Driving Directions to Trail Head: From Kenmare, take the N71 towards Glengarriff for 14.5 km/ 9 miles. Park just beyond Molly Gallivan’s Visitor Centre on the right.
From Glengarriff, take the N71 towards Kenmare for 14.5 km/ 9 miles. Park just before Molly Gallivan’s Visitor Centre on the left.
Starting point: Molly Gallivan’s Visitor Centre on the N71.
Duration: 1 hr15mins.
Distance: 6km looped.
Terrain: Laneways, cross Country, Hill side.
Difficulty: Moderate, footing can be soft on hill surface.
Tip: Bring suitable waterproof foot wear.
Note: Follow the green markings on the yellow walking poles. Information board available near parking.
Important: This walk is developed by the local community and the kind permission of the land owners. Please stay on marked route and use stile as provided. If for some reason you need to use gates please make sure you close and secure them afterwards. No dogs allowed and please do not litter.
PDF Download: Druid’s Loop Walk
From the starting point, follow the green arrows through the gate at the left of the information board. Note the blue and purple arrows are for longer and more challenging looped walks. Enjoy the journey through the traditional Irish farmyard.
As your walk begins through part of Molly Gallivan’s Traditional Farm, take note of the following points of interest:
(A) Peat Bog
About 7000 years ago Ireland was thickly forested across most of the entire country; even highland areas were forested. During the Neolithic Age, the first farmers began to clear the trees and establish farms and settlements. As the Climate became wetter, the soil of these treeless areas became more acidic. Heathers, rushes, and other plants grew in this soil, but their debris did not completely decompose in waterlogged areas and a layer of peat began to build up. This is how peat bogs were formed. In the spring, the wet peat is cut from the bog and laid on the ground to dry out. It is then stacked into stooks so the wind and sun can dry it completely ready for burning. Turf provides good firing and distinctive aroma.
(B) Famine Ruins
This house ruin is the remains of a typical family dwelling of the early 1800’s. Cottages like this were home to as many as twelve family members who lived in extreme poverty as they tried to make a living from theirfew acres of land. Potatoes were the staple diet of the time, along with pork from the pig and eggs from the fowl.
(C) Neolithic Stone Row
A Stone Row consists of two or more standing stones and is manually arranged in a straight line. They are generally orientated in a north-east/south-west direction and are sometimes found to align with sunrise or sun-set positions on the summer and winter solstice.
Here a stone row, dating from the Neolithic or Early Bronze Age (3000-2000 BC), form an ancient sun calendar and may also have been a place of ritual. See information sign for more details.
Take Note: Before you go over the green stile, have a look at the beautiful Caha Mountains to the west and also the tunnels which go through the mountain on the N71. Molly Gallivan’s Traditional Farm ends here. Carry on over the green stile going right, descending down the hillside which brings you to the main road. As you descend, you have a wonderful view of the Sheen Valley.
Take care crossing the main road. Turn left at the main road and then immediately right follow the green marker which descends along a farm roadway. You will reach an iron bridge over Esk Stream. The Esk stream is a tributary which joins the Sheen River.
(D) The Iron Bridge
This bridge was built many years ago for local children, so they could cross the river to and from school.
Cross the bridge, turn right and follow the laneway which joins a surfaced roadway. All three looped walks turn right here. At this point, the loops join with the Beara Way – a long distance walking route around the Beara Peninsula, and marked with the familiar yellow arrows and walking man.
At the second Y-junction continue straight following the green arrows. Note that the Beara Way and purple (Cailleach Beara)loopturns left here. Follow the roadway for over 1km, Turn right after passing the large shed and continue over walking stile beside gate. Follow the markers to the foot bridge, from here continue up the hill side back to trail head at Molly Gallivan’s Cottage.