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Running is just one of those things that you either love or hate. And even if you love it, to be honest, you still kind of hate it at times. No matter how into it you are, there’s always that ‘can I really be bothered?’ feeling as you lace up your shoes and the ‘Oh God, I’m going to die’ when you first get going.
But when you properly get into your run, muster up a good pace and release those endorphins, you feel pretty incredible. You know you’re doing something good for your body and your mind, you’re pushing yourself, you’re getting outdoors and you know, it costs a lot less than the gym.
In Ireland, we’re incredibly lucky to be spoilt for choice with some great, scenic locations which would appeal to even the most reluctant runner. So whether you’re a daily pavement pounder trying to discover a new location or just dipping your toe into a new activity, here are some of the greatest places to go for a run in Ireland.
Howth Cliff Path Loop – Dublin
Starting at the DART station in Howth village, follow the green arrows and you’ll be taken along the cliffs to ‘The Summit’, where you’ll return via a path parallel to the outward route. This running location offers spectacular views of Lambay Island, Ireland’s Eye and Dublin Bay. Hearing the water crash against the cliffs as you reach The Summit is quite an experience. The terrain can be tough in parts.
Bray Head, Valentia Island – Kerry
For a run that will really take your breath away, Bray Head Loop is simply stunning. As you run along the cliffs of Valentia Island, your jaw will drop at the outstanding views of the Skellig Islands. The route can be quite steep at times and definitely not one for those with a fear of heights. There is a carpark which costs €2 and the walk is well signposted well from there.
Keem Bay and the Cliffs of Benmore, Achill Island – Mayo
Keem Bay is one of the most picturesque places in the whole of Ireland. It’s a total uninhabited hidden gem, not far from Connemara National Park. The fine sandy beach is great for a short peaceful run and there’s also access to a 1.5km hillwalk along the top of the cliffs of Benmore towards Achill Head, the most westerly point of Achill Island.
Gap of Dunloe – Killarney
The Gap of Dunloe is an unforgettable way to experience Killarney. The panoramic views from the Head of the Gap really are hard to beat. And you can make a real day of it after your run with a visit to the Black Valley or lunch at Kearney’s Cottage. It is worth noting that the road is quite narrow and will have the odd car passing by and, particularly during the summer, there may be tours taking place throughout the day.
Phoenix Park – Dublin
Phoenix Park in Dublin is one of the signature running locations in Ireland but shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s one of the largest walled parks in Europe with diverse natural beauty. It’s 11km around the park but there are a variety of walk ways to customise your run to any distance you like.
Do you like running or do you prefer an alternative activity? What is your favourite place to go for a run in Ireland? Have you ever been to one (or more) or the 5 spots we have shown you today?
Feel free to share your tips and experience with us! Leave a comment here or let us know on social media by using the hashtag #myIrishLife.
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