is very helpful!

    So walking in the island of Ireland seems to be comparable to walking in Scotland without the statutory underpinning of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, 2003.

    Hugh

  5. #5
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    GOF, do you ever encounter notices forbidding the use of paths?

    Hugh

  6. #6
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    GOF, do you ever encounter notices forbidding the use of paths?

    Hugh

  7. #7
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    As GOF says, it's not like Scotland. The landowners/ farmers, can ban walking on their land, it does happen. But would usually be on the lowlands.

    There are waymarked paths, not too many in the north.

    The longer ones are in the south, the like of the Wicklow Way, etc. Those are mostly lowland walks, as for accomadation/camping, I don't know. I've only used small sections of them to get from one set of hills to another.

    Their are places where you will find that dogs are banned compleatly, even on a lead. This can be a farmers decision, or a agreement with conversvation groups. Nesting birds, lambing season, etc.

  8. #8
    Ultra King Paddy Dillon's Avatar
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    Well Hugh... you've had some brutal and honest feedback from a couple of local walkers. Now for some feedback from a visitor...

    * It's a nightmare trying to get the sort of information you're requesting.

    * Legislation-wise, Ireland may well be the worst in Europe for legal access.

    * Everything depends on the goodwill of individual landowners and tenants.

    I recall coming down a mountainside in Connemara, which involved crossing a newly-erected fence at the bottom of the slope. There were eight of us in the party, and as seven of us crossed the fence, the farmer arrived and pleasant conversation ensued. The seven of us continued down to the road, while the eighth member of the party lagged some minutes behind. When he crossed the fence, the farmer had a massive argument with him about walkers and access!

    To a certain extent, you can read a map and look out for clues that will get you from a road onto an open slope, without having to negotiate fields and farms... but you won't know the full extent of barbed-wire fence until you've torn yourself to shreds on them. Guidebooks help, if the author has located trouble-free routes... but they're only trouble-free until such time as trouble occurs on them!

  9. #9
    Mini Goon alex backpacker's Avatar
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    Funny, I spent 2 weeks walking and camping in the Killarny area in the south and didn't have any problems at all. What we did find is they enforce the fishing permits very strictly on the lakes up in the hills.

    Catching fresh trout and cooking it lakeside was probably the best outdoor stuff I've ever done, burning the tick out of the back of my knee wasn't so good.

    I've never been north of the border but south I can vouch for as quite laid back or maybe I was just lucky.

    Theres those more boring hills north east of Kerry I did as well where the army base is, can't remember what its called. Didn't really like it tho.

  10. #10
    Goon
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    As a man whose family is there and who lived there for many years both GOF and Paddy are correct. Rights of way and walking in Ireland are a bit hit and miss. The West of Ireland was my stomping ground and my advice would be if it is your first time in Ireland do not got to Connemara, great mountains, beautiful scenery but the most unwelcoming for walkers if you don't know the area. There are plenty of no walkers signs around.

    However, Wicklow, Killarney, Kerry, the Galtees in Tipperary all have a history of walkers and climbers and have many footpaths and rights of way. Donegal isn't too bad and if you want lower walks then the Burren in Clare is fantastic. Not too many rights of way but I have never had a problem walking cross country, and I have wild camped there as well.

    But just to touch on something Paddy mentioned on a group of eight people. In Ireland I am often solo, with a friend or my wife, but I have seen groups of walkers have problems and from talking to a few locals it is due to a guide making money on their land, damage to walls, groups hogging the pub and spending no money, and also a few years ago there was a legal problem. A man was walking through farmland, injured himself on some old farm machinery sued the owner and won. It's not quite that simple but that did the rounds in the farming community and did not endear them to walkers.

    And one last point. The waymarked ways are mostly 60 - 70% road walking, so I would avoid them.


  11. #11
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    In a lot of the more visited areas, especially by tourists, as Alex says, the attitude is more 'relaxed', unless you do something very stupid.

    The trouble can occur in the less well travelled/visited areas. I have only had 'hassel' once and a 'polite' "sorry I didn't know, what's the quickist way off your land?", type of response,resulted in a nice bit o 'craic' with the farmer, me showing on map where I wanted to get to and the farmer showing me the best way, avoiding bogs, wire fences, locked gates, etc.

  12. #12
    Mini Goon alex backpacker's Avatar
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    Wicklow mountains, yes, I went there and I personally thought it was boring. Each to their own I guess.

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    Alex, depends on where you went. Some of the less well know routes can be 'interesting'.

    If you want more of a challenge, go to South Kerry. The likes of Mangerton, the Tomies and of course the 'Reeks have some of the best routes in Ireland.

    Donegal has some good hard routes too. Slieve League and the hills around Glenveagh NP, I can recommend.

  14. #14
    Mini Goon alex backpacker's Avatar
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    Ah yes Husky, the Reeks, that is some first class stuff up there. I just have to get back to that area.

    The best part of the Wicklow hills for me was taking our hired Nissan Micra offroad so that smoke came out of it. Those hills reminded me of the N York moors, rather desolate.

  15. #15
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    Hi

    I lived in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal for 7 months. The Derryveagh hillshave some gr8value-for-money 2000-footers.Errigal is a tourist fave. Muckish via the North face is a brief but rugged and precipitousscrambly route. Slieve Snaght via the not-very-appealingly-namedPoisoned Glen is a niceouting. Elsewhere in Donegal, Slieve League cliffs provide good views, although I've never made the actual highest point via the narrow 'One Man's Pass' ridge, in spite of several visits.

    Didn't experience access probs with any of the above.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derryveagh_Mountains


  16. #16
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    Hillwalker's Donegal by David Herman is a very helpful book containing 38 routes


  17. #17
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    Ahh, the Poisioned Glen.

    That reminds me of an epic winter trip about 10yrs ago.

    I'd climbed up the right ridge and went for a wander to find a place to camp.

    It snowed and I mean snowed all night. Had to clear snow from tent about once an hour. I got back to car to find it under at least 6' of snow!! I wasn't going to get anywhere in those conditions. So I hit the hills, thinking it would clear in a day or so.

    Nope got worse, kept snowing on and off day and night. After 6 days when I'd no food left, I walked 10mls to Glenveagh Castle, after they put me up for 3 more days the snow melted enough to get one of the biggist tractors I've ever seen to get to car and pull it to castle.

    The 130ml drive home from there was "amusing" to say the least.

  18. #18
    Übermensch pete-rbg's Avatar
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    That sounds like an epic one, Husky.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete_rbg View Post

    That sounds like an epic one, Husky.
    Was good fun I must admit, especially as I was on my own.

    I stillcan't work out why peeps think I'm nuts.

  20. #20
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    sounds like a great trip huskyman thankfully sounds like you were well prepared food wise

    I say nuts not being out to appreciate it you will always have that to think back on and your own personal smile at the memorys

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