Now the country is in partial lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, walking is the new social outlet for many.
With new social distancing guidelines in place, many events and social gatherings have been cancelled.
With that in mind, we've rounded up a selection of excellent hikes and trails, chosen by three expert walkers - authors all - which are particularly good in spring.
That means places with the finest bluebell displays, the best newly green woodlands, the most dramatic scenery. The result is 25 great routes across the country.
There are trails here for families with toddlers or buggies, for those looking for a good stretch, and for serious hikers wanting to blow the cobwebs out of their hair after the dark winter.
Each walk listed includes the distance and the time it takes to complete at a moderate pace, as well as directions to the start point.
Most of the routes can be covered without maps, but we have included references to where maps or guides can be found for trickier trails.
Of course, the usual rules apply - wear a pair of broken-in shoes or boots, waterproof gear if the weather is looking dodgy, pack a protein snack and water, charge your mobile phone, and always let someone know if you're setting off on one of the more strenuous hikes.
And the new rules: try avoid popular spots if you're worried about crowds and want to keep your distance.
Here we bring you Munster, Connacht and Ulster.
Getting out in the fresh air can help you cope with the coronavirus lockdown. Today we bring you part two of our beautiful land's best spring walks. Compiled by Helen Fairbairn, Adrian Hendroff and John G O'Dwyer
14. Best for nature lovers
Where: Lough Avalla Farm Loop, Co Clare.
What: A varied outing through an abundance of natural habitats which starts from Mullaghmore Crossroads. Here, a green lane leads towards the Jeuken family organic farm before it dives right into a hazel forest and passes a holy well. Upwards then to spectacular limestone karstlands, which in late spring and summer are a profusion of wild flowers. Fractured limestone benches now lead to a Neolithic burial cairn offering super vistas over the Burren landscape. As the trail gallops east beneath some immense cliffs, your eyes are drawn to the scene-stealing contours of limestone on Mullaghmore - the aptly titled, Queen of the Burren. The route then traverses timeless farmlands before decanting you back at the Jeuken farmyard.
Start/Finish: Mullaghmore crossroads.
Getting there: From the village of Corofin, take the Kilfenora road, turn right at Killinaboy, pass a school and continue to the trailhead, where there is parking.
Level: Easy - ideal for those who enjoy easy rambling.
Length/Time: 6km / 2.5 hours.
Pack: Fleece and raingear, walking poles are useful; but leave the dog behind - this is a mutt-free route.
15. Best for dramatic views
Where: Cnoc na dTobar, Co Kerry.
What: If you love spectacular views, this one is for you. The mountain has been a sacred site since pagan times when the ancient Lughnasa Festival was celebrated on its summit. The trail starts near sublime Coonana Harbour and meanders uphill with great views constantly unfolding. The easy-to-follow path is marked by 14 Stations of the Cross, leading to an imposing Celtic cross on the summit. Here, a majestic 360-degree vista radiates over the Atlantic Ocean, Skellig Rocks, Valentia Island, West Cork, Carrauntoohil, the Blasket islands, the Dingle peninsula and back to MacGillycuddy Reeks. Arguably this is Ireland's finest mountaintop viewing point. Descend by your route of ascent.
Start / Finish: At the Coonanna car park.
Getting there: Leave the N70 Ring of Kerry road to cross the bridge in Cahersiveen. Take the first right and second left, signposted Coonana Harbour. Pass St Fursey's Well and begin from the parking beyond.
Level: Hard - best for seasoned walkers.
Length / Time: 9km / 3 hours.
Pack: Warm clothing, raingear, packed lunch and OS Discovery Sheet 83. Walking poles are useful for descent.
16. Best for pilgrims
Where: St Finbarr's Pilgrim Path, Co Cork.
What: If you are a fit hillwalker who loves connecting with the past, then one of Ireland's oldest pilgrim trails offers an excellent but strenuous outing that is fully waymarked. Genuinely unforgettable, it offers a huge variety of terrain and many memorable vistas. From Kealkill, the waymarkers lead in fine style first over the lovely viewing point of Knockbreteen Hill, onwards then through the isolated Maughra Valley before gaining the Sheehy Mountain plateau beside lonely Lough Fada. Your pièce de résistance comes in the form of a glorious descent into the embrace of the Gougane Barra Valley.
Start/Finish: Start at Carriganass Castle, Kealkill, Co Cork, and finish at St Finbarr's Oratory, Gougane Barra.
Getting there: From Cork city take the N22 for Macroom. Follow the R585 through Crookstown to Kealkill.
Level: Hard - suitable for fit and experienced walkers.
Length / Time: 18km / 7 hours.
Pack: OS Discovery Map 85 and a compass, as well as warm clothing, raingear, packed lunch, walking poles, mobile phone.
17. Best for strollers and whale watchers
Where: Ardmore Cliff Path, Co Waterford.
