Oak Glen, Co Wicklow

My arms are around you, and I lean
Against you, while the lark
Sings over us, and golden lights, and green
Shadows are on your bark.

J M Synge, 1871-1909

Art O'Neill Walk, Co Wicklow

In early January, robust hikers trek for over 50 km through the Wicklow mountains. The long walk starts at midnight on a weekend around 6 January from Dublin Castle to recall the escape from there of Red Hugh O'Donnell and Art O'Neill in the severe winter of 1592.


Paris is a great city for walkers because the main attractions are within a compact area. Use the metro for easy access to the best walking routes. Near the Abbesses station decorated in Art Nouveau style, climb steep steps or take the funicular to the top. 

Delgany, Co Wicklow

Start in the village centre where naturalist and film-maker Eamon de Buitlear unveiled an information unit, including a Delgany Heritage Trail map. Follow the way-marked signs to the Gothic Christ Church. Opposite, descend on Jacob's ladder to Three Trout Stream, probably derived from ‘tri droichead'- three bridges.

Walks: Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow

Visit ruins of a medieval church amd the stroll for a few hours on a shingle beach along the Murrough. Take care when crossing the railway near the car park. A bronze plaque recalls that guns were landed here in 1914 for the Irish volunteers. Turn south on a level path parallel with rail tracks.

Walks: Budapest, Hungary

Stroll along the cultural route linking the castle district in old Buda with the city park in Pest. Theatres, museums, churches, art galleries and cafes enliven the way. High above the Danube, Buda was a strategic site during Turkish and Austrian rule. Restored after World War II, the castle area is ideal for walking. Reflecting diverse styles, the Royal Palace houses the National Gallery where art depicts Hungary's turbulent history.

Walks: Ramelton, Co Donegal

The O'Donnells had a castle here before the Gaelic chieftains were defeated in the 17th Century. In the Ulster plantation, the Stewarts built a town for Scottish and English settlers. Their legacy is evident in Ramelton's architectural heritage. 

Walks: The Basin, Blessington St, Dublin

‘The  Secret Garden' north of Parnell Square near Berkeley Street is within walking distance of the city centre. Two centuries ago, the Basin supplied water to the city from Lough Owel via the Royal Canal. Later, water was provided exclusively to whiskey distilleries. In the 1990s, spurred by a local action group, City Council refurbished the Basin. The parks department installed new railings, seating bays, mural sculptures and old-style lampposts.

Walks: Wicklow town and beach

Visit historic sites in the town. The statue of Billy Byrne, a pikeman of 1798 is sometimes dressed in local football colours. The Old Gaol includes a café, heritage displays and genealogy centre where I traced my Wicklow roots. Captain Halpin's memorial recalls maritime traditions.