Situated close to the geographical centre of Ireland, the Slieve Bloom region links the counties of Laois and Offaly and is made up of forests, blanket bog of a type which is unique to Ireland, and hidden valleys which will be of interest to lovers of archaeology and nature. In 2007, a series of looped walks were developed at various trailheads in the region following a mix of forest tracks, riverbanks, old roadways, and grassy trails. There are a few rough and rugged sections - but they rarely rise to high altitude and do not demand great stamina. This loop is one of two which start and finish at the car park in the village of Cadamstown (the other is the Nature Trail Loop marked with green arrows). The village which sits on the banks of the Silver River was at one time home to Charles O’Carroll whose grandson was a signatory of the Declaration of American Independence in 1776. It is rich in archaeology – boasting Bronze Age burials and ring forts amongst them. And the old mill is well worth a visit.
Directions to Cadamstown trailhead
In the village of Cadamstown (on the R421 between Clonaslee and Kinnitty), the car park is located beside Dempsey’s Public house. Grid Ref. N 227 085.
A-B Starting from the Village Car Park in Cadamstown village, turn right onto what was the Coach Road that passes on the right of Dempsey’s pub. You are following blue arrows. Pass the signpost for the Nature Trail and follow the Coach Road for almost 1km to reach an old laneway on your right – known locally as Paul’s Lane. Turn right here.
B-C Follow this wonderful old laneway uphill for almost 1km to exit at a gateway near a group of derelict houses – this was the village of Bordingstown.
C-D Immediately after the houses you turn right and follow the blue arrows downhill on an old laneway. Pass through a gateway and veer right to reach a swinging (kissing) gate – this has been erected to allow access to an old mass path. Do not enter the gate but continue downhill to reach a small stream known locally as Purcell’s Brook. Here you join both the Slieve Bloom Way (yellow arrows) and Nature Trail Loop (green arrows) for the remainder of your loop back to Cadamstown.
D-E Follow the laneway downhill to reach a gateway at a beautiful weir on the Silver River. Turn right here.
E-A Cross a small stile and join the bank of the spectacular Silver River. Enjoy the beautiful scenery as you pass rushing waters for almost 1km before ascending to a wooden stile and entering farmland. Turn left here onto a farm laneway – follow it downhill for almost 200m to reach a concrete stile. As you exit the farm, the trailhead and village are to your left.