Cadamstown Looped Walks

The picturesque village of Cadamstown is situated at the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, on the banks of the Silver River in County Offaly. It is an excellent hub for walking with access to the Slieve Bloom Way, the Offaly Way and also a number of shorter looped walks.

Cadamstown trailhead

The Cadamstown trailhead is the starting point for two beautiful looped walks which which follow the Silver River and then venture into surrounding Slieve Bloom area. The long distance Slieve Bloom Way and also the Offaly Way can also be accessed from this point. There are a number of very important heritage features in the vicinity including Letter Abbey, Ardara Bridge and the GIant’s Grave.

Directions

Cadamstown, historically called Ballymacadam, is a small village in County Offaly, Ireland. It lies on the R421 regional road, just north of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. It is about 20 km from Tullamore and 6 km from Kinnitty

Dempseys pub is usually open in the evenings but unfortunately there is no tea shop in the village at the present time.

St Lughna’s Holy Well

If you have time it is worth making a detour to visit the ruins of St Lugna’s monastery at Letterluna. All that survives today are the remains of a medieval parish church, St. Lugna’s Holy Well (restored in 1995) and the outline of the monastic enclosure in the fields to the north and east of the church. Across the road from the monastic site is the now sadly derelict Letter House.

This monastery must have been a busy place in the past when it lay near the Slí Dhála, one of the ancient highways across Ireland. Interestingly, the part of the Slí Dhála near Letterluna was called the Munster Road locally: this area was in Munster until 1605.

The foundations of an O’Carroll tower house can still be seen just to the west of the village (you will pass it on your way to Letterluna; it is in the field on the right hand side of the road). Some members of the Cadamstown branch of the family dispossessed in the later 17th century received grants of territory in Maryland USA in compensation. From this branch was descended Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signatory of the American Declaration of Independence in 1776, and the last man of the signatories to survive; he was known as ‘Charles the Signer.’

Geology

The Silver River is a very special place from a geological viewpoint, because along its course you will find one of the finest rock exposures in the whole of Slieve Bloom. The Old Red Sandstone can be seen in a splendid, almost continuous section along the river both below and above the village.

Paddy Heaney: Local Historian

Keep an eye out for Paddy Heaney who lives in the village. Paddy is a historian who has written a number of books on the area. His knowledge of the Slieve Bloom Mountains is outstanding and he has made it his business to know about every square inch of the 60,000-acre region.

Ownership & Management

These wonderful looped walks at Cadamstown have come about as a result of close cooperation between the local community, private landowners and Coillte. Access through the farmland and woodland sections is based on permissive access granted by local landowners who have generously agreed to open up their land. The majority of the forestry sections are owned by Coillte (statutory foresty agency) who have also agreed to permit the walks alongside their commercial operations. The walks here are maintained to a high standard thanks to the work of the local landowners and also the local Rural Social Scheme (RSS) led by George Digan of Offaly Partnership.

Both loops are formally recognised as registered trails by the National Trails Office.

Note that dogs are not allowed on these walks.