What: An undemanding outing for coastal views that are truly spectacular. There is a genuine sense of reconnecting with history while something new seems to crop up around every corner. Out to sea, there's always the chance of a whale sighting. From the trailhead, walk uphill to the Cliff House Hotel and on past the early Christian church and well of St Declan. Beyond, the cliff-top path meanders spectacularly around Ardmore Head with great declivities falling to the left until the wreck of the Sampson crane ship comes into view. It was lost in a 1988 storm and has now become a visitor attraction. After rounding Ram Head, you will be rewarded with an outrageously photogenic vista over Youghal Bay and the east Cork coastline. Then it's inland to explore St Declan's Monastery. Occupying a striking hilltop setting, the most prominent landmarks are the 30-metre-high round tower and the now roofless cathedral. Afterwards, it is a short ramble downhill to the trailhead.
Start / Finish: Ardmore Church, Ardmore village.
Getting there: From the N25 (the main Cork to Waterford Road), take the R673 south to Ardmore.
Level: Easy - ideal for casual strollers.
Length / Time: 4.5 km/ about 1 hour.
Pack: A jacket, and OS Discovery Series sheet 82 (you won't really need it though).
18. Best for families
Where: The Millennium Stone Loop, Co Tipperary.
What: Despite rampant globalisation, there are still places far removed from our tourism honeypots where life moves at a gentler pace and, as such, the Millennium Loop makes a splendid outing for all the family. Your exploration begins from Aherlow House Hotel car park and heads uphill, crossing a public road. Walking arrows now point to the outcrop at Rock an Thorabh offering magnificent views of Tipperary and the Slieve Felim Mountains beyond. Continue to a minor road and turn right to reach the Millennium Stone, which was dug from a nearby hillside and depicts the life of Christ. Then follow the arrows along quiet sylvan trails to the great Galtee Mountain viewing point at Christ the King statue. Return to the hotel along a serene nature trail through sublime mixed woodland.
Start / Finish: Aherlow House Hotel, Newtown, Co Tipperary.
Getting there: From Tipperary town take the R664 south. After negotiating a couple of hairpin bends, Aherlow House Hotel is signposted right.
Level: Suitable for families.
Length / Time: 9km/ 3 hours.
Pack: A jacket, OS sheet 66.
19 Best for bluebells and sunsets
Where: Lissadell Woods and Strand, Co Sligo.
What: A pleasant linear walk along a wooded path running between a road and Drumcliff Bay. The walk is located within the boundary of the Lissadell Estate, which was once owned by the Gore-Booth family. Constance Gore-Booth, better known as Countess Markievicz, was an Irish revolutionary who participated in the 1916 Easter Rising. Two years later, she became the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons at Westminster. The woods here are decorated with a carpet of blue and white when bluebells and wild garlic bloom in the spring. The path later continues along the sheltered Lissadell strand where you can enjoy splendid views south to Knocknarea or photograph a stunning Wild Atlantic Way sunset. Look out for seals bobbing in the bay or barnacle geese flying overhead.
Start / Finish: Car park at a lay-by at Lissadell Strand.
Getting there: From Sligo, drive northward along the N15 toward Drumcliff. After the village, turn left into a road signposted Carney. From there, turn left at a junction for Lissadell. After around 2km, turn left into a minor lane towards Lissadell Strand. Reach the parking spot after about 1km.
Level: Easy - suitable for all.
Length /Time: 3km / 1 hour with plenty of time for stops.
Pack: Trainers, camera, hot flask and some snacks.
20. Best for moorland and country views
Where: Slieve Anierin, Co Leitrim.
What: Slieve Anierin is a broad mountain plateau to the east of the massive Lough Allen. The mountain's Irish name, Sliabh an Iarainn or 'mountain of iron' stems from primitive mines in the area celebrated for iron ore and coal. From the post office, follow a small lane with a Yellow Man signpost leading uphill. This leads to a grassy mountain track at an access gate near a concrete plaque. The track later dwindles, but continue to climb until reaching the top of the plateau. Enjoy fine views of cliffs that line up the eastern end of the plateau as you ascend. A dry, clear day helps as the summit area is quite featureless and boggy. A concrete plinth with a rusted metal disc marks the 585-metre top. Extensive views of the Leitrim countryside to the east - best at sunrise - feature prominently during the walk. Look out for white-flowered blackthorn in the spring.
Start /Finish: Aghacashel Post Office.
Getting there: From Drumshanbo, drive north-east along a minor road for around 8km to reach Aghacashel. There are parking spaces near the post office.
Level: Moderate - best for seasoned hikers.
Length / Time: 6.5km/3 hours.
Pack: Good walking boots, a copy of Adrian Hendroff's 'Donegal, Sligo & Leitrim Guidebook' and a map (OS Discovery Series 26).
21. Best for wildlife
Where: Kilronan Castle Woodland Trail, Co Roscommon.
What: A lovely walk through Kilronan Forest along the northern shore of Lough Meelagh. Follow red markers along woodland and lakeside paths as far as Doon Point on the western fringes of the lake. Daffodils and bluebells carpet the ground in the spring. Look out for deer, foxes, hares and squirrels in the woods; also birds such as the greenfinch, song thrush, robin, blue tit and sparrowhawk. The lake is idyllic on a clear day or atmospheric with a bit of mist and the sun trying to break through. Kids will like the swans flitting along the water.
Start / Finish: Kilronan Castle car park.
