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Waterway Walks 
Walks by Lough Derg - At Mountshannon 
* * 

  *** N.B: Read Warnings
on Welcome page.
 

The East Clare Way Limited has developed a number of circular walks. These start and finish at towns and villages along the East Clare Way. This page includes descriptions of five road walks that start at Mountshannon and suggestions for two others with off road sections:

  1. The Morgans Lane Walk (3 km) 
  2. The Derrycon Walk (6 km) 
  3. The Sellernaun Walk (9 km) 
  4. The Kilraterra Walk (11 km) 
  5. The Mountain View Walk (Up to 16 km) 
  6. Variations (6 km & 12 km) 

A description of each walk follows the map. All start at the cross roads in the center of the village (R712868). 

Historical note:
There was no village here at the beginning of the 18th Century. A report by John Stevens, an English Catholic infantry officer in the Army of King James, stated that in the summer of 1690 whilst on the way to the relief of the first siege of Athlone "at Scariff begins one of the most deserted, wild, barbarous mountains that I ever beheld. Nothing grows but wild sedge, fern and heath." The history of Mountshannon began in 1738 when Alexander Woods leased land and began building "fifty staunch and tenantable houses fit for tradesmen and manufacturers to dwell in".
 

 

Walks in the Mountshannon District
Map published by
East Clare Way Limited
(88kb)

Map of walks by Mountshannon
(Map not suitable for navigation)
Click on map to view map of South Lough Derg
 

 
 Nearby Walks . . 
  Upstream . . 
      Dromaan & Williamstown
      Scariff 
      Opposite shore . . 
        At Dromineer: 
          Lough Derg Way 
          Sli Eala 
  Downstream . . 
      Aughinish 
      At Rinnaman
 

 Irish Waterway Guides . . 
Waterway Walks
Download as .pdf file

  IWAI Lough Derg Branch 
 

The Morgans Lane Walk
(Marked with green arrows)

circular 3 km; 0.75 hr; Start: Map 58 R712868  

As you walk west from Mountshannon (on the Scariff road) to the right is a small stone building with a millstone leaning against it. This is the village forge which has been in the Lyons family for generations. If you look to the left across the road is the old weaver's cottage.

Just before the crossroads (R708869) on your left is a cross erected by the Rev. T. McNamara in 1982 to commemorate the coming of Christianity to the area. Turn right at this cross into Millpool Road so called because a mill was once fed by a pool on the side of the road. The road goes uphill through a heavily wooded area with oak, ash, thorn, beech, sycamore, holly, birch, alder, elder, rowan and sally willow growing beside this road. In the summer the banks under the trees are filled with many types of plants. Male fern, lady fern and the ribbon like harts tongue fern grow in profusion with devils bit scabious and ragged robin.

Pass the fresh water tap on your left and take the next left into Morgans Lane (R699877). As you descend downhill there are magnificient views out over the Shannon, Inis Cealtra or Holy Island which is noted for its monastic remains dating from the 7th century, and across the Tipperary hills.

Take the next turn left (R700870) back towards the village and out onto the main road. Care should be taken here as the main road can be busy especially in summer. On the right you will pass Saint Caimin's Catholic church which was built in 1836 and on your left is the new school. Further on the left is the old school built in 1844 still with the male entrance on one side and the female entrance on the other. Take the next right (R708869) and follow the road to the harbour.

For those wishing to return to the starting point, follow the road uphill from the harbour to the center of the village.

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The Derrycon Walk
(Marked with white arrows)

circular 6 km; 1.50 hrs; Start: Map 58 R712868  

Leave Mountshannon and travel east on the Whitegate road. On your right opposite the ivy covered house is an 18th century market house. On your left just a few yards on is an old building which was once the Presbyterian Church. The Church dates back to 1842 when the village was built. Nearby stands the lovely stone Church of Ireland church. Two hundred meters further on the right through Val Howe's yard stands one of the wildest and largest oak trees in Ireland.

Take care on the 2km stretch of road from here to the Three Chimney House (R724876) as at times it can be heavy with traffic. The road passes through the townlands of Cloonamirran and into Cloonoolia. Cloon means a fertile piece of land surrounded by bog or bog on one side and water on the other. Many townlands alongside the Lough begin with Cloon.

Turn left opposite the Three Chimney House onto the Cregg road passing over a small stone bridge and then turn left (R726878) along the road past the Pet Hostel. At the T-junction turn left (R714895). Carry on straight downhill to Mountshannon passing over Derrycon Bridge (R711877) and into the village arriving opposite the Village Inn.

Map 59 is required for the eastmost sections of the Derrycon walk. 

