Aloha, Animal Amigos! It looks like we're finally getting the sun we all deserve, and just in time for the end of June. Thankfully, July and August are still ahead with (hopefully) warm evenings, bright mornings, and excellent opportunities to get out and about with your pets.

With the previous in mind we've been busy looking over maps, poring over engineer drawings, and scouring archives and vaults to bring you the most comprehensive list we've ever attempted — 11 Great Walks For You and Your Pet. But, before we get to the good part, we have some formalities to go through; things you'll need, things you'll want, and things you'll have to keep in mind. Oh, and did we mention we have a Walking Hamper up for grabs? Well, now you know!

Without further ado, walk this way...

Dog Walking Do's and Don'ts:

Like all things in life, there is an etiquette one must adhere to when walking their dog (most of the time, anyway): Use a leash when necessary, always pick up after your dog, respect other walker's space, and respect other walker's dogs. A portion of the places on our list below are fair-game when it comes to leads, but it is important to keep the other three rules in mind. The last thing we want is for your walk to be ruined, or for someone else's!

It's also important to note that some places on our long list may not be suitable for beginners to walk their pet, but we have tried to include a number of locations that are beginner friendly.

Certain places on our list will also require your dog to be leashed by law, others for the safety and well-being of your pet. I'll let you know which walks allow what before we dive into describing how pretty they are. Naturally, you'll need a few things, too. I'll be pointing out some smart buys as we work our way through the list; you might even see some of them in our Walking Hamper! So, let's get to the good part already (and in no particular order)!

The List:

To make things easier, you can click on any of the places below. This will bring you to the respective location on the list. Simples!

Also, to make your life even easier, here a few things you'll definitely need, unless of course you have them already:

Water drinker. Leads. Dog Dirt Bags. Toys. Harnesses. Car guards. Id Tags.


No. 1: Dún na Rí Forest Park, Kingscourt, Cavan

Must be leashed: For safety it is recommended. At least trained to come at command and walk at heel.

What will I need: Snacks for both human and dog. Water drinker. Toys. Dog Dirt Bags.

Amenities on Site: Toilets, picnic area, benches, bins.

Entry Fee: €5 for parking in the forest.

Estimated time of walk: 90 to 120 minutes.

Overall difficulty: 3/5

Satisfaction Factor: 5/5

A stone's throw from Cabra Castle and nestled beyond the hinterlands of Kingscourt town, Dún na Rí forest park has long been a point of pride and joy for the people of Cavan. Originally owned by the Cabra Estate, Coillte Ireland have since taken over the management and maintenance of the 500+ acre forest, ensuring that future generations will be able to enjoy the wondrous beauty and mystery of this ancient landmark.

The forest features three distinct paths which bend and wind through the thousands of trees of Dún na Rí, eventually leading to the giant tree in the middle of the park. This park area is ideal for games of fetch, but beware; a lake and river are close by, both of which are home to ducks and frogs.

Overall, Dún na Rí Forest Park is an excellent place for experienced walkers, especially on a nice day. Beginners may have a hard time with the sheer size of the area, but as long as you keep your pet on a leash, you should have no issues in enjoying one of Ireland's most beloved forest parks. Be sure to throw a coin in Sarah's Well for us!


No. 2: Ardgillan Castle, Balbriggan, Dublin

Must be leashed: Not a necessity. At least trained to come at command and walk at heel.

What will I need: Snacks for dogs. Water drinker. Dog Dirt Bags.

Amenities on Site: Toilets, bins, coffee shop, playground.

Entry Fee: Free, but check closing times.

Estimated time of walk: 60 minutes.

Overall difficulty: 1/5

Satisfaction Factor: 5/5

Ardgillan isn't just a park with a lovely Castle in the centerof it, it's a day out for the entire family and best of all, it's entirely free. Slap-bang in the middle of Balbriggan and Skerries, Ardgillan Castle is right on the sea and features stunning views from atop luscious green hills.

The park and gardens are fully dog friendly, so long as you have a leash and dog dirt bags in-case there are any accidents. With 26 acres of wild-flower meadows, be sure to bring as many toys as you can if you want to get the most out of your time here!

