Best Dog Friendly Hiking in Ireland

Updated On: February 04, 2024 | Published On: January 15, 2023

Make 2023 the year you spend more time with your pup. Paws Friendly has set its New Year’s Resolution to help pet parents spend more time with their dogs. We will look at a different theme each month on how to spend more time together.

This January, we will be focusing on “Getting Fit with your Dog”. So grab your boots, harness, and car snacks - today we have 5 great dog-friendly hikes to explore in Ireland with your four-legged friend. 

Before the Hike

Before taking your beloved furry friend on a hike, there are a couple of “Petiquettes” guidelines to consider.

  1. Make sure that dogs are allowed on the walk you choose and that there are no restrictions in place, such as during nesting seasons of wild birds.
  2. Come prepared. Not all walks allow for your pup to be off the leash so if your dog normally walks independently, be sure to bring a harness and leash in case there are restrictions. Livestock can be particularly sensitive to dogs roaming off-leash, especially during pregnancy.
  3. Hydration is key. Make sure you have enough water for your pup, especially during the hot summer months. 
  4. Don’t forget the dog treats. After a long walk, reward your dog with some well-earned treats.
  5. Pick up after your pup. Leave no trace, these hiking trails are for everyone and nobody, whether you are a dog owner or not, enjoys having to walk around smelly poos. I like to use biodegradable waste bags. 

Top Hikes in Ireland with your dog 

There are so many dog-friendly trails across Ireland that we couldn’t possibly cover all of them, however, here are a few of the best easy and moderate hiking trails to kick off our month of getting fit with your dog.

Hikes in Howth - Co. Dublin

The very cute seaside village of Howth is only 45 minutes from Dublin and one of our favourite places to enjoy the beautiful views of Dublin Bay. 

For a circular walk, the Howth Cliff Walk Green Route is perfect to explore with your canine companion. The Green Route takes around 2 hours (6 kilometers) and takes you from the Howth Dart station, past the Howth Harbour, and along the dramatic heather-filled cliffs providing not only spectacular scenery but panoramic views of Dublin Bay.

  • How long does the Howth Cliff Walk Green Route take?
    • The Green Route takes about 2 hours to complete the 6 km loop.
  • Does the Howth Cliff Walk have a car park?
    • There is no designated Howth Cliff car park for any of the walking trails in Howth. The Cliff Path Loop starts from the DART (train) station so it is recommended that you park at the harbour.
  • How difficult is the Howth Cliff Walk?
    • It is considered a moderately challenging route, with some inclines. It is a popular trail for runners, walkers, and hikers.
  • Pet Policy
    • Dog owners are asked to keep their best friend on a leash at all times as the cliff tops are quite steep and the trail can be busy.

If you are not from the local area, here are a couple of suPAW dog-friendly hotels to consider:

Hiking Cork 

A perfect place for anyone looking to stretch their legs next to the sea is the Crosshaven Cliff Loop. Located only 30 minutes from Cork city, this walk has it all. A cliff walk that welcomes dogs and takes you through Crosshaven town, along the harbor, up the hill to Camden Fort where you can enjoy some fantastic views Cobh, Spike Island, and Roches point, and then back down to a rocky beach.

Make sure to wear suitable clothing (and shoes) as there is a bit of rocky terrain and uneven surfaces. This Cork walk also brings you down to a beach where you (and your pup) can take a little sea swim.

  • How long does the Crosshaven Cliff Loop take?
    • Just over 5 km, this hike does welcome dogs and takes around 75 minutes to complete.
  • Where is the best place to park for the Crosshaven Cliff Loop?
    • Park in the village of Crosshaven.
  • How difficult is the Crosshaven Cliff Loop Walk?
    • The walk is not too difficult, however, the trail brings you down to a rocky beach so make sure you have appropriate shoes.
  • Pet Policy
    • All dogs are welcome and should remain on a leash. There is uneven terrain and the cliffside walk can be a bit slippery and dangerous.

Want a weekend of dog-friendly hiking in Cork, here are a couple of pet-friendly accommodations:

Hiking in Killarney 

If you are looking for a quaint village full of dog-friendly places, Killarney is a great place to visit! The village is not only super cute, it is located right next to the Killarney National Park where there are plenty of woodland paths to explore, but there are plenty of dog-friendly spots to eat at, such as The Shire Killarney.

We took a dog-friendly holiday to Killarney and had a blast. While staying in Killarney, we did the Muckross to Torc Waterfall Loop hike (described below) as well as the highly recommended hike in Gleninchaquin Park. You can read about our dog-friendly holiday here

  • How long does the Muckross to Torc Waterfall Hike take?
    • The loop is a little over 6.5 km long and takes around 2 hours to complete.
  • Where is the best place to park for the Torc Waterfall Hike?
    • Park at Muckross house, located only 6 km outside of Killarney.
    • It is a good idea to visit the Torc Waterfall first thing in the morning before it becomes too busy and parking gets difficult. During peak periods the car park is packed to capacity.
  • How difficult is the Muckross to Torc Waterfall Walk?
    • It is a moderately challenging walk, with a large set of steep stairs on your approach to the waterfall.
  • Are dogs allowed within Killarney National Park?
    • Yes, dogs are allowed within Killarney National Park as well as on the Muckross to Torc Waterfall hike. They will need to stay on a lead and be picked up after.

If you are feeling extremely fit, the Torc Mountain hike is another dog-friendly hike, albeit a bit more difficult, taking an average of 3 hours to complete.

Turn this into a dog-friendly weekend in Killarney. Here are some hotels that welcome our furry friends in the area.

Hiking in Connemara National Park

If you are looking for some of the best places to explore with your favourite dog, Connemara National Park is your spot. Located in County Galway, this National Park is the change of scene you may need.

There are 4 official walks within the park ranging from easy to strenuous. If you are an experienced hiker with map and compass skills, these mountains are your playground. With a mixture of terrains including bogs and wet grasslands to exposed bedrock and scree, anyone walking should be well prepared for a challenge.

An easy-to-moderate walk to do a bit of dog walking with your best friend is the Lower Diamond Hill (Blue Route) Trail. It starts from the Visitor Centre and makes its way towards Diamond Hill, where it will reach the highest point at Big Walk. From there, you will follow the blue areas back toward the Visitor Centre.

  • How long does it take to complete the Lower Diamond Hill (Blue Route) Trail?
    • This 3 km loop walk takes just under 1 hour to complete. During the walk, you will stay mostly on an old bog road, cross a boardwalk, and have a 90m ascent where you will have great views of the Atlantic Ocean and Diamond Hill.
  • Where is the best place to park for hiking Connemara National Park?
    • There is a large parking lot at the Visitor Centre located close to Letterfrack Village where you will be able to access each trail.
  • How difficult is the Lower Diamond Hill Trail?
    • The Lower Diamond Hill Trail is an easy walk to enjoy with your best dog.
  • Are dogs allowed within Connemara National Park?
    • Yes, dogs will receive a warm welcome at Connemara National Park and pet owners are asked to make sure they are kept on a lead.

No paws left behind on your next dog-friendly staycation in Ireland. Here are a couple of hotels in the area worth visiting.

Are you planning a dog-friendly holiday? Be sure to tag @PawsFriendly on your next trip out with your pup.

While you are enjoying your vacation with the family pet, enjoy the local culture by eating and drinking out in dog-friendly restaurants, cafés, and bars, all of which, and more, you can easily discover on our website

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