How long will it take?
There is no way of giving one estimated time of how long it would take to walk the entire IAT Ulster-Ireland as this is dependent on several factors including your ability and speed. Other factors include the weather and whether you plan to walk the route in one go or take it in sections. However depending on your fitness level it is anticipated it would take on average 9 days to complete (based on an average of 20 miles walked per day).
I don’t have time to walk the whole route, what sections should I pick?
The IAT Ulster-Ireland is made up of 11 sections and is ideal for a range of walkers from those looking to complete a long distance trail in one go as a ‘thru-hike’ to those only wanting to explore sections of the route over a week, multiple days or just one day.
If you don’t have time to walk the entire route, walking a section of the IAT Ulster-Ireland is encouraged.
To help you plan your time exploring the trail we have pulled together some of our top suggested itineraries depending on how long you want to walk for.
A list of suggested itineraries of the route can be found here.
What if I only walk to do a short walk along the trail?
Check out our list of short walks (typically under 5 miles) on the IAT Ulster Ireland here.
What services will I need?
You will find accommodation and food and drink services here.
In areas where the trail is more rurally located, shuttle services to and from your accommodation will be needed and if more information on the trail is required, walking providers can be booked – a full list of walking providers and shuttle services can be found here.
Wi-Fi, hot water, and other amenities will be available from the majority of accommodation along the route.
What gear should I bring?
We recommend you carry everything you need including waterproof jacket and trousers, a complete change of clothing, first aid kit, map, compass, directions, food and water. The beauty of the IAT Ulster-Ireland is that it does pass through a number of towns and villages so there is plenty of opportunities to stock up on supplies. However, some sections are very rural so again good preparation is key. The route is long and not always on paths so sections can be quite muddy and over uneven terrain therefore a good pair of walking boots are essential. We recommend wearing high visibility clothing to be safe.
We ask all those walking the trail to think carefully about the walking gear you bring before heading out onto the trail. Visit the Adventure Smart website for useful hints and tips on making sure you have the appropriate gear and skills to keep you safe whilst enjoying the great outdoors.
Do I have to be super fit to explore the trail?
The trail should be taken at a pace you are comfortable with. There are some strenuous sections along the route which require a good level of fitness as well as knowledge of walking through mountain environments. However, there are also lots of fantastic sections that can be enjoyed as short walks, providing you have a basic level of fitness.
What will the weather be like?
The Island of Ireland’s climate is oceanic, with quite cold, rainy winders and mild, relatively rainy summers. The spring and autumn are usually milder but can be windy and damp. For more detailed information on the weather, visit Climates to Travel.
What direction should I walk the trail?
The official start point of the IAT Ulster-Ireland is Sliab Liag in County Donegal with the route travelling east into Northern Ireland and down the east coast to the end point in Larne.
Is wild camping permitted along the trail?
Camping is only permitted at designated camping sites along the route.
Who manages the land?
The IAT Ulster-Ireland is managed by Donegal Local Development Company, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Mid Ulster District Council, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
Are there shuttle buses or public transport that i can avail of?
Public transport along some sections of the trail is limited so you should plan how you will travel in advance of walking the trail.
Public Transport in Northern Ireland
We encourage you to use Translink Buses to shuttle between locations. Translink offer a fantastic shuttle service for walkers called the Causeway Rambler for those exploring the Causeway Coast & Glens section of the IAT Ulster-Ireland. To help plan we encourage you to download the Translink Journey Planner App: https://www.translink.co.uk/usingtranslink/OurApps/journeyplanner
Where public bus services are not available we encourage you to use local taxis and see if your accommodation provider offer a pick up and drop off service.
Public Transport in Donegal
There are a number public transport providers in Donegal. Some of them also do runs from Scotland into Donegal.
- Bus Eireann (www.buseireann.ie )
- McGeehan coaches (http://www.mcgeehancoaches.com/)
- John McGinley coaches (https://www.johnmcginley.com/ )
- Bus Feda (https://busfeda.ie/)
- Local Link (https://locallinkdonegal.ie/)
Pick up and drop off services are also offered by a number of accommodation providers and walking tour guides in the area. You should ask about this when booking.