The Top Irish Marathons for Runners: A Guide to Racing Through Scenic Routes
The Top Irish Marathons for Runners: A Guide to Racing Through Scenic Routes

The Top Irish Marathons for Runners: A Guide to Racing Through Scenic Routes

For runners seeking a new challenge, Irish marathons offer some of the most stunning routes in the world. With lush green hills, rugged coastlines, and vibrant cities, Ireland provides a backdrop that is as breathtaking as it is exhilarating. Here are some of the top Irish marathons for runners to explore.

Dublin Marathon

The Dublin Marathon is one of the most popular races in Ireland and attracts thousands of participants from all over the world. The course takes runners on a tour of the city, starting and finishing at Fitzwilliam Square. Along the way, you’ll pass by some of Dublin’s most iconic landmarks, including Phoenix Park, Trinity College, and the River Liffey.

Cork City Marathon

The Cork City Marathon is another must-do event for runners in Ireland. The race begins and ends at the historic St. Patrick’s Street in the heart of Cork City. The course takes runners through the city’s picturesque streets, along the banks of the River Lee, and through the scenic Lee Valley.

Dingle Marathon

If you’re looking for a challenge, the Dingle Marathon is a perfect choice. The race takes runners on a breathtaking tour of the Dingle Peninsula, one of the most beautiful areas in Ireland. The course includes steep climbs, rugged coastlines, and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.


The ConneMarathon is held in one of the most scenic areas of Ireland. The course winds its way through the rugged landscape of Connemara, passing by lakes, mountains, and historic landmarks. This race offers runners a true test of endurance, with some challenging hills along the way.

Killarney Running Festival

The Killarney Running Festival is a two-day event that takes place in the scenic town of Killarney. The festival includes a variety of races, including a marathon, half marathon, 10k, and 5k. The courses take runners through the beautiful Killarney National Park and offer stunning views of the Lakes of Killarney.

Wexford Marathon

The Wexford Marathon is a relatively new addition to the Irish marathon scene, but it’s quickly gaining popularity. The course takes runners through the scenic countryside around Wexford, passing by historic castles, picturesque villages, and the stunning coastline.

Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon

The Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon takes runners along the scenic coastline of West Cork, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. The course is relatively flat, making it a good choice for runners looking to set a new personal best.

Tralee Marathon

The Tralee Marathon takes runners on a tour of the beautiful town of Tralee, passing by historic landmarks, charming streets, and the stunning Tralee Bay. The course includes a mix of flat and hilly sections, providing a good challenge for runners of all abilities.

Galway Bay Marathon

The Galway Bay Marathon takes runners along the scenic coast of Galway Bay, offering breathtaking views of the sea and the surrounding landscape. The course includes some challenging hills, but the stunning scenery makes it all worth it.

In conclusion, Irish marathons offer runners a unique opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful parts of the country while challenging themselves to achieve their best. Whether you’re looking for a scenic coastal route or a challenging mountainous course, Ireland has something to offer every runner. So, pack your running shoes and get ready to experience the thrill of racing through some of the most picturesque routes in the world.

What to consider when picking your first marathon

Picking your first marathon can be an exciting and daunting task. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing the right marathon for you:

  1. Location: Consider where you want to run your first marathon. Do you want to stay close to home or travel to a new destination? Running a marathon in a location that inspires you can be motivating and rewarding.
  2. Course difficulty: Be honest with yourself about your fitness level and choose a course that is appropriate for your experience. A flat course with few hills might be best for first-time marathoners.
  3. Time of year: Consider the time of year and weather conditions when choosing a marathon. Running in extreme heat or cold can make the race more challenging and less enjoyable.
  4. Registration cost: Marathons can be expensive, so consider the registration cost when choosing a race. Some marathons also require participants to fundraise for charity, which can add an extra challenge.
  5. Amenities: Look for marathons that offer the amenities that are important to you, such as aid stations, medical support, and transportation to the starting line.
  6. Race size: Consider the size of the race you want to participate in. Some runners prefer smaller races for a more intimate experience, while others enjoy the energy and excitement of larger races.
  7. Time limit: Make sure to check the time limit for the race. Some marathons have strict time limits, which can be stressful for first-time marathoners.
  8. Personal goals: Set realistic personal goals for your first marathon. Do you want to finish the race, beat a certain time, or simply enjoy the experience? Choose a race that aligns with your goals.

By considering these factors, you can find the perfect first marathon that will challenge and inspire you to achieve your goals. Remember to train well, listen to your body, and enjoy the experience. Good luck!

Which are the easiest and toughest Irish Marathons

It’s difficult to definitively categorise Irish marathons as the easiest or toughest, as each race has its own unique course and set of challenges. However, here are a few Irish marathons that could be considered relatively easy or tough based on their course characteristics:

Easiest Irish Marathons

  1. Dublin Marathon – The course is mostly flat and takes runners through the heart of the city, making it a relatively easy course for first-time marathoners.
  1. Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon – The course is relatively flat and takes runners along the scenic coastline of West Cork.

Toughest Irish Marathons

  1. Dingle Marathon – The course takes runners through the challenging terrain of the Dingle Peninsula, with steep climbs and rugged coastlines.
  2. Connemara Marathon – The course includes some challenging hills and takes runners through the rugged landscape of Connemara.
  3. Tralee Marathon – The course includes a mix of flat and hilly sections, with some challenging uphill sections towards the end of the race.

Keep in mind that the level of difficulty of a marathon can also depend on a runner’s individual fitness level and experience. It’s important to choose a marathon that is appropriate for your own fitness level and experience, and to train well in advance of the race.