Terrain: Mix of forestry paths, tracks & woodland trails
To suit: Medium levels of fitness
Min. gear: Walking boots, fluid
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 three which start and finish at the Glenbarrow trailhead - key features include a section of riverbank along the River Barrow, a spectacular 3-tiered waterfall, and natural woodland that in Spring is ablaze with bluebells.
Directions to Glenbarrow trailhead
Start from the village of Rosenallis on the R422 between Clonaslee and Mountmellick. On the sharp bend follow the signpost for Glenbarrow L2018. After 2km take a right turn at a junction. After 2.5km turn left at a crossroads. This takes you to Glenbarrow Car Park (N 367 081).
A-B Start from the trailhead at Glenbarrow Car Park and follow the blue (and green and red) arrow onto a downhill track. You are also on the Slieve Bloom Way (marked with yellow arrows). After 200m reach the end of the downhill track and enter Glenbarrow Woods via wooden railings.
B-C After 100m you pass the flat rock at a wooden hut. Continue to follow the well worn path upriver and past the superb 3-tiered Clamp Hole waterfall.
C-D Continue to follow the path upriver.
D-E After 100m, your path splits on a bend. The red loop (on its outward journey) veers right and crosses a small stream into forestry – but you follow the path around to the left and up a steep climb.
E-F After the uphill climb, you join a forestry road. Turn left on the forestry road continuing along same until you reach a 3-way junction with a forestry track on the right. Veer right here.
F-G Proceed uphill until you reach another forestry road on your right. Directly opposite it (on your left) turn here onto downhill boardwalk.
G-A Follow the boardwalk downhill through a mix of coniferous forestry and natural woodland – exiting at a forestry road at a barrier. Take a right here and follow the road for 200m back to the trailhead to Glenbarrow Car Park.