Wel­come to the 30 best au­tumn walks in Ire­land

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - THEATRE - SPOOKY STROLL

AU­TUMN is fi­nally here — the leaves have turned, tem­per­a­tures are drop­ping and there’s no bet­ter time to get out and walk­ing. With that in mind, we’ve asked ex­pe­ri­enced hik­ers Adrian Hen­droff and He­len Fair­bairn — be­tween them the writ­ers of 17 guide­books to Ire­land — to choose the routes they pre­fer to ex­plore at this time of year.

Some of the walks they have cho­sen are in forests where you can still catch the last of the au­tumn leaves. Oth­ers are moun­tain climbs where you’ll be re­warded with big views.

Oth­ers are ur­ban routes that most Dublin­ers will be able to get to eas­ily, and in­clude well-man­i­cured parks, wilder coastal routes and even a cul­tural out­ing.

There are walks here for ev­ery level or abil­ity — whether you’re a buggy-push­ing new par­ent or a se­ri­ous hiker — and routes have been cho­sen from all over the coun­try.

There are looped trails and lin­ear walks. And we’ve in­cluded the start and fin­ish point and length of each route so that you can plan your out­ing. There are also links to down­load­able maps or de­tails of Ord­nance Sur­vey map num­bers or guide­books that will pro­vide more de­tail, if nec­es­sary.

But all of the routes have one thing in com­mon. They end with an ex­tra lure — a place to re­fuel with a creamy pint or pot of tea or even a slap-up meal after­wards.

And if you need a big­ger rea­son to step out­side, think about this. The Ro­man­tic po­ets of the 18th cen­tury knew in­tu­itively some­thing which sci­ence is only now redis­cov­er­ing — that we are part of na­ture, not sep­a­rate from it, and that be­ing in the coun­try­side brings ben­e­fits way beyond those of ex­er­cise and fresh air.

Feel­ing the earth un­der our feet is good for our men­tal health and helps re­set the body’s stress lev­els. We need to be out­doors to recharge our bat­ter­ies. Enough said.

The usual warn­ings ap­ply — if you’re tack­ling one of the more chal­leng­ing routes, wrap up, wear good boots, bring wa­ter­proofs if the weather looks iffy, carry a charged mo­bile, a map, a few snacks and a ther­mos with some­thing warm, and let oth­ers know your plans.

So lace up, make some sand­wiches and head out­doors, there’s a beau­ti­ful land­scape wait­ing to be ex­plored.

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