Limerick, with its Ballyhoura Mountains and wild forests, is rich in adventure trails. Whether you’re looking for a bushy loop walk or a long distance hill hike – you’ll find it here. We’ve listed 8 of our favourites. 

1. Canon Sheehan Loop

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This looped forest walk is a perfect adventure trail for the whole family. Surrounded by green forestry, moss-covered branches and little squiggly streams, it will bring your thoughts straight to The Hobbit movie.

The trail is just over 5 km, easy to walk and runs all through the mysterious Glenanaar Forest. There are great views of the Blackwater Valley as well as the Knockmealdown Mountains. You’ll start and end the trail at Glenanair Carpark, at the heart of Ballyhoura uplands.

More info: Discover Ireland

2. Slieve Felim Way

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This is a good choice of a trail if you’re looking to do a long distance, scenic, yet easy enough walk. The trail is about 40 km and well marked with yellow arrows the whole way. The terrain consists of quiet roads, forestry tracks and field paths. Some stretches can be a little wet as well.

There are no significant climbs or ascents on this trail, still, there are some nice views to be had along the way, especially over at the northern section. Since there are no signs of civilisation throughout the whole route, make sure to bring enough food and water. And if you’re not planning to do the whole trail in one go, thorough planning – camping wise – is needed.

Start your hike from the village of Murroe, and finish off in Silvermines.

More info: Slieve Felim Way

3. Paradise Hill Loop

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This looped walk is around 12 km long, stretches over green pastures, woodlands and flowy hills and is marked with green arrows throughout the way. You will start and end the walk from the community centre in Anglesboro, in the middle of Ballyhoura Country.

Along the way, you’ll get to see plenty of agriculture as daily farming is the main preoccupation in the area. The best lookout point, however, will occur after a longer ascent to the highest point of the route: on the shoulder of Temple Hill.

More info: Discover Ireland 

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4. Lough Derg Way

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Lough Derg Way is a long distance hike that is typically finished within three days. The trail is 64 km long; starts in Limerick City, by the tourist office, and ends in Dromineer, Co Tipperary. The route follows river banks, forest trails, old and minor roads.

Other than at the start in Limerick, there are very little options of public transport along the way, except at the beginning, in Limerick.

Along the way, the route passes through Clonlara, the village of O’Briensbridge and the ancient town of Killaloe. In Killaloe, hikers with cultural interest can take in the views of St Flannan’s Cathedral. The lake- and waterside sections of the route offer beautiful views.

You can make a stop in Killaloe Ballina overnight, which is over halfway, and choose from a good selection of accommodation options if you’re not camping.

More info: Irish Trails 

5. The Molanna Loop/The Ballyorgan Looped walk

You can choose to do a longer or shorter version of this loop: the blue arrows mark the shorter trail (Molanna) and the red ones mark the longer one (Ballyorgan). Both walks have a variety of terrain and scenery, from hilltop panoramas to shady glades. The trail will follow woodland tracks, minor roadways and forestry paths.

Overall it’s a well-kept, and well-marked trail and depending on your hiking experience, do either the somewhat shorter walk, or the longer one. For some panoramic views, include the 5-minute deviation to the top of Carrigeenamronely. Start and finish off your walk in Ballyorgan Village.

More info: Discover Ireland 

6. Ballyhoura Way

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This 4-day hike stretches over three different counties: Cork, Limerick and Tipperary, and is 90 km long. The total estimated climb is also 1560 metres, so for this one, some fitness and experience is required.

Ballyhoura Way is a lovely trail with a lot of variety that is marked out well. There are some accommodation options throughout the route in the frequent enough villages, but not too many.

The highest point is 477 metres at Castle Phillip, which is reached over moorland. The trail includes views over the Golden Vale, Glen of Aherlow and the Galtee Mountains. A heads up is that almost half of this route follows public roads, and although they are mostly quiet, local, ones – always keep an eye on potential cars.

You’ll start off the hike in Kilkenny, at St Johns Bridge and finish up in Limerick, at the station car park. Waterproof footwear is to recommend, as there are some soft ground sections along the way.

More info: Irish Trails  

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7. Darragh Hills Loop Walk

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This green, 10 km long, trail walk starts at Darragh Bridge. Just follow the well-marked route (purple arrows) and you’ll encounter stunning views over the surrounding Golden Vale. You’ll wander through the trees and soon enough you’ll reach the Carrighenry Hill, not far from the summit of Carrigeenamronely.

The trailhead can be a bit hard to find, but is located off the R517 in Darraghmore.

If you feel like a slightly shorter walk, follow the green arrows instead and you’ll end up on the Castlegale Loop.

More info: Limerick.ie

 8. Clare Glens

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The Clare Glens trail is a hidden, wooden walk, along the Clare River, which separates Co Tipperary and Co Limerick. This is an easy and short walk, only about 4 km, and therefore a good option for beginner hikers and families. The highlight of this trail is the stunning waterfall Clare Glens with its calming purling, and beyond that, you can expect to see numerous other little rapids and pools.

The site is only a 15-minute drive from the city, between Limerick and Cappamore, and the trail can be embarked on at the bridge over the Clare River.

More info: Visit Ballyhoura

PS. If you are not confident enough heading out into the wilds of Limerick alone, Kilfinane OEC runs introductory hill walks, Gaisce expeditions, navigation and skills training.

By Elsa Anderling

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