Extensions:
If at Derrycon Bridge you would like to significantly extend your walk, turn right just before the bridge and follow the Sellernaun (adds 8 km) or Mountain View (adds 15 km) walks. Alternatively, if you are prepared for a section of off-road walking, explore the section of the East Clare Way described at 1 under the Variations sub-heading (adds a minimum of 3 km).

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The Sellernaun Walk
(Marked with blue arrows)

circular 9 km; 2.25 hrs; Start: Map 58 R712868  

Facing north opposite the Village Inn and up at the end of the Garda Station lies a particularly scenic and mystical route. After walking about 1 km along a road lined with oak trees you come to Derrycon Bridge (R711877). Here the road forks and your way is to the left past the "Fairy Hill". It is still believed that around midnight the Sidhe or Fairy Folk are seen when a certain cloud covers the moon. This story probably comes from local tales of the Tuatha De Danann, a legendary magical race of people who were banished to live underground after they were conquered by the Milesians or Gaedhill. Here they retired with their magic and mysterious healing powers and hid themselves away from the eyes of mortal men. In the hedgerow to the left are several Elm trees which seem to be growing after being effected by Dutch Elm disease and dying back to a stump.

Further on is a lovely expanse of forestry with ruins of bygone days dotting the landscape. At the sides of the road can be seen harts tongue and hard ferns, water mint and square stemmed saint johns wort. This is an exceptionally quiet area where the peace is broken only by the plaintive cry of the curlew. You may be startled by a hare bursting out of the hedge in front of you at the last moment. The Irish hare is a common and readily seen mammal especially on bogs where regularly used pathways are known as "Hare Runs". These are often a conspicuous feature as are "Hare Nests" which are dug out of the larger hummocks on the bog surface. These nests shelter the hare in an otherwise exposed habitat.

Turn left at the T-junction (R694901) passing over the small stone bridge where in summer damselfly can be seen skipping over the stream below. On the banks at the side of the road can be seen the bright green bushes of the bilberry or faughan which in late summer is festooned with sweet blueberries.

You are now returning downhill and after about 1.5 km turn left (R687889) for about 500 meters (R687887). Then turn right where there are extensive views over Lough Derg, Holy Island and the surrounding countryside. Along the road are many rowan or mountain ash with crab-apple and wild plum which in the autumn are fiercly fought over by songbirds fattening themselves for the winter.

Turn left at the next junction (R694870) among the old oak trees (The Mountain View and Kilraterra walks join from the right.) and head east towards Mountshannon. Take care to be aware of traffic on the main road as you wing your way back to the village.

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The Kilraterra Walk
(Marked with orange arrows)

circular 11 km; 2.75 hrs; Start: Map 58 R712868  

Follow Morgans Lane walk as far as the left turn into Morgans Lane (R699877). At that point continue straight on for about another 4 km to the townland of Bohatch ("Botu Ait" - the strange or unusual hut). The mountain in front of you for much of this section is Ard Aoibhinn, one of the highest peaks in the Sliabh Aughty mountains. At Bohatch turn left (R675898) back towards Lough Derg. A track to the right is signposted to a fine example of a portal 'dolmen' - an ancient Celtic tomb dating back to around 2000 B.C.

The road now begins to descend giving wonderful views over the Shannon and the "Patchwork Quilt" countryside. About 1 km further on the right is a Kyle or a children's burial ground. Unbaptised children and strangers to the area were buried in Kyles. Many famine victims were also buried here. 150 meters further on the left is a limekiln. An old mill once stood on this site.

Travel on down the winding road until you come to a cross roads (R684871). (The Mountain View walk joins from the right.) Turn left to head east towards Mountshannon. The road going straight on brings you to the pitch-and-putt course at Woodpark. Just past the Pony Centre on your left by the side of the road is a well called Tobar na nOlc (well of the sick). Legend has it that Saint Caimin stuck three sticks into the hill from which emerged three springs. Three monks for some minor infringement of the rules of the monastery on Holy Island were then ordered to "teem" (empty) these wells, an impossible task. The water is supposed to have a cure for the "cough". The afflicted person takes three mouthfuls first thing each morning for three consecutive mornings.

Continue on under the old oak trees back towards Mountshannon taking care to be aware of traffic on the main road.

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The Mountain View Walk
(Marked with red arrows)

circular Up to 16 km; 4.00 hrs; Start: Map 58 R712868  

Walk to Derrycon Bridge (R711877). EITHER follow the Derrycon walk as far as the bridge. Then turn right just before the bridge. OR follow the Sellernaun walk as far as the bridge. Turn left just after the bridge.

Heading towards Bohatch Bog, the mountain in front of you is Ard Aoibhinn, one of the highest peaks in the Sliabh Aughty mountains. Turn left at the next junction (R694901). At the next T-junction (R687889), by a small stand of scots pine, turn right.

