Tag Archives: Irish Walks

Great walks around Mevagh /Rosguill Parish, Co Donegal

This walkers guide is the latest walking guide for our parish compiled by Caoimhín Mac a’ Bhaird.

This handy booklet, Carrigart-Walks and Explorations has details of 11 walking routes with distances. It is a gem!

The latest walks booklet from Kevin was published this year. – A labour of love, it is much more than a list of walking routes. It is a pocket guide to our local heritage and attractions.

The maps and photographs are excellent, and I really liked the notes on various hazards that might be encountered such as road traffic where the routes run along the main road, or the need for midgie deterrents in certain locations!

It is often true that we don’t always ‘see’ what we look at day after day, but Kevin has included great descriptions of the landscape features of this very scenic area, both nearby and in the distance, so you are not only walking, you are appreciating the wonderful scenery along the way.

This area is steeped in history, so you can learn about the lucrative seed potato exports days, the old ferry crossing between our parish and Fanad, a gun-running expedition on behalf of the Ulster Volunteers in 1913, the destructive sandstorms, or the origin of The Slate Row in Carrick. Not only that, the unique ecosystem of Mulroy Bay is included – who knows what a ‘Maerl bed’ is or a Couch’s Goby? Find out here!

Kevin authored ‘Danders around Downings and Rambles around Rosguill‘ a few years back. This is a mighty wee book, also of around 40 pages, with really attractive line drawings of places along the spectacular routes.

Concentrated on the rugged coastline of Rosguill, there is information on local archaeological finds, where to see long-gone ‘clachan’ settlements, and it has a great list of local place names along the coastline. Here you will discover the location of Frenchman’s Rock and the Little Frenchman. Who knew?

The walks are mostly either along the wonderful and epic Wild Atlantic Way, or afford great views of it.

Walking has grown in popularity in recent years. It is so good for health of mind and body, suitable for all ages and of course it comes for free. So if you fancy a wee short dander or a bit of a hike, or are thinking about New Year Resolutions, these lovely wee books will guide you on your way.

Both publications are available at McNutts Shop in Downings and at Galánta Gifts in Carrigart.

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A walk on the wild side: Ireland’s Greenways

2013-06-06 12.04.54Here in Ireland’s Mid-West region we are privileged to have some of Ireland’s most beautiful unspoilt countryside. Not only that, we are doubly privileged to have a dedicated walking  and cycling track right in the heart of that lush green landscape. This is the  jewel of the South West, the Great Southern Trail Greenway.

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The trail winds along the route of the now defunct Limerick to Tralee railway line that linked Limerick and Newcastle West in 1867 and then Newcastle West and Tralee in about 1880. The line finally fell into disuse in the 1970s and through the extraordinary efforts of a small group of local people down the decades, this has now become 40 kilometers of magnificent country  walks.

Feb13 417This is Ardagh station, with the long platform gradually being claimed by vegetation. Station houses were traditionally made of beautifully hand cut limestone, such as can be seen here.

Ardagh Station

Ardagh Station

Deserted railway stations have a particular fascination  for me, as I was born in one such beautiful building, the home of my grandparents, in Newtownforbes Co Longford seen below.

Microsoft Word - Newtownforbes LAP.docStation House, Newtownforbes, Co Longford where I was born and the track I walked with my grandfather.

I spent many an hour walking the railway line with my grandfather, jumping from sleeper to sleeper, trying to keep up with him,and helping him to pull the great big levers that changed the direction of the tracks, sending the engines to the store.  Telegraph lines traditionally ran alongside the railway  line  and my grandfather would lift me up so I could press my ear to the pole and hear the lines ‘singing’.

It was not until several years after I came to live in this area that I discovered that my grandfather’s brother Alfie Clinton, had served  as station master  in Newcastle West  in the early 1950s which made the opening up of the trail of extra special interest to me.

newcastle house

The beautifully restored and modernized Station House in Newcastle West, Co Limerick.


Feb13 413 Feb13 406The beautiful cut limestone is also used in the bridges, platforms, and tunnels that lie along the trail.  Apart from these lovely examples of our built heritage the trail offers a unique close encounter with nature in all her glory.

These photos are from a walk on the stretch between Ardagh and Newcastle West in the month of May, when Ireland is  at her prettiest with the branches of the white Hawthorn  weighed down by heavily scented white blossom.

Feb13 405

Deliciously scented Hawthorn

The meadows at either side of the line are filled with Spring flowers and the occasional cow peacefully grazing.

The hedgerows along the line have their own microclimate and are populated with copious wildflowers.

Sometimes you have  to look very closely to discover the tiniest of little flowers…

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The Great Southern Greenway is one of many such trails being developed on disused railway lines in many parts of Ireland. Each is unique. The award-winning Great Western Greenway that runs along the Atlantic from Westport to Achill Island in County Mayo, with its stunning scenery; the Deise Greenway between Dungarvan and Waterford in Co Waterford with its spectacular arched viaducts; the recently begun Burtonport  Old Railway Walk which traverses some wild Donegal scenery – to name but a few.

The tourist potential of these Greenways is enormous and it is to be hoped that they will continue to be funded – not just to attract tourists, but for the benefit of local communities that work so hard to get these recreational amenities up and running.

Some sites of interest with some stunning scenery!

Great Western Greenway in County Mayo

Deise Greenway in County Waterford

Burtonport Old Railway Walk in County Donegal

Great Southern Trail in Limerick/Kerry


Filed under Healthy Living, Ireland, Irish Countryside, Living in Ireland