National Trails Day is a celebration of Ireland’s wonderful variety of trails and a chance for everyone to enjoy some of our most beautiful countryside, forests, mountains and lakes. With miles and miles of trails to explore, there is a trail to suit everyone. This year, the emphasis is on encouraging people who may have never walked a trail before to get out and give it a go. With this in mind, the North Tipperary Trails Group has organised a series of guided walks and hikes to suit everyone from the absolute beginner to the avid enthusiast.
John Egan, Rural Recreation Officer, with the responsibility for developing and promoting walks in Tipperary explains: “County Tipperary can claim to have some of best variety of trails in the country – lakeshore walks, mountain hikes, riverbank trails and forest treks. The quality of Tipperary’s trails is outstanding, and National Trails Day is an opportunity for everyone to explore what available in their own locality. All our events are guided and all the information about what’s on in your area is available on the website www.nationaltrailsday.ie”
The North Tipperary Trails Group, in conjunction with local communities, has organised a series of walks, all of which will be led by an experienced walker and many of which are suitable for all standards of fitness. The choice of walks as well as the improvement and development of walks in North Tipperary has progressed year on year through the collaborative work of the North Tipperary Trails Group which is made up of representatives from agencies such as North Tipperary LEADER, North Tipperary County Council, Coillte, Shannon Development and the Rural Recreation Officer for Tipperary. Community groups, FÁS, the Rural Social Scheme and land owners throughout the county
have also played an important role in this process.
Walks planned for National Trails Day 2012 by the North Tipperary Trails Group and communities are:
1. Cloughjordan – Kyle/Emmel Loop Walk. This loop walk will bring people through the old area of Kyle. Duration is expected to be around 2.5 hours. The walk will be on forest road, down attractive boreens and along the edge of open bogland. Meet at 3pm at the Two Mile Bridge, Nenagh Road, Cloughjordan.
2. Cloughjordan – Autumn Nature Detectives Children’s Walk, Knockanacree Woodlands.
Celebrating Nature in Our Neighbourhood , this 1.5 hour event looks at the flora and fauna
of the autumn time for children , with handout sheets and a short guided walk. This event is part of the ‘Nature in Our Neighbourhood’ Programme of the CCDC. Meet at 12:30pm at the Front entrance to Knockanacree Woodland on the Birr/Shinrone Road.
3. Upperchurch National Looped Walk (Birchhill Loop). The meeting point for this walk is at PJ Ryan’s Pub in Rosmult, 3 Km’s from the village of Upperchurch. Registration at 11:45am for a 12:00 noon departure. This is a moderate walk of 7Km through forestry and agricultural land. The route takes in the old graveyard and blessed well at Templebeg as well as a rich variety of flora and fauna in its pond, woodland and upland habitats. The folklore of the area tells of a Robin Hood figure that roamed the hills of West Tipperary in the 17/18th century and was known as Eamonn a Chnoic (Ned of the Hill). Many legends are told of these men and their deeds. This loop explores the area around Birchhill, which may in times past have sheltered Eamonn and his ‘merrymen’!
4. Kilcommon Pilgrim Trail. The meeting point for this walk is McCormacks Cross Bar, Kilcommon Cross. Registration at 14:00 for a 14:15 departure. The walk brings you along the old mass path to the lower slopes of Mother Mountain and from there it will loop back to the village of Kilcommon. It provides beautiful views of the countryside and lots of fresh hilly air. It is a moderate walk of 7Km’s in distance approximately 2 – 2.5 hours.
5. Devil’s Bit Hike in Templemore. The trail will follow forestry tracks and old pathways by the slopes of the legendary mountain and its signature white cross on the Little rock. The Little rock summit on the Devils Bit Mountain boasts stunning views from as far as the Shannon and Lough Derg to the north west and to the Commeraghs and Knockmealdowns in the far south of the county. See the patchwork quilt of rolling hills and Golden vales and the Slieve Ardaghs, Slievenamon, Galtees, Silvermines and Arra Mountains. And thats just the Tipperary bits…. 5km. Moderate, difficult in places. Meet at the Devils Bit Car Park, Barnane. Registration at 13:45 for a 14:00 departure.
6. Lough Derg Way – Garrykennedy to Newtown. The walking group will leave Garrykennedy village and travel through fields, pathways and local roads along the Lough Derg Way. Along the way you’ll see the mass rock and St Cuanlans well plus the beautiful views of Lough Dergs Youghal Bay and Callows. The walk will end at Newtown where walkers will get a lift back to Garrykennedy or can retrace their steps over the 9km trail if preferred! Registration in Garrykennedy at 13:45 for a 14:00 departure.
7. Knockanroe Loop in the Silvermines. The walkers will gather at the Church in Silvermines village and will car pool to the trail head 3km south of the village at Knockanroe. The route will pass through the peaceful woodlands Knockanroe and Coolyhorney and overlaps with the Slieve Felim way for a short period. The trail is a scenic walk offering splendid views of surrounding counties and Lough Derg. Registration at 12:15 for a 12:30 departure. Duration is about 1.5 hours.
8. Thurles and the Cabragh Wetlands Trail. The group will gather at Lar Na Pairce carpark, Slievenamon Road, Thurles, and follow existing paths and riverside trails as far as the Suir Bridge at The Golf Club, Turtulla. The trail will than follow the fisherman’s track along the Suir and farm tracks to emerge at the old Sugar Factory on the Cabragh Road. The group will then make the short road trek south to Cabragh Wetlands and will no doubt appreciate the great environmental conservation work of the Cabragh Wetlands Trust. Lifts can be organised from the wetlands back to town or else enjoy the stroll back through Ballycurrane and Stradavoher. 8km easy. Registration at 10:45am for an 11:00am departure
Different types of walks
Walkers in North Tipperary are now spoilt for choice with the different categories of walks that are available. There are two way marked ways in North Tipperary which are long distance, multi-day routes offering the experienced walker challenge and enjoyment. These are the Lough Derg Way and the Slieve Felim Way. There is a wonderful selection of looped walks which are shorter walks ranging from one hour to four hours and they start and finish at the same trailhead and are suitable for both serious and leisurely walkers, examples include Graves of the Leinstermen Loop, Kilcommon Pilgrim Loop Walk and The Upperchurch National Looped walks. (Knockalough, Eamonn an Chnoic & Birch Hill). Linear walks which start and finish at different locations such as the Slí Eala, a stunning
scenic walk along the Nenagh River from Dromineer to Nenagh have also been developed in recent times to improve the choice of routes for walkers. Treks are four to six hour walks following a section of one of the way marked ways. Many treks traverse forestry, waterfalls, weirs and small villages and an example of a trek is Keeper Hill. To find out more about the variety of walks in the county visit www.shannonregiontrails.ie