Lakes in Ireland aren’t often at the top of visitor’s itineraries, but there are many beautiful spots to see if you take the time. Ireland is so full of spectacular landscapes, from the Cliffs of Moher to the rocky beauty of the Burren, that the lakes are often ignored. However, if you’ve already seen the fantastic ocean views from Dublin and Galway, or you simply want a quieter trip, try something different and plan a trip to an Irish lake. Enjoy the favorite Irish pastime of fishing, spend a few days learning to kayak, or hike in the hills and forests that surround Ireland’s lakes. When you take the time to discover the lakes of Ireland, you will become familiar with another important element of Irish culture and tradition: walking.
Irish families, couples, and groups of friends often go for walks and plan hill-walking vacations. Some of the best itineraries across the country are around lakes. Lough Derg is the second-largest lake on the island of Ireland, with the largest being Lough Neagh in County Ulster, Northern Ireland. Lough Derg is a long narrow lake that stretches across three counties, from Clare to Galway to Tipperary. The lake empties into the famous River Shannon and is a popular place for canoes, kayaks, yachting, and windsurfing. Whether you want to take a sailing course or try your luck at fishing, you will be able to enjoy many adventurous activities at Lough Derg.
Another large lake in Ireland is Lough Corrib. Located in the west of Ireland, Lough Corrib is connected to the sea by the River Corrib, which flows through Galway. There is an island for every day of the year in Lough Corrib—365 in total. From the lake, visitors have fantastic views of the mountains in Connemara, but one of the chief pleasures of visiting this lake is the wildlife. With a bit of luck you will encounter otters, frogs, birds, and a variety of fish. Popular activities at this lake include fishing and boating. Of all the lakes in Ireland, this lake is known for its serenity and peaceful landscapes.
Probably the most famous lakes in Ireland are the lakes of Killarney. These lakes in County Kerry are known for their beauty, the surrounding mountains, and many opportunities for hiking and bicycling trails. There are three major lakes in Killarney: Lough Leane, Muckross Lake, and Upper Lake. If you’re looking for a luxurious place to stay during your trip to Killarney, there is a fabulous hotel located right on the shores of the lake called appropriately, the Lake Hotel. This 4-star option has some of the best views around if you’d rather kick back in the Jacuzzi than hit the hiking trails.
If you want to combine some history with your lake views, head for Glendalough, near the Wicklow Mountains. This sixth-century monastic settlement was built on the shores of two lakes, and today, visitors can not only wander the ruins of the settlement, but also take in the fantastic lake views on an afternoon stroll. From Wicklow to Galway Ireland is full of opportunities to see its crystal-clear waters, and adventurous travelers will thrive in the fresh air and unspoiled landscapes that Irish lakes provide.