the best cliff walk along ireland's east coast

The best cliff walk in Ireland is not what you expect nor where you expect it. If you’re searching for an off-the-beaten path experience where locals actually go, head a few hours south of Dublin (or 45 minutes east of Cork) to the little fishing village of Ballycotton.

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Ballycotton is both quaint and picturesque. more working class than upscale, as we found Kinsale to be. After a morning drive along narrow, winding roads, we headed through town to check out the harbor, where colorful boats were docked and fisherman were at work.

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We made our way down to the shore, with a view of the lighthouse in the distance.

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then, it was time to hit the trail. The ballycotton cliff walk is a 5-mile hike from the village of Ballycotton to Ballyandreen. We could not have had a more gorgeous day for our walk - sunshine, blue skies and crisp air that was perfect for moving about.

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while the trail was by no means crowded, the atypical weather brought out many locals who also wanted to enjoy the beautiful day.

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The views from the cliff were stunning, but what really captivated us were the cows grazing in the pasture to the other side of the trail.

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This was by far not our first time seeing cows - but it was our first time up close with Irish cows!

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One of the little nooks for resting that lined the trail.

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more cows! Couldn’t get enough of ‘em.

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Such beautiful views! We wished we had more time to do the full Ballycotton cliff walk, but were only able to do about 1.5 hours round trip. With most of that time spent photographing cows, ha!

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After our walk, we stopped by a pub in the village for a pint and lunch at The Blackbird. It was the perfect way to end our morning visit to Ballycotton.

For more details on the trail and a map, go here.