Directions to Cadamstown trailhead
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.
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.
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.’
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.