Are you looking for the best winter walks to blow away the cobwebs and get the whole family out for a seasonal stroll? We asked our readers to share their favourite winter walks for families. Check out our pick of the most wonderful winter walks for families in Ireland to work up an appetite for all the tempting Christmas goodies on offer! So grab your walking shoes and winter woolies and get out and about this winter.
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If you get into difficulty while out on a winter walk with the family dial 999 or 112 and ask for mountain rescue.
#1. Inch Beach, Kerry
Despite its name, Inch beach is approximately 6.5km long. It offers outstanding views over Dingle Bay and is the perfect place to blow away the cobwebs on a Winter’s Day. The kids will enjoy seeing the might of the atlantic ocean and running through the sand dunes. There is plenty of parking and you can even drive onto the beach and park there for your walk.
Length & Difficulty: 6.5km Flat surface along sand so easy walking for all ages and you don’t have to go the full length of the beach!
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#2. Lough Key Forest Park, Roscommon
There are many varied and interesting walks in Lough Key Forest Park but our readers recommended Drumman’s Island Trail Loop where you can explore the shores of the lake and loop around Drumman’s Island. You will find a couple of bridges along the way including the beautiful Fairy Bridge. Start at the visitor centre and follow the red signs.
Length & Difficulty: approx 3.5km The terrain is accessible to all as it is mainly along compacted forest roads and footpaths.
For those wanting a longer family walk, you suggest walking part of The Miners’ Way. The loop to follow is marked from the visitors centre with yellow markers and will take you along the shores of Lough Key and through the forest. And best of all, the centre at Lough Key has tea, coffee and a full menu for after your walk.
Length & Difficulty: approx 4.2km The going is easy with a few gentle slopes so suitable for all the family to enjoy a winter walk.
#3. Portumna Forest Park Loop Walk, Galway
Perfect for a family walk says Mum Denise as the paths are wide and mostly flat and in places there is a timber boardwalk. It winds through the trees and along the way there is a great wooden viewing deck overlooking the shores of Lough Derg. From here you can see some of the islands on the lake and get a sense of the size of the lake too. On the way back to the car park, you will pass the duck pond, so be sure to pack some bread to feed the ducks on your family walk.
Length & Difficulty: Approx 1.5km Short & easy with good access for buggies.
Top Tip: Stop in for a visit to Portumna Castle after you have done your walk and visit the kitchen garden and the castle.
#4. Bianconi Loop, Tipperary
A firm favourite with the O’Dwyer family, the Bianconi Loop in the Glen of Aherlow will take you right back to nature as you pass along forest tracks and some minor roads. The track is named after Italian, Charles Bianconi, who ran a horse drawn carriage service for post and passengers that passed through the forest in the 1800’s on a journey from the Glen of Aherlow to Tipperary Town. The trail is marked from the Christ the King statue in the Glen of Aherlow.
Length & Difficulty: 4km. The terrain is easy to walk along but you will need to descend some wooden steps to get to the trail.
Did you know that Coillte Ireland have over 3000kms of marked tracks making up 250+ walks through forests, greenways, national parks and along towpaths?
#5. The Marconi Loop, Galway
Another famous Italian for our next winter walk recommendation. The Marconi Loop begins and ends at the Marconi Station beside the R341 near Clifden in Connemara. The wireless telegraphy station was set up in 1905 by the Italian inventor Gugleimo Marconi. There is no shortage of history on this walk which will take you trough the Derrigimlagh bog made famous when pilots Alcock & Brown crash landed close to the Marconi Station in 1919 after completing the first tans-atlantic flight.
Length & Difficulty: 5km The track is marked with purple arrows and is over bog so is most suited to slightly older children and teens.
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#6. Bray to Greystones Coastal Walk, Wicklow
How about hopping on the DART and getting out at either Bray or Greystones and taking a coastal winter walk with the family to the other station? The route is marked from either station with red arrows and the coastal path will give you stunning views across the Irish Sea to one side and Bray Head rises to the other side. You may also be lucky enough to spot some seals, dolphins or porpoises below or some seabirds flying alongside the cliffs.
Length & Difficulty: 7km approx start from the bandstand in Bray. The coastal paths are well maintained and the walk is suitable for families with slightly older children.