Ardgillan Castle is arguably the first location on our list to be completely family friendly. There's a playground for the kids, the castle and barbecue for the adults, and wide open grounds for your favourite four-legged friend. This place has something for everyone and we guarantee you won't be disappointed, especially if you get the right weather!


No. 3: Mellifont Abbey Grounds, Collon, Louth

Must be leashed: Occasionally a necessity. Ideally trained.

What will I need: Snacks for dogs. Water drinker. Dog Dirt Bags.

Amenities on Site: None as such.

Entry Fee: Free, but parking may be an issue.

Estimated time of walk: 40 minutes.

Overall difficulty: 1/5

Satisfaction Factor: 4/5

Home to some of the last remaining monks in Ireland, Mellifont Abbey is situated in the hills above Collon town and is surrounded by lush farm and forest land. While the abbey itself is the main attraction, the walk leading up to it and the grounds around it are why it is here. Parking is available in Collon town or up at the Abbey.

When you're walking along the narrow stretch of tarmac after passing the entrance, you'll soon realise why so many people are choosing to do the same. Also of note is the small waterfall at the gates and the garden centre, though be sure to check beforehand if your pooch would be welcome there. Aside from that, there's little else, but the abbey's grounds hold a dark secret...

Well, it's a nice secret, it's just dark where the secret is located. Directly across the green from the abbey is the Witch's Wood; a small copse with twisting trees, choking roots, and tight spaces. The Witch's Wood holds a special place in my heart along with some fond childhood memories. Now, I hope that I can share this special place with you and your dog! Just be sure to close the gate after you're finished.


No. 4: Ravensdale Woods, Dundalk, Louth

Must be leashed: Occasionally a necessity. Ideally trained.

What will I need: Snacks for dogs. Water drinker. Dog Dirt Bags.

Amenities on Site: None as such.

Entry Fee: Free, but plan to go up well in advance.

Estimated time of walk: 90 minutes.

Overall difficulty: 3/5

Satisfaction Factor: 4/5

The second of Coillte's entries on our list, Ravensdale Forest is a much loved part of the Dundalk area. Situated a short distance from the North side of the town and not a million miles from Jonesboro, the forest is home to three different trails; the biggest of which is the most popular. Special care needs to be taken as horses and riders commonly use the forest for hacking and excursions of their own.

The path is well worn through the forest, but an unleashed dog can still become quickly lost, if not injured. Keep an eye on your pooch if you do decide to let them off the leash, more than you would have in Dún na Rí.

Ravensdale Forest and the surrounding area is really what it's all about; beautiful sights, intriguing smells, strange noises... And that's just for your dog! For us humans, one of the nicest things is watching sun rays break through the leaves. Ravensdale has something for all, you need only look.


No. 5: Old Ardee Railway, Ardee, Louth

Must be leashed: Not a necessity. Ideally trained.

What will I need: Snacks for dogs. Water drinker. Dog Dirt Bags.

Amenities on Site: Bins.

Entry Fee: Free, but check parking on Main Street.

Estimated time of walk: 45 minutes.

Overall difficulty: 1/5

Satisfaction Factor: 4/5

Hidden away in the middle of Ardee, the Old Railway Line has recently undergone a beautiful transformation, changing it from a forgotten part of an ageing gateway town, to a point of pride and pleasure in a town moving with the times. The entrance is somewhat hard to find, situated off the main street, but if you're looking for the old Castleguard Complex in Ardee, you'll find the Old Railway Line. Alternatively, just ask a local Ardonian.

The Railway Line isn't a difficult walk at all, seeing as it is essentially a straight path. It follows the Ardee Link Road for about two miles before tapering off towards the farms and fields at the town's outskirts. It is the first mile we care about the most; now smothered in the colours of blooming flowers and blossoming buds, the soundtrack to which provided by the sweet chirps of birds and the playful rustling of the wind through the leaves.

Overall, it is a simple walk with no hidden extras. Simply beautiful, simply satisfactory. It is a trail suited to all levels of dog walkers and is more than ideal for groups of two to four. Just be sure to pick up after your pet and always be aware of others 'walking the line' (Mr. Cash would be proud).


