Hidden Gems International Appalachian Trail Ulster-Ireland

the Ulster-Ireland section of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) passes through some of the most breathtaking scenery in Ireland.

Discover historic landmarks, dramatic coastlines, rugged mountains, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and a World Heritage Site, all with geological connections to Appalachia.

We’ve compiled our 5 “hidden gems” to discover along this 279-mile coast-to-coast route, which includes both short and long walks.

Assaranca Waterfall, County Donegal

Considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Ireland, its name comes from the Gaelic word “Eas” which means waterfall. The picturesque Assaranca waterfall is just a stone’s throw from the stunning Maghera caves and beach. Stop and admire the winding waterfalls and take a moment to take in the serene atmosphere.

Goles Stone Row in the Sperrins

Hidden in the heart of Ulster are the Vale of Glenelly and the Sperrins; a landscape formed by the movement of ice long ago and its characteristic north-south valley. There are many signs of ancient human habitation in the form of Stone Age monuments along the route, some dating back to the Bronze Age.

Goles Stone Row is an alignment of eleven large individual standing stones, arranged in a line approximately 16 meters long. It is believed that they were associated with rituals to observe the rising moon. The Goles Stone Row is located next to the causeway and clearly signposted near the town of Sperrin.

Gortin Lakes, County Tyrone

The region’s natural mix of peaks, forests, moors, valleys, lakes and rivers make it an obvious favorite for walkers and hikers. Stretching 40 miles, the Sperrins mountain range is Ireland’s largest and least explored mountain range.

For those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle, be sure to save some time after visiting the nearby Gortin Glen Forest Park and enjoy a leisurely walk around the Gortin Lakes which offers spectacular views of Can -to be one of the most beautiful rugged countryside in Ireland.

Set amidst the vast expanse of the Sperrins foothills, the Gortin Lakes have their origins at the end of the Ice Age.

This short off-road walk is laid out in a figure eight shape and people can choose to walk in either direction. The gravel path around the lakes gently undulates, offering the tranquility of calm, deep water on one side and natural habitat and vegetation on the other.

Gortmore Viewpoint, County Derry-Londonderry

Gortmore is a beautiful viewpoint located on Bishop’s Road on the Binevenagh Loop, part of the Causeway Coastal Route. The place overlooks Magilligan Point, Benone Beach and Binevenagh Mountain. On a clear day, breathtaking views stretch over Donegal and the islands of Islay and Jura off the west coast of Scotland. Picnic facilities are available.

A monumental sculpture can also be found on Gortmore: a representation of Manannan Mac Lir, the Celtic sea god and son of the Irish sea god Lir, he is an iconic figure in Irish culture.

Manannan himself towers over the epic vista and stands in a boat, his arms raised majestically skyward. A magnificent, well-crafted statue that pays homage to Irish Celtic mythology and watches over the region.

Fool’s Window, Glenarm, County Antrim

Each of the 9 Glens of Antrim has its own character and beauty and offers unique reasons to visit.

The story goes that a beautiful young woman drowned while swimming in Glenarm Bay and her lover was so distraught that he lost his mind and every day for the rest of his life he watched through the hole in the rock waiting for his return (hence the name Madman’s Window).

The ‘Window’ is just outside the coastal village of Glenarm, where you can enjoy a short walk along the wide limestone path which provides access to the shore. If you like to listen to the waves, you are in for a real treat – the rumble of black and white pebbles rolling with the waves will take all your cares away, you might even find early flints. As you walk, keep your eyes peeled for the steep cliffs to your right to spot seabirds – Fulmar Cormorant, Great Crested Cormorant, Black-headed Gull, Mew Gull, and Northern Gannet.

It’s always a pleasure to see curious seals popping their heads along this part of the coast, hoping to catch a stray salmon around the salmon pens. During this walk, depending on the time of year, you can witness the spectacular show offered by the group of dolphins that visit every year.

Along the Glenarm Coastal Path you will find two large limestone boulders. On the other side of these rocks is the ‘Fool’s Window’, a natural window-like opening in the rock overlooking the Irish Sea.

To keep up to date with IAT Ulster-Ireland developments, you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter Where instagram. You can also find more information about the trail by visiting their website.

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