Dust off the cobwebs with a woodland walk, no matter where you live
Ireland’s woodland is a sight behold. With historic trees, carefully curated paths, and a sense of forest magic, there’s plenty of pull to the woods. Whether you’re up north or down south, take a trip to a nearby forest, and get lost amongst the foliage.
Castle Archdale, Co Fermanagh
Take to the marina or around the woods at Castle Archdale – bonus points if you’re staying in the nearby caravan park. There are some trails for easy strolls or bike rides and lovely views. When open, the café is ideal for a quick snack pitstop, or bring a picnic if the weather is fair. It’s also a dog-friendly spot, so if your pooch is up for a long walk, they’ll be on cloud nine.
Glenmore Scenic walk, Co Tyrone
This Dungannon woodland walk is not for the faint of heart and entails many a steep patch. It’s generally quieter than most trails, making it an ideal destination for anyone seeking solitude. The result is a peaceful loop accompanied by the sounds of a trickling river. It’s worth noting, though, that it won’t suit those with limited mobility. Parking is available at both the top and bottom car parks.
Barna woods, Co Galway
Approximately three miles from Galway city centre is the wooded oasis of Barna woods. They make for a wonderfully peaceful escape from the buzz of the city, with green views for days. The trail is family-friendly and relatively easy, ideal for a tranquil getaway for the day. Note that parking is limited at Barna, so it could be worth parking nearby instead.
Benbulben forest, Co Sligo
Go rock and roll with the Benbulben formation and surrounding grounds. The forest walk is an easy loop near the peak, making it accessible to a range of abilities and fitness levels. There’s parking and a picnic area, ideal for lunch with a view. The full walk should take about an hour and a half – but you’ll want to factor in the time to really appreciate the natural views!
Blarney woodland walk, Co Cork
Forget about the gift of the gab and explore Blarney’s historic woodlands for the gift of green. The grounds of the Cork castle are home to an array of walks, either by the lake or through the woods. There’s wheelchair access to the castle itself, and a café for post-stroll snacking. The nearby Blarney Castle Circular is a popular destination for walkers, hikers and runners alike.
Tarbert woodland walk, Co Kerry
The John F. Leslie woodland walk in Tarbert, Kerry is a jewel in the Kingdom. Let the wildflowers guide you along the trail into the woods. With peaceful tranquility and some beautiful old trees, the forest is steeped in a sense of magic and beauty. There’s on-site parking and information on signs dotted around the wood.
Balrath woods, Co Meath
This lovely spot is ideal for families and dog-walkers, as it makes for a gentle stroll. Get lost on the windy paths, or take a load off on the benches around the forest. Thanks to the trees, the trails are sheltered, and the atmosphere is a quiet magic. The car park is small, so it’s best to arrive early in the day, and note there are no bins so be sure to pick up your rubbish!
Jenkinstown wood, Co Kilkenny
At Jenkinstown, you have two options; a 20-minute stroll or a 40-minute loop. No matter what you choose you’re in for a treat. It’s a great walk for children, families and dogs. There’s a mobile coffee shop on Sundays, deer to feed (bring some carrots!) and lots to see. There’s also plenty of parking and public toilets, making it the ideal day trip destination out east.
Where will you walk next?
Main image by Irina Iriser via Unsplash