Getting there: Follow the N4 towards Sligo. Around 6km past Carrick-on-Shannon, turn left into the R285 signposted Knockvicar and Keadew. Reach a junction after around 10km and turn left here toward Ballyfarnon. The entrance into Kilronan Castle is located 1.5km on the left.
Level: Easy - ideal for families with kids.
Length/Time: 4.5km/1.5 hours.
Pack: Comfortable walking shoes and the route description/map on irishtrails.ie or ask at the hotel reception for details.
22. Best for that 'edge of the world' feel
Where: Benwee Head, Co Mayo.
What: Perhaps the finest stretch of cliff scenery in the country. At 255 metres, it is higher than the Cliffs of Moher. From April, pink sea-thrift can be found lining the cliff-tops. Begin from the Children of Lir sculpture, perched at the top of a beautiful inlet surrounded by 100-metre-high cliffs. Head east, cross a stream and follow the cliff-line (do not step too close to the edge) to reach the 255-metre summit. Descend 1.5km north-east to a cliff-top overlooking a dramatic bay enclosed by an arc of majestic cliffs and the Stags of Broadhaven. From here, retrace your steps back to the start. This can be quite enjoyable as the scenery looks different going in the opposite direction, giving prolonged views of Kid Island (Oileán Mionnán), the Mullet peninsula and Achill Island. Look out for gulls, fulmars, guillemots, razorbills and kittiwakes.
Start / Finish: Benwee Head 'An Bhinn Bhuí' car park.
Getting there: From Belmullet, take the R313 then the R314 to Glenamoy. Follow signs north off the R314 from Glenamoy to Carrowteige (signposted An Ceathrú Thaidhg as this is Gaeltacht country). Pass through the village, continue straight and uphill at a crossroads about 1km further. Reach a T-junction as the road begins to descend. Turn right and follow a narrow lane north towards a lay-by at the coast.
Level: Moderate - suits regular hikers.
Length/Time: 7 km / 2.5 hours, but leave time for photo stops.
Pack: A camera and map (OS Discovery Series 22).
23. Best for northern bluebells
Where: Portglenone Forest, Co Antrim.
What: Though a relatively small woodland at 65 acres, Portglenone is one of the finest places in Northern Ireland to see spring bluebells. It even holds its own Bluebell Festival each year. The broadleaf trees are classified as Ancient Woodland, and this is a remnant of a great primeval forest that once extended to the Sperrin Mountains. As well as bluebells, wild garlic and wood anemone cloak the forest floor. There are several walking paths, but the main route is a circular loop signed by red markers. It follows largely level trails, visits the memorial grove of horticultural hero Augustine Henry, and includes a waterside section along the banks of the River Bann.
Start/Finish: At Portglenone Forest car park.
Getting there: From the centre of Portglenone, follow the A42 south towards Ballymena. The forest entrance is 1.5km later on the right, and there's a parking charge of £4 per car.
Level: Easy - largely flat, unsurfaced woodland paths.
Length/Time: 2km / 1 hour.
Pack: Your macro lens for close-up shots of the flowers.
24. Best for mountain lakes
Where: Urris Lakes Loop, Co Donegal.
What: This beautiful hillwalk visits two secluded lakes on the northern slopes of the Urris Hills, on the Inishowen Peninsula. Starting from a remote, sandy beach, the route is fully signed by purple arrows, and follows a series of tracks and paths across open mountainside. An ascent through a broad gully takes you first to Crunlough, a circular gem of a lake tucked beneath rugged and brooding slopes. A rocky ridge then carries you past the long, narrow waters of Lough Fad. There are excellent views throughout, both across the north Donegal coastline and inland to the Derryveagh Mountains.
Start/Finish: At Leenankeel Beach parking area.
Getting there: From Buncrana, follow Wild Atlantic Way signs north over Mamore Gap. At the bottom of the gap turn left at a crossroads. The beach parking area is on the left after 1km.
Level: Moderate to difficult - signed mountain trails with 340m ascent.
Length/Time: 7km / 2 hours.
Pack: More route details from 'Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way: A Walking Guide', by Helen Fairbairn.
25. Best mountain ascent
Where: Muckish Mountain, Co Donegal.
What: The distinctive, flat-topped form of 667-metre Muckish is a natural icon of north Donegal. The mountain's towering cliffs contain quartzite deposits that were mined commercially until 1955. This route begins at the bottom of the old mine, then follows the former Miners' Track on a precipitous ascent up the rock buttresses. Exposure and loose stones mean care is required throughout. Pass under the lip of the upper quarry basin, then make a sudden exit onto the summit plateau. The summit cairn and trig point lie a short distance north-east, with impressive views encompassing both the wild coastline and surrounding Derryveagh Mountains. Carefully reverse your outward route to return to the start.
Start/Finish: A lay-by on the northern side of Muckish.
Getting there: From Creeslough village, follow the N56 north. Around 2km later, turn west towards Derryharriff. Keep left over a cattle grid and park in a stony clearing about 80m before the end of this road.
Level: Difficult - steep, unsigned mountain paths with 400m ascent.
Length/Time: 4.5km / 2 hours.
Pack: Your hiking boots and a head for heights.