There is an alternate and shorter route from Derrycon Bridge to the T-junction at R687889 that is suitable only for those equipped for off road walking. This route follows the East Clare Way from the bridge to the junction, a distance of almost 3 km.

Head north-west from the junction at R687889 for about 2 km as far as the second turn on your left (R672898). At that point head south towards Lough Derg. (Turning left at the first left turn (R675898) takes you on the slightly shorter Kilrateera route back to Mountshannon.)

From here on the scenery is just magnificient, looking down over Lough Derg and its many islands with the town of Scariff on your right. Down to your right is the Bow River where folklore has it that the imprint of a foot which can be seen on a stone there is that of St. Patrick's step.

Continue to descend towards the Lough until you come to a T-junction (R666871) where the ruins of Bugler's Mill can be seen on the left. Turn left here. After a few hundred meters on your right just past the farm can be seen a ring fort at the top of a green field.

Follow on along this straight road known as Middle Line until you reach the main Scariff to Mountshannon road. Continue straight on into the village taking care of the traffic. The final section of this walk from the cross roads at R684871 is the same as the Kilraterra walk.

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Variations

circular 6 km & 12 km; 1.5 & 4.25 hrs; Start: Map 58 R712868  

A quick review with a map of the walks described above will suggest many variations on those walks. Of interest to some will be the possibility of incorporating some off-road sections into a walk - walking boots needed, map and compass advised. The East Clare way provides a number of such opportunities. The route of the Way is shown on the map published by East Clare Way Limited (88kb) and on the Ordnance Survey maps. Two ideas which I have yet to explore suggest themselves:

  1. A varied 6 km walk that includes a section of the East Clare Way that runs north-west from close to Derrycon Bridge to the Kilrateera walk at R695882.

    Walk from the village to Derrycon Bridge (R711877). After crossing the bridge take the road to the left. After a short distance turn left off the road at a gate (R709878). Before reaching a cottage, turn right up a path. Reach a style by a seat and follow a rough path for a short distance down to the forest road below (Ref. 1). Follow the forest road to where the Way joins the Kilrateera walk at R695882. On reaching the road, turn left and head towards the Lough as far as the junction with Morgans Lane (R699877). Then EITHER continue along the road straight back to the village OR turn right and follow the route of the Morgans Lane walk from that point back to the harbour.

     
  2. A longer walk (12 km) incorporating the section of the Way that links the road just north of Derroran Bridge to a point on the Sellernaun and Mountain View walks and the Way section described at (1) above.

    EITHER follow the Derrycon walk to the T-junction at R714895. Turn right. OR take the direct route north from Mountshannon over Derrycon Bridge (R711877) to R714895.

    Head north about 1 km passing over Derroran Bridge on the way. A short distance north of the bridge, where the East Clare Way turns right (R715906), you turn left along a track. After a short distance you join another section of the East Clare Way. Follow the Way west and then south to where it joins the Sellernaun and Mountain View walks

  3. at R697899. Turn right and walk the short distance to the T-junction (R694901). Turn left and proceed to the next T-junction (R687889). Turn left again and walk towards Mountshannon until the Way turns left off the road at R695882. Leave the road and follow the Way to just above Derrycon Bridge (R711877). From there follow the road south to the village.

    Map 52 is required for the northernmost sections of this walk. Map 59 is required for the eastmost sections. 

Walking boots should be worn on the off-road sections. If there is any chance of visibility problems make sure to take the Ordnance Survey maps and compass.

Ref. 1: Map 5 of The East Clare Way - Walkers Map Guide. 1997. Published by East Clare Way Company.

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Maps:

    Ordnance Survey of Ireland, Discovery Series 1:50,000
    - Map 52, Area north of Mountshannon
         including major section of East Clare Way.
         Required for Variation (2)

    - Map 58, South-west Lough Derg from Mountshannon to Killaloe and south to Ardnacrusha and Parteen

    - Map 59, Central Lough Derg including Williamstown, Dromineer, and Garrykennedy
         Required for short section of walks to east of Mountshannon.

Acknowledgement:

    This page was developed from a pamphlet published by East Clare Way Limited. The material has been adapted slightly to focus more precisely on the needs of boating folks. The permission of East Clare Way Limited to publish extracts from the pamphlet is gratefully acknowledged. Particular thanks are due to Stasia Moroney for her assistance in the project to include East Clare walks in the IWAI Walks pages, Frank Reid for providing the original walk descriptions and advising on their adaptation to the Web, and to Gerry Burke for his helpful advice.

 


Holy Island - Lough Derg 

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Last updated: 08 Mar 2013
   
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