An 80-mile nature trail showing the natural heritage of Lough Derg was launched last year to take visitors from Portumna, County Galway, to Killaloe, County Clare and back to Terryglass, County Tipperary, taking in some of the most stunning natural beauty in Ireland.
Among the 24 discovery points featured are:
The monastic site at Inis Cealtra - known as the “Jewel of the Lough'
Ancient woodlands of Portumna Forest Park
The sheltered bays and harbors
The twin heritage towns of Killaloe-Ballina
The stops along the route, which can be traveled in any direction, include walking routes, lakeshore access, great bird-watching locations, woodland parks for adventuring, and quiet spots to enjoy the beautiful vistas of Ireland's third largest lake and the largest lake in the River Shannon system.
Read more: Top ten nature trails in Ireland
Speaking prior to the trail launch in Portumna, Cllr. Mary Hoade, Cathaoirleach of Galway County Council, said, "the outstanding natural heritage of Lough Derg enhances the visitor experience by providing a range of vistas, sights, sounds and places to explore and opportunities to experience, many of which are featured in this wonderful new trail."
County Council Heritage Officer for Galway, Marie Mannion said, “This trail provides visitors and locals alike with a continuous guided tour around Lough Derg throughout the Lough Derg Region taking in some of the best scenery and natural sites that Ireland has to offer."
Sites featured in the Lough Derg (on the Shannon) Nature Trail include Portumna Water Recreation Park, Portumna Forest Park, Abbeyville Golden Mile, Derrycrag Wood, Rosmore Pier (Galway), Coos-East Clare Way, Clare/Galway), Dromaan Harbour at Williamstown, Church Bay, Mountshannon, Inis Cealtra, Woodpark, Raheen Wood, Aughinish Wood, Ballycuggaran Forest & Rinnaman Point (Clare) Killaloe-Ballina (Clare/Tipperary) Castletown (The Lookout), Castlelough Woods, Garrykennedy, Youghal Bay, Ryan’s Point, Dromineer Bay, Luska Bay at Coolbaun, Cominchas Forest, and Terryglass (Tipperary).
Copies of the Lough Derg (on the Shannon) Nature Trail and accompanying guide will be distributed to tourist offices and visitor attractions around Lough Derg. For more visit www. galwaycoco.ie.
Read more: Walk away the blues in Ireland
*Originally published in April 2015.