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Dublin: 15°C Wednesday 27 October 2021

4 events for... hillwalkers and hikers who want to see Ireland at its best

Just like Bono said: Get on your boots.

SUMMER IS HERE. OK, it might be raining right now, but we’ve had one glorious weekend and there’s no going back.

Time to strap on the walking boots and get out into the landscape. Here are four events over the next few days that are perfect for anyone who prefers to see the countryside with their feet.

1. Explore the hills and valleys of Cavan

When: Right now, finishing tomorrow (Friday 11 May)

Where: All over Cavan

Now in its eighth year, The Cavan Walking Festival offers a host of hikes, rambles and treks all over the county – each one led by an experienced guide. If you’re looking for something different, try a night walk – or there are also fitness trails for those looking for a more physical kick.

2. Walk from Darkness Into Light

Darkness Into Light Dungarvan #DIL #darknessintolight #pietahouse #suicideawareness

A post shared by Darkness Into Light Worldwide (@darknessintolight_worldwide) on

When: Saturday May 12, 4.15am (exact start times vary)

Where: 170 locations around the world

Definitely a walk rather than a hike, but there’s no better excuse to get the shoes on than the annual Pieta House Darkness Into Light walk. More than 180,000 people last year took part in this suicide awareness event, and many describe the walk – which is designed to bring you across the finish line as the sun rises – as a powerful emotional experience. Sign up here.

3. Hike your way around pretty Dunmore East

Source: Shutterstock/Sue Burton PhotographyLtd

When: Saturday May 12 and Sunday May 13

Where: Dunmore East, Co Waterford

Dunmore East is one of the prettiest coastal villages in the country, with a reputation for good food and pubs too. This walking weekend promises guided coastal walks with a ‘moderate challenge’ – followed by music in the pubs at night.

4. Hike (and share other adventures) with a crowd of singles

Source: Clare Island Adventures

When: Friday May 11 – Sunday May 13

Where: Clare Island

This, the website emphasises, is not a dating event. Instead, it’s an opportunity to enjoy hiking (plus other adventure activities like swimming and obstacle racing) in the company of other singles. “There’s something about adventure in the great outdoors – particularly the more high-adrenaline activities – that bonds people quickly,” as the website suggests. “And because the focus isn’t on potential romance, there is no awkwardness either.”

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