Why North Tipperary: A Walkers Paradise 2

Puckane CottagesPuckane Cottages
Hello again and welcome back to Why North Tipperary – our weekly look at why we think it would be a good idea for you to visit North Tipperary, or for our locals to enjoy our local community even more. This past two weeks I have been looking at the many different trails around North Tipperary, and I hope you are enjoying this and that you might even give it a turn.
HurlingAncient Game of Hurling
Birchhill Loop:
The beautiful village of Upperchurch is located not far from the town of Thurles on the side of the Silvermines mountain range. This quaint village is twinned with their neighbouring parish of Drombane with regards many mutual aspects, including the Great Gaelic game of Hurling. Hillwalking is hugely important to this area and the locals strive greatly to promote the local tourism through hillwalking. The local loop begins in the town of Thurles and proceeds along the R498 road towards Nenagh. Follow this roadway until you get to a junction for the R503 (signposted Limerick) and continue along this path onto Dempsey’s pub. At this point you are just 2km from Upperchurch, but all this information can be picked up at the local tourism office, or online here. Along this loop you will encounter a crossroads with a stone nameplate, a Blessed Well, an old church and graveyard, you will walk through some dense local forestry and other local landmarks. Please enjoy!
Slievedaragh HillsSlieveardagh Hills
Loch Dhoire Bhile Loop:
The Loch Dhoire Bhile Loop is all about the development of a heritage, angling and conservation community. Nestling under the Slieveardagh Hills is an ideal location for sanctuary for a large selection of wildlife that includes birds (lapwing and fieldfare), whooper swans, ducks (teal, mallard, pintail) and wild geese. There has been constructed upon 70 acres, which was previously owned by Bord na Mona, a lake, two wetlands and a wildlife sanctuary. With regards this loop, from Thurles, take the N62 south for about 6km. Take a left at the crossroads, following signs for Littleton. You will take the R639 for a short period, before turning right in Littleton towards the village of New Birmingham. The trailhead is signposted approximately 4.5km from Littleton or 3.5km from New Birmingham.
View from the Devils BitView from the Devils Bit
Devil’s Bit Loop:
There is a legend in North Tipperary that not only did the devil took a bite out of the mountain that is now know as the Devils Bit, but the demon hurled the chunk across the countryside where it then landed at the spot which is now know as the Rock of Cashel – scientists have since shown that the same grain of rock that is found in the Devil’s Bit mountain is also found in the Rock of Cashel. Anyway, what locals will honestly tel you is that the view from the Devils Bit Mountain (478m) provides a view of the surrounding eight counties. Along this loop the walker will encounter plenty of forestry, some dizzy hillside paths and a plethora of majestic views. Coming from Templemore, follow the R501 in the direction of Nenagh and Borrisoleigh. After approximately 3km, there is a right turn signposted for Devil’s Bit. Continue to follow the signs on minor roads until you reach the trail-head. Again, you can find out all necessary information at a local tourism office, or online right here.
Slieve FelimSlieve Felim
Slieve Felim Way:
Now for those who love an ol’ long walk – a good stretch of the ol’ legs, there is the Slieve Felim Way to challenge you. this walkway stretches from Murroe in County Limerick to SIlvermines village in North Tipperary, which is a distance of approximately 44 km. Along the route there are the views from many different mountains and miles upon miles of rugged, wonderful and stunning scenery. This walkway commences with the Slieve Felim range to the south, valleys and hills run east-west in the general area. The 2,279 ft (694m)-high Keeper Hill – the highest mountain in the Shannon Region – comes into view as you move northwards through the Mauher Slieve Hills, which predominately lie to the east of the walk. The northern section is dominated by the renowned Silvermines Mountains and presents stunning views of Lough Derg and beyond. From different vantage points along the way, views of 4 counties are possible – Tipperary, Limerick , Clare, and Offaly – and you can also see sections of the lordly River Shannon as it winds its way to the sea. Although the trail is signposted in either direction, it is generally agreed that the starting point from Murroe and walking towards Silvermines offers the most rewarding experience. All information can be sourced at the Shannon Regions Trail here.
Clare GlensClare Glens
Clare Glens Loop Walks:
The scenery of the Clare Glens is regularly described by visitors as simply breath-taking. The Clare Glens is a wooded area situated along the North Tipperary – Limerick border. It consists of a wild dense forest, which is combined with the calm rushing of crystal clear waters. The Glen also consists of a picturesque sandstone gorge through which the Clare river flows, while there are a number of waterfalls that are dotted along the landscape. Directions to the trail-head begin from the village of Murroe on the R506 between Limerick City and Cappamore. Follow the signs for Clare Glens which take you north out of Murroe. Follow this road for approximately 5km to reach the trailhead at a car parking area on your left. Both loops
start and finish here. [Note: The trailhead is signposted from Murroe].
Lough DergLough Derg Scene
Lough Derg Way:
The Lough Derg Way is a spectacular linear route that stretches from Limerick City, to Killaloe/Ballina (26km) and from Killaloe/Ballina to Dromineer (43km). The route is located along the banks of the River Shannon, the old Shannon navigational canal and the eastern shores of Lough Derg. The terrain is a mix of riverbank, canalbank, forest track, open countryside, old roadway and minor road. The Lough Derg Way explores some of the fascinating heritage of the old Limerick Navigation system and showcases some of the finest scenery around Lough Derg. There are five different key trail-heads which provide information map boards and car-parking. These are situated reasonably close to necessary facilities such as shops, accommodation, restaurants and public transport. These trail-heads are situated as follows:
  1. Limerick City (Limerick City Tourism Office, Arthur’s Quay)
  2. Clonlara, County Clare (Centre of VIllage)
  3. Killaloe, County Clare & Ballina, County Tipperary (Information Maps on both sides of the river and a tourism office on the Killaloe side)
  4. Garrykennedy, County Tipperary (Village Marina)
  5. Dromineer, County Tipperary (Centre of Village)
Masked BallNenagh Silent Film Festival Masked Ball
And, sure that’s all for this week. Now I know there are a number of other walkways scattered throughout North Tipperary, but sure why don’t you come and try and find them yourself and then lose yourself in North Tipperary.  It’s always a good time to visit North Tipperary, but next February around Valentine’s Day maybe a perfect opportunity for you to take in some of the many trails of North Tipperary during the day, and some of the Second Nenagh Silent Film Festival during the evening. Till next week then!
Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

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