October has arrived which means there is no longer any denying it, autumn is here, we need to pack away our summer wardrobe for another year and face up to the cold seasons ahead.
Its not all doom and gloom though, autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year in the countryside with colours bursting from the trees like fire and the temperatures not so cold as to cause frost bite when you go out for a walk.
So where are the best part of Ireland for a scenic walk?
Grand Canal Way, Co. Dublin
The Grand Canal closed in 1951, but was then restored for amenity use and is used as a gorgeous scenic walk.
The Grand Canal Way follows pleasant grassy towpaths, gravel and tarmac canal-side roads.
The whole walk is 124km from Adamstown in County Dublin to Shannon Harbour on Ireland’s longest river.
Much of the landscape through which the route passes has been untouched by modern agriculture and remains a lovely place to see flora and fauna that were originally common throughout our countryside here.
The lovely towns and villages along the way provide walkers with sleeping and eating options for this route and also mean that the route can be shortened since you can hop on/off public transport at these points.
The Grand Canal is a linear walk so you’ll need to sort out a,means of getting home once you’re finished.
Burren Coastal Walk, Co. Clare
The coastal section of the Burren Way is a beautiful walk that can be done in a day so no need to think about stop overs.
The Cliffs of Moher visitor centre is located half way along the route and makes for a good stopping point to break up the hike.
The walk is relatively easy in essence but can be made more difficult by bad weather conditions.
If visibility is low or it is very windy it could make the walk quite dangerous so its good to be mindful of the forecast before walking.
There is no shelter from the elements, except in the visitor centre so bring suitable clothing and layers.
Sawel and Dart Mountain, Co. Derry
This 17km loop walk takes around 5 hours to complete, is one of the most popular walks in the Sperrin Mountains and is utterly beautiful.
You’ll take in the two major peaks of the Sawel and Dart Mountains and is a pretty demanding walk.
The ground can be boggy during and after wet weather, but otherwise is a fairly straightforward hike due to wire fences which act as guide for navigation purposes.
Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo
The Croagh Patrick Mountain Hiking Trail is of moderate difficulty and generally not for beginner walkers. This 3-4 hour walk at 764m takes you up the spectacular peak of Croagh Patrick Mountain which rises above Clew Bay and offers outstanding views of surrounding landscape of Westport on Irelands Wild Atlantic Way.
Croagh Patrick is County Mayo’s third highest mountain and is is known by some as Irelands Holy and Sacred mountain with 1 million people climbing the majestic peak of Croagh Patrick by way of pilgrimage.
Brandy Pad, Co. Down
The Brandy Pad is a popular route through the Mourne Mountains and was the route taken by many smugglers in the eighteen hundreds - they would have made their way into the mountains via the Bloody Bridge area and would have used the Brandy Pad to cross the top of the two valleys until dispersing in different directions to get out of the mountains and into the surrounding lands.
The gorgeous Brandy Pad walk winds on until you reach the mid Mournes, and from here the views are wide and airy. You can see mountain tops and reservoirs as you stroll through this beautiful landscape.
Diamond Hill, Co. Galway
Starting at the Connemara National Park a fully signposted and surfaced track will take you along the Sruffaunboy Nature Trail before branching off towards the cone of Diamond Hill.
The terrain is mostly gravel footpaths and wooden boardwalks which take you over the boggy grounds as you approach the mountains.
The ridge itself is a narrow fin around half a kilometre long, which culminates in a cairn that marks the 445m high summit.
The views from this point are just great; look to the sea to Inishturk, Inishbofin and Inishshark or to Tully Mountain rising over Ballynakill Harbour and along the Connemara coastline.
To the north and east your view of the the Twelve Bens is absolutely beautiful and to the northeast you spot Kylemore Abbey’s gothic turrets stand out from Kylemore Lough. You can also see the summit of Mweelrea, Connaught’s highest mountain.
As you can probably gather, the views are simply overwhelming up here and you’ll want to spend some time just soaking up the views.