No. 6: Blackrock Beach, Blackrock, Louth

Must be leashed: Not a necessity. Ideally trained.

What will I need: Snacks for dogs. Water drinker. Dog Dirt Bags.

Amenities on Site: Bins, shops, seats.

Entry Fee: Free, but check parking on Main Street.

Estimated time of walk: 30 minutes.

Overall difficulty: 1/5

Satisfaction Factor: 5/5

Spanning the length of Blackrock's Main Street, Blackrock beach has been a mainstay for walkers, sand castle builders, and dog enthusiasts in Dundalk for as long as people have been living there. Funny enough; on a clear Summer's day, one can see Clogherhead's pier all the way to the South-East.

Blackrock Beach is a beach, a simple beach across the wall from an idyllic seaside town. It really does beg the question - "what more could you ask for?". Less really is more and we think you'll agree once you see the sun start to set behind the sand, showering a few puddles with that last red glare of light. Even your dog will be speechless.

If the beach isn't your thing, Blackrock has a promenade that spans the length of the town; an excellent back-up plan if you don't fancy getting your car destroyed with sand, too. A lead is a good thing to have here, and dog dirt bags, but don't forget; other dog walkers also like to frequent this beach, so it might be worthwhile having an anxiety remedy. But, then again, all dogs are friends (just ask us!).


No. 7: Old-Bridge, Drogheda, Louth/ Meath

Must be leashed: Not a necessity. Ideally trained.

What will I need: Snacks for dogs. Water drinker. Dog Dirt Bags.

Amenities on Site: Occasional bins.

Entry Fee: Free, but parking spaces may be an issue.

Estimated time of walk: 60-90 minutes.

Overall difficulty: 2/5

Satisfaction Factor: 4/5

Aptly named, Old Bridge runs under the new Mary McAleese bridge on the M1 and has recently been developed into a quaint riverside walk. Featuring barriers separating the road from the path, this River Walk is an ideal stretch for evening strolls with your dog.

Its location makes it a little tricky to find, and also hampers parking quite a bit, but if you're looking for the Battle of the Boyne Visitor Center you'll no doubt find the Old Bridge River Walk. It can be accessed via Drogheda or by shooting off the Slane road when you see the signs for the Visitor Center.

The usual tools of the trade are necessary here, but I should also mention that for most of these places you'll need a Car Boot Guard. This device separates the rear boot space from the rear seats, meaning you can see your dog, but he can't dirty the back of your lovely new Focus. It's a win-win situation!


No. 8: Phoenix Park and the War Memorial Gardens, Phoenix Park, Dublin

Must be leashed: In certain parts of the Gardens.

What will I need: Dog Dirt Bags. Dog treats.

Amenities on Site: Occasional bins. Benches.

Entry Fee: Free, but parking may cost after the first 2 hours.

Estimated time of walk: 45-60 minutes.

Overall difficulty: 3/5

Satisfaction Factor: 4/5

Aside from being in Phoenix Park — the ultimate dream for any dog — the War Memorial Gardens are a wonder of architectural genius that even your pet will be able to appreciate. Constructed in remembrance of all the Irish soldiers who gave their life during the Great War (1914 - 1918), the Memorial Gardens are worth a visit even without a pet.

As I've mentioned above, certain parts of the gardens are off-limits to pets. This is out of respect for the gardens themselves and for the local wildlife which frequent the area. Even so, 75% of the gardens are available for pets. And if you find its not to your liking, the rest of Phoenix Park is open to explore!

Like the rest of the list, you'll need the usual bits and bobs, but it would also be worth your while bringing a few toys for games of fetch and tug-of-war. Just don't start playing in the middle of the gardens, save the games for the rest of the park!


No. 9: Fore Abbey and Forest, Fore Village, Westmeath

Must be leashed: Not a necessity. Ideally trained.

What will I need: Snacks for dogs. Water drinker. Dog Dirt Bags.

Amenities on Site: Occasional bins.

Entry Fee: Free, but early evening is the best time for parking.

Estimated time of walk: 45-60 minutes.

Overall difficulty: 2/5

Satisfaction Factor: 5/5

Like a well kept secret, Fore Village is a place not many people outside of the general vicinity of Oldcastle know about. And, like an even better kept secret, the Abbey there is a place of true beauty that nearly no one knows about, with a splendid forest walk to boot.

