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The 4 Best Half Marathons In Ireland

Looking to run 13.1 miles in the Emerald Isle? Here's our pick of the top halfs.

Ireland is prized to be one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, if not in the world.

It is known for its sweeping green landscapes rich with fertile hills and valleys, a beautiful coastline, charming towns, and the historic yet very welcoming Dublin with its cobblestone streets, taverns, and welcoming culture and community.

Whether you live in Ireland or have always wanted to run a half marathon in Ireland, picking one of the best half marathons in Ireland will give you an opportunity to explore and experience the beautiful countryside or urban areas on your own two feet.

While there are tons of fantastic half marathons in Ireland, we’ve rounded up just a few of the best half marathons in Ireland for 2024!

An Irish countryside.

The 4 Best Half Marathons In Ireland

Here are four of the best 2024 half marathons in Ireland to choose from:

#1: Waterford Viking Half Marathon 

Now in its 12th year, the Waterford Viking Half Marathon has grown to be one of the most popular half marathons in Ireland, and it is certainly one of the best half marathons in Ireland.

Runners get to enjoy the perfect mix of history and beauty while running through Waterford City, which is Ireland’s oldest city.

In fact, this historic Irish city was founded in 914 AD by the Vikings and is steeped with centuries of culture, heritage, and adventures that you can soak up for 13.1 miles.

This half marathon is held in the early summer, with a scheduled date of June 23, 2024, so temperatures can be a bit hot. However, the scenery, race atmosphere, and feeling like you’re stepping back in time will make it all worth it.

There is also a full marathon and a couple of shorter races to choose from if your clan has runners looking for different distances but still want to enjoy the best races in Ireland.

A castle in Ireland.

Runners get to trod the same roads Vikings once covered while passing by the medieval wonders of Waterford’s Viking Triangle and remarkable landmarks such as Reginald’s Tower.

You can also rest assured that if medieval history isn’t your thing, you’ll still get what you’d expect scenery-wise from one of the best half marathons in Ireland: breathtaking views of the River Suir and lush greenery.

After all, much of this stunning half marathon in Ireland takes you along the Greenway, a scenic route that highlights the gorgeous natural beauty of the region. 

Overall, it is definitely one of the best half marathons in Ireland and a fun adventure with a varied course you won’t forget.

#2: Cork City Half Marathon 

The Cork City Half Marathon is often considered to be one of the best half marathons in Ireland due to the pleasant course, the friendly atmosphere, and how well the race is organized.

This Ireland half marathon takes runners through the historic and cultural hub that is the city of Cork.

The race starts and finishes on Saint Patrick’s Street, and it is one of the biggest half marathons in Ireland in terms of participation.

What’s great is that there is a Cork City marathon, 10k, or marathon relay as part of this festive weekend, meaning that all of the runners in your family or clan can join together in the festivities.

People running a marathon.

The marathon relay is becoming increasingly popular, as it is a fun way to participate in a marathon when you aren’t yet ready to tackle the full 26.2 miles on your own.

You might want to consider that option instead of tackling the half yourself if you like the idea of running with a team. You can read more about the benefits and what it is like to be part of a marathon relay team here.

In terms of the Cork City half marathon route, it is generally described to be a flat and fast half marathon in Ireland.

That said, because Ireland certainly has its share of hills and dales, there are some rolling sections, so what might be considered the “flattest half marathon in Ireland“ isn’t necessarily pancake flat in the way you might find in other parts of the British isles.

However, the course is generally pretty forgiving, with most of the hills in the middle.

One great thing about this half marathon is that the organizers welcome walkers, making it one of the best half marathons in Ireland for beginners.

Note that the roads do open back up to traffic after 3.5 hours, but you can keep going.

Overall, while runners love this Ireland half marathon, it takes place at the end of June so temperatures can be quite hot on race day and there are sometimes complaints that there are not enough water stations.

If you decide that the Cork City Half Marathon is indeed the right choice for you on this list of the best half marathons in Ireland (it does have a lot going for it), you might want to consider wearing a hydration pack.

The Irish countryside.

#3: Dingle Half Marathon

The Dingle Half Marathon takes place around the gorgeous Dingle peninsula, with the Dingle Marathon taking place on the same day. 

The half marathon course is beloved for the breathtaking scenery as the courses wind along the beautiful rugged coastline, with some areas affording magnificent views of the Blasket islands. 

The majority of this scenic Ireland half marathon course is right along the sea. The route also takes you through idyllic villages and historical sites. 

Once you have run through the cute village of Ballyferriter, you are treated to special views of Murreagh, before tackling some grueling hills

Though you’ll be panting after this extremely tough section, your work will be rewarded with sweeping views of the entire landscape. It’s by no means an easy course, but it’s absolutely one of the most scenic marathons in the world.

People running a marathon.

#4: Connemara International Half Marathon

The Connemara International Half Marathon (often just called the Connemarathon half) is part of the larger Connemarathon race weekend, which started with the full marathon back in 2001.

Due to the increasing popularity of the half marathon distance and of this particular marathon in Ireland itself, there is now the beloved Connemara International Half Marathon added to the docket.

While the full marathon distance is still more popular for this particular race, the Connemara International Half Marathon is growing in size every year as well, as many runners are looking for the best half marathons in Ireland as either a stepping stone to the full marathon distance or just as a veritable “A goal” in an of itself.

After all, running 13.1 miles through the rugged Irish landscape is no easy task.

The majority of finishers of the Connemara International Half Marathon speak very highly and give rave reviews, calling the Connemarathon Half one of the best half marathons in Ireland, if not one of the best half marathons in the Britain.

The Connemara Half Marathon is definitely one of the most beautiful half marathons in Ireland, and runners will get to enjoy the stunning scenery of the rugged mountains and crystal-clear glacial lakes.

People running a marathon.

The course profile shows that this is indeed a rather hilly half marathon (with about 700 feet of net elevation gain, much of which occurs in the last couple of miles), so if you are looking to set a half marathon PB, this may not be the best choice.

However, for those who want a challenge and aren’t necessarily looking to run the fastest half marathon ever, this may indeed be one of the best half marathons in Ireland and one that is certainly worthy to be excited about.

The atmosphere is very friendly and the beauty of Ireland cannot be understated in this particular Irish course.

Another benefit of the Connemara International Half Marathon is that there is a full marathon and ultra marathon on the same day. 

The organizers allow registered participants to switch distances, though there is an official procedure to do so.

Therefore, make sure you look into how to properly transfer entries into a different event if that is your persuasion as race day approaches.

This means that if your half marathon training goes really well, you can bump up to the full marathon or even the ultra marathon.

People running a marathon.

Or, if you are personally more than content running the half marathon distance but you have a mate who wants to tackle one of the best ultramarathons in Ireland, they can join you on race day and take part in the Connemara International Ultramarathon!

The Connemara International Half Marathon is one of the best beginner-friendly half marathons in Ireland as well.

Despite the fact that the route is hilly and has some undulating twists and turns, there is a generous cut-off time of about 6.5 hours. 

Covering 13.1 miles in 6.5 hours gives you almost 30 minutes to walk/jog each mile.

This means that you can definitely walk the entire half marathon and still officially finish before the finish line is taken down around 5:30 PM. 

Did you find a half marathon in Ireland that you want to train for in 2024?

Check out some of our free half marathon training plans here to get started right away!

A runner looking down at their watch.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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