Hiking at night is an amazing way to step out of your comfort zone and try something out of the ordinary.
Hiking is one of the best ways to fully experience all that Ireland’s incredible landscape has to offer. But, during the winter when the sun sinks down at 4pm, it’s easy to assume that hiking is only meant for the summertime when there is a nice long stretch in the evenings. However, strapping on your boots after sunset can be one of the most rewarding adventures.
Many night hikes in Ireland traverse the rugged mountain ranges or low-lying valleys while the moon is at its brightest, allowing you to gaze up at the stars while exploring the wilderness.
Here are six of the best night hikes in Ireland in 2019.
1. Art O’Neill Challenge
11 Jan 2019
Time to take the plunge and get your name down for some serious suffering this winter. The annual Art O’Neill Challenge is one of our must-do events for the hardcore out there. Ultra runners, hikers and hybrids will gather at midnight on 11 January to start the race.
Participants finish at some stage the next day at any time between 6am and 3pm. The 55km hiking/running event traces the escape route that Art O’Neill and Red Hugh O’Donnell took in 1592 when escaping Dublin Castle. It is run in association with Great Outdoors with all proceeds going to the Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue.
For more information, visit Art O’Neill Challenge.
2. Walk the Line
30 March 2019
Looking for a great event that is designed for both seasoned hill walkers as well as those looking to get started? Walk the Line is a fundraising event for the Dublin & Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team that provides two challenging courses across the Dublin Mountains. Both routes begin in the afternoon and run until the night. You can choose from either a 10km or a 20km loop
If you’re someone who is just starting out you can opt to be guided by a member of the Dublin and Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team. Those looking for more of a challenge can opt to self-navigate.
For more information, visit Walk the Line.
3. Moonlight Challenge
TBD Nov 2019
The Moonlight Challenge is a brilliant chance to hike for a good cause all while taking in the incredible scenery of the Wicklow Mountains. The route traverses 25km over Glendassan Valley, The Brockaghs, Paddock Hill, Trooperstown Hill, the Avonmore forest track and Derrybawn forest track by moonlight.
The hike itself benefits the Glen of Imaal Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team, raising money for their crucial voluntary services. Your feeling of accomplishment after crossing the finish line will be heightened by a home cooked meal and some lively entertainment after the walk!
For more information, visit Moonlight Challenge.
4. Extreme Ireland Full Moon Walks
Extreme Ireland offers guided tours in the mountains of Wicklow under the full moon. Each month, qualified mountain leaders guide hikes through either the Dublin or Wicklow Mountains (towards Glendalough), which provide some of the most stunning landscapes in Ireland. These hikes last about 2-3 hours and are suitable for most levels of ability. The exact locations of the hikes are determined a few days prior to the hike, and the hikes begin at around 6 or 7 p.m.
For more information, visit Extreme Ireland.
5. Hilltop Treks Full Moon Walks
Hilltop Treks give you the opportunity to encounter the gorgeous setting of Glendalough, Luggala, Djouce and more, lit only by head torches and the moonlight. Experiencing these captivating places during the night is an altogether different experience and one that should not be missed. Each walk will take approximately 2-3 hours and will be suitable for most levels of ability.
All walking guides are fully qualified and will also provide historical commentary during the walks as well as information about nighttime navigation.
For more information, visit Hilltop Treks.
6. Terra Firma Ireland Night Hikes
Terra Firma Ireland offers many different options to explore Co Mayo under the night sky. Their Moonlight Hikes take you to the remote WIld Nephin Wilderness where you can witness the silhouettes of the Nephin mountain range in the distance while you hike along the Bangor Trail and the Letterkeen Loop. This hike is guided and will take approximately 3-4 hours.
The Magic, Myth, and Moonlight Hike departs from Newport, Co Mayo and heads for the heritage site of Burrishoole Abbey. Here, you will begin the evening with some moongazing. Then, following the north star, you will begin to walk towards Letterkeen while the guides share stories as they carry only candles. This walk will take about 2-3 hours and will traverse different short walks through forest and woodland trails.
Terra Firma’s Dark Sky Stargazing Safari brings you along the Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park as you spend the evening stargazing and hearing mythological legends about the night sky and the constellations. The duration of this walk will be about 2-3 hours
For more information, visit Terra Firma.
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