The abbey, the forest, and the walk back to your car should take no more than 50 minutes, but on an especially nice evening you'll want to take all the time in the world. The satisfaction scale only goes as high as 5 — personally, I'd rate this walk a 6. I can't tell you how nice it is even using all the words in my tongue; you and your dog need to experience it.

Fore Abbey is open to all, and the nature trail is a must for any Retrievers or Collies out there, but do be sure to bring a few dog dirt bags. Fore is a rarity, and a clean rarity at that, so while visiting be kind. It'll make the whole experience much more rewarding and you'll be welcome back any time!


No. 10: Slane River Trail, Slane, Meath

Must be leashed: For safety it is a necessity. The river's edge has no railings. Training is a requirement.

What will I need: Dog Dirt Bags. Snacks for human and dog.

Amenities on Site: None as such.

Entry Fee: Free.

Estimated time of walk: 45 minutes.

Overall difficulty: 3/5

Satisfaction Factor: 5/5

A slightly more difficult walk, the Rampart Trail in Slane runs along the Boyne River for nearly 2km and is used by nearly all residents in the nearby town. The only thing to be careful of is that the land past Slane Castle is privately owned, so do be aware for any signs that you may be trespassing.

A beautiful nature trail in its own right, the Rampart Walk is also home to an abundance of flora and fauna native to the wild Irish countryside. This is where a leash comes in handy, preventing your pet from running off in pursuit of a hare, or perhaps fancying themselves a trout fresh from the river. For this reason, the difficulty of this walk is elevated.

With a sturdy lead and a determination to enjoy one of Ireland's finest riverside walks, we're sure it'll end up being a common staple of your weekly routine, especially if you're living in the vicinity. There's also a great chipper in Slane too, if you wish to balance out all that exercise!


No. 11: Downpatrick Head, Ballycastle, Mayo

Must be leashed: For safety it is a necessity. The cliff edge has no railing and sheep commonly patrol the grounds.

What will I need: Dog Dirt Bags. Wind Proof Clothes. Nerves of Steel.

Amenities on Site: None as such.

Entry Fee: Free.

Estimated time of walk: 30 minutes.

Overall difficulty: 5/5

Satisfaction Factor: 5/5

Not so much a walk as it is a brief stroll, Downpatrick Head in Co. Mayo is a sight to behold all-the-same. Featuring wind-swept bluffs, crags, blow-holes, and one of the most beautiful stacks in Ireland; Downpatrick Head will literally and figuratively blow you away.

It's actually a bit of a spin from Ballycastle town, but the drive up to the Head will leave you breathless; the subsequent view upon reaching the Head you'll be truly gasping. Take some time to enjoy the blow-hole observation area, the statue of St. Patrick, and the stack Dun Briste; a remnant of one of St. Patrick's greatest feats.

Your dog should be kept on a lead at all times here. The cliff edge is sheer, a few wandering sheep patrol the fields, and it can be very easy for your dog to become lost. We recommend Downpatrick Head only to the most experienced dog walkers, and as such, it is the reason why it is the final location on our list.

Walk and Win:

Well, seeing as you've made it this far I suppose we should fill you in on our walking hamper up for grabs — The Paw Pack, a survival kit filled with essentials for any dog walk. Head on over to our Facebook or Instagram page and tag us in a photo of yourself and your best friend out for a walk. You'll be automatically entered into a draw to receive this gorgeous hamper worth up to €150! It has everything you'll need to enjoy every walk listed in this (almost) exhaustive article. Get snapping, get walking, get winning!

Signing Off:

Whether you'll be walking, running, jogging or strolling, we're adamant you'll find a new favourite destination somewhere on our list. Don't forget to tag us in your posts to be in with a chance to win our awesome hamper above. Bonus points if you go as far as Downpatrick Head for your walking photo.

Found a walk of your own? Know of a copse that you want to share? Tag us again in a picture of your favourite location for a stroll and you could see it on one of these posts in the future!

For now, we'll see you in the next one!

All photo credits belong to their respective owners. They are used in a purely educational capacity for showcasing each location.