National Waymarked Trails

National Waymarked Trails

When I’m not hiking, I’m usually either thinking about or planning my next hike. I have found that the Ireland’s National Waymarked Trails are always a good starting point for these big dreams. There are currently 45 walking routes in Ireland that are classified as “National Waymarked Trails”. The variety in distances on offer means that there is something to suit everyone. Each trail needs to meet certain criteria to be classified as a National Waymarked Trail. The criteria is set out by Sport Ireland and gives a level of comfort to walkers about the standard of the trail.

What Makes a National Waymarked Way?

Some general rules that the National Waymarked Trails need to adhere to are:

  • There should be an opportunity to stop for food/drink every 20 – 30km along the route. This is classified as a service provider (shop, pub, café) within 3km of the trail.
  • Where possible, rest areas or picnic areas to be made available at appropriate intervals.
  • There should be accommodation options at the start and end of the trail and where possible every 20-30km on longer trails.
  • The target is to have at least 80% of the trail not on public roads.
  • Parking should be available at the trail starting points.
  • Signs or waymarking information is provided at any junction along the trail (e.g. if not clear which direction the trail takes) and reassurance waymarkings should be in place every 500m to 1km along straight stretches of the route.

The Sport Ireland site is a good resource for anyone interested in planning to hike any of the 44 trails. They have details about distance, difficulty level, total ascent and a brief description/map for each route. However, they don’t seem to publish a full list of all National Waymarked Trails. Which is a pity because there is a lot of conflicting information out there as to how many National Waymarked Trails there actually are!

The trails themselves range in distance from the Multeen Way in Tipperary which is 23km to the Ulster Way which is a massive 1,000km!

Complete List of National Waymarked Ways

I have set out a table below which lists each of the 44 National Waymarked Trails in order of distance:

NumberTrailKmStart PointEnd Point
1Multeen Way23Milestone, TipperaryTipperary Town
2Leitrim Way56Leitrim VillageManorhamilton
3Cavan Way26Dowra, CavanBlacklion, Cavan
4Westmeath Way33Kilbeggan, WestmeathMullingar, Westmeath
5Nore Valley Way34Kilkenny CityInistioge, Co. Kilkenny
6Offaly Way37Cadamstown, OffalyLemanaghan, Offaly
7Táin Way40Carlingford, LouthCarlingford, Louth
8Dublin Mountain Way42Tallaght, DublinShankhill, Dublin
9Slieve Felim Way43Murroe, LimerickSilvermines, Tipperary
10North Kerry Way48Tralee, KerryBallyheigue, Kerry
11Slí Gaeltacht Mhúscraí50Kealkill, CorkMillstreet, Cork
12Slí Na Finne51Fintown, DonegalFintown, Donegal
13Monaghan Way54Clontibret, MonaghanInniskeen, Monaghan
14Western Way – Galway55Oughterard, GalwayLeenane, Galway
15Tipperary Heritage Way56Vee Gap, TipperaryCashel, Tipperary
16Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail61Balla, MayoMurrisk, Mayo
17Bluestack Way65Donegal TownArdara, Donegal
18Slí Cholmcille65Ardara, DonegalArdara, Donegal
19Slí Na Rosann65Dungloe, DonegalDungloe, Donegal
20Duhallow Way67Bweeng, CorkMallow, Co. Cork
21Lough Derg Way68Limerick CityDromineer, Tipperary
22Slieve Bloom Way71Glenbarrow, LaoisGlenbarrow, Laois
23East Munster Way75Carrick-on-Suir, TipperaryClogheen, Tipperary
24Slí An Earagail77Dunlewy, DonegalDunlewy, Donegal
25Sligo Way80Lough Talt, SligoDromahair, Leitrim
26Ballyhoura Way89St. John’s Bridge, CorkLimerick Junction, Tipperary
27Hymany Way90Portumna, GalwayBallygar, Galway
28Avondhu Way94Clogheen, TipperaryBweeng, Cork
29South Leinster Way104Kildavin, CarlowCarrick-on-Suir, Tipperary
30Suck Valley Way105Castlerea, RoscommonCastlerea, Roscommon
31Burren Way114Lahinch, ClareCorrofin, Clare
32Grand Canal Way117Adamstown, Co. DublinShannon Harbour, Offaly
33Barrow Way120Robertstown, KIldareSt. Mullins, Carlow
34Western Way – Mayo124Aasleagh, MayoBallycastle, Mayo
35Miner’s Way and Historical Trail129Arigna, RoscommonDowra, Cavan
36Wicklow Way129Marlay Park, DublinClonegal, Carlow
37Royal Canal Way146Dublin CityCloondara, Longford
38Mid Clare Way148Newmarket on Fergus, ClareNewmarket on Fergus, Clare
39Dingle Way162Tralee, KerryTralee, Kerry
40Sheep Head’s Way175Bantry, CorkBantry, Cork
41East Clare Way180Killaloe, ClareKillaloe, Clare
42Beara Way206Glengariff, CorkGlengariff, Cork
43Kerry Way214Killarney, KerryKillarney, Kerry
44Slí Chonamara220Galway CityOughterard, Galway
45Ulster Way1,000N/a N/a

