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If you are looking for a relaxing and scenic walk in County Galway, you should consider visiting Clonbur Woods. This is a beautiful forest area that offers a variety of trails, views and wildlife. 

Clonbur Woods are part of the Ashford Estate, which was owned by the Guinness family until 1939. The woods cover about 293 hectares of land, and contain a mix of native and exotic tree species, such as beech, ash, hazel, birch, willow, yew, Scots pine and larch. The woods are also home to many birds, mammals, insects and plants.

Clonbur Woods are located near the village of Clonbur, which is about 50 km from Galway city. The woods are adjacent to Lough Mask, one of the largest lakes in Ireland. The lake has many islands and islets, some of which are inhabited by people or sheep. The lake is also a popular fishing destination, as it contains trout, salmon and pike.

You can get to Clonbur Woods by car and there is a car park at the entrance of the woods, where you can leave your vehicle. Within the woods there are two main trails that you can follow: the loop walk and the linear walk. Both trails are easy and suitable for all ages and abilities.

The loop walk is 7.5 km long and takes about 2.5 hours to complete. It starts and ends at the car park, and goes through mixed woodland and along the south edge of Lough Mask. Along the way, you can enjoy panoramic views of the lake and its islands, see the remains of a shooting lodge that belonged to the Guinness family, admire limestone pavement formations that are typical of karst landscapes, and observe Clonbur river and turloughs. Turloughs are seasonal lakes that appear and disappear depending on rainfall and groundwater levels.

The linear walk is 12 km long (return) and takes about 3.5 hours to complete. It starts at the car park and goes through Clonbur Woods and onto Cong village. Cong is a charming village that is famous for being the filming location of “The Quiet Man“, a classic movie starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. The walk goes under county roads via two underpasses in Cong Wood, which is another part of the Ashford Estate. Along the way, you can enter Pigeon Hole Wood and see Pigeon Hole Cave, where water disappears underground and reappears elsewhere. You can also follow the Cong Nature Trail to see some of the old specimen trees that were planted by Lord Ardilaun over a hundred years ago.

Before you head to Clonbur Woods, make sure you have some essentials with you:

– Comfortable shoes: The trails are mostly flat and well-maintained, but they can be muddy or slippery in wet weather.
– Water and snacks: There are no shops or cafes in the woods, so bring enough water and snacks to keep you hydrated and energized.
– Rain gear: The weather in Ireland can be unpredictable, so be prepared for rain showers or wind gusts.
– Camera: The woods offer many opportunities for photography, especially if you catch a glimpse of wildlife or a rainbow over the lake.
– Binoculars: If you are interested in birdwatching or spotting sheep on the islands, binoculars can help you see them better.

Clonbur Woods are a wonderful place to visit if you love nature and tranquility. You can explore the woods at your own pace, and discover the beauty and history of this area. Whether you choose the loop walk or the linear walk, you will be rewarded with stunning views, diverse flora and fauna, and a sense of peace and relaxation.


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Clonbur Woodland



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