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#7. Derrycassin Woods, Longford
Mum Sabrina told us that her family love to walk in Derrycassin Woods or Derrycassan Woods as they are sometimes known as, in Longford. There is a handy map at the entrance and the paths are flat and well laid out so are ideal for family members of all ages, even those in buggies. You can choose a few different routes including the walled garden, and a walk along the shores of Lough Gowna or a walk along the avenue. There is lots to keep everyone entertained along the way including a boat house, the ruins of Derrycassin House and the ruins of a rath or ringfort. There is a large selection of trees, inculuding spruce and evergreen making this the perfect winter walk for families.
Length & Difficutly: 74 heactares of forest to explore. If you follow one of the 3 main trails, the paths are well maintained and easy to navigate.
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#8. Dún na Rí Forest Park, Cavan
Mum Ruth recommended Dún na Rí Forest Park in Kingscourt, Co Cavan as a great place for some winter walks for families. There are 4 walks to choose from and all have different highlights from The ice House, The Holy Well, Cromwell’s Bridge, Fleming’s Castle ruins to Sarah’s Bridge & Well, the animal statutes and the Duck Pond.
Length & Difficulty: Each route is between 1.5 and 2km. The trails are well maintained and marked making them perfect for families of all ages.
#9. Rossnowlagh Beach, Donegal
This has to be one of my all time favourite places for a family walk anytime of year. Near to both Donegal Town and Ballyshannon, my advice would be to follow signs for the holiday homes and drive onto the beach. (Just don’t get caught by the rising tide!) The beach stretches as far as the eye can see with the wild atlantic to one side and sand dunes to explore on the other. A bracing winter walk the whole family will enjoy and you will certainly blow away any cobwebs. And you are sure to see surfers throughout the year so pack the wetsuits if you fancy a dip!
Length & Difficulty: 2km. When the tide is out, you can walk along the hard sand further down the beach and even push a buggy.
#10. Doneraile Park, Cork
This beautiful park has a choice of walks that can be found on a map in the car park. There is lots to see whatever route you choose says Dad Ken and you can spot swans, kingfishers, deer, ducks and even fish!
Length & Difficulty: The routes vary in length but the longest loop is 5km. There are paths throughout and the park is easily walked by all ages even in the winter months. It does close so check opening times before you travel.
#11. Doughmore Beach, Clare
Doughmore Bay is situated in Doonbeg, Co Clare. The beach is a mecca for surfers and even in winter you might spot the odd one or two in the water. The beach stretches for miles and is safe for all family members to enjoy a brisk winter walk or a slow winter stroll.
Length & Difficulty: 4.5km Sandy surface but hard in winter so ideal for all the family.
#12. Jenkinstown Woods, Kilkenny
Mum Tina tipped us off about the walled garden loop walk in Jenkinstown Woods in Kilkenny. There are other walks that you can do and all of them are marked on a map in the main car-park. You can expect to see many animals and interesting trees and plants along the way. And there are public toilets at the site too.
Length & Difficulty: Walled Garden Loop Walk approx 3km. The walkways are signposted and have well kept paths.
#13. The Phoenix Park, Dublin
Mum Anne asked us to mention the Phoenix Park in Dublin. As one of the largest urban parks in any European city it is perfect for a winter walk with the family. There is loads to do and see including a walk by Áras an Uachtaráin, home of our president, the People’s Gardens, the Magazine Fort, Dublin Zoo and you can spot a host of wildlife including wild deer. So go along and see if you can spot Rudolph on a winter family walk.
Length & Difficulty: The Park is vast and consists of paved walkways and grassland. It is easy terrain for all ages.
#14. Devil’s Bit Mountain, Tipperary
Legend tells us that the devil took a bite out of the mountain and broke a tooth which now stands at the Rock of Cashel. You can access the walking routes from the Devil’s Bit car park in Templemore. There is a bit of a climb involved, but it is worth it when you get to the top and experience the amazing views across the surrounding countryside and stretching as far as the eye can see say the Daly family.
Length & Difficulty: 5km if you follow the purple arrows. There is a bit of climbing involved but it is suitable for all members of the family.
Have you taken any of our winter walks for families or maybe we have missed your favourite walk off our list? Please share you comments in the box below.