Further Notes

Some points of clarification are needed for the above table:

  • The Westmeath Way is incomplete. The trail goes from Kilbeggan to Mullingar. However, there is a section in the middle (between Dysart and Ladestown) where walkers are not permitted on the route. As such, walkers will need to complete Westmeath Way in two separate stages.
  • The Nore Valley Way is incomplete. There are three sections to the Nore Valley Way. 1) Kilkenny to Bennetsbridge 2) Bennetsbridge to Thomastown and 3) Thomastown to Inistioge. The second section from Bennetsbridge to Thomastown is under development so similar to the Westmeath Way, this trail will need to be completed in two stints.
  • You will note that 13 of the above National Waymarked Trails are looped walks that start and end at the same location. These are that little bit easier to organise as you can base all your planning around this main location.
  • According to, the Monaghan Way is currently closed.

Larger Routes

To add a little complication to the above list of 44 National Waymarked Trails, a number of the trails combine to form larger routes. There are:

  • The Blackwater way combines the Dunhallow Way and Avondhu Way routes.
  • The Slí Dún na nGall is made of 4 looped National Waymarked Trails.
    • Slí Na Finne;
    • Sli Cholmcille;
    • Slí Na Rosann; and,
    • Slí An Earagail
  • The Beara-Breifne Way is a 500km route from the Beara peninsula in Cork to the Breifne area of Leitrim/Cavan. It more or less follows the march of 17th century Cork chieftain O’Sullivan Beare. It includes the following 12 trails:
    • Beara Way
    • Slí Gaeltacht Mhúscraí
    • The North West Cork Way (not a National Waymarked Trail)*
    • The Ballyhoura Way
    • Multeen Way
    • Ormond Way (not a National Waymarked Trail)*
    • Hymany Way
    • Suck Valley Way
    • Lough Gara Way (not a National Waymarked Trail)*
    • Miner’s Way & Historical Trail
    • Leitrim Way 
    • Cavan Way

*While the above routes are well signposted, they have not been designated as a National Waymarked Way.

  • As you can see, the Ulster Way is a mammoth c. 1,000km route. It is made up of 16 “Quality Sections”. These are well marked out trails predominately off road. These are joined together by “Link Sections” which are not waymarked and mainly on public roads. More information can be found at

Happy Planning

Finally, my personal experience of looking for information on each of the National Waymarked Ways is that it can be confusing. The Sports Ireland website generally gives the best and most detailed information. Be careful when looking at tour operators overviews of trails as they can sometimes only include information on the specific sections of trails that they cater for. So they are not always the best if you are looking for information on the full route.

Anyway, happy planning and happy hiking. I hope this post will be of some help!