Ballycroum Loop: Way to go
MAP: OS of Ireland 1:50,000 Discovery Sheet 58; map and instructions downloadable at discoverireland.ie/walking.
TRAVEL: M7 to Jct 27; R474 to Killaloe, R463 to Tuamgraney; R352 to Scarriff; R461 to Feakle. Follow 'Limerick' out of Feakle, in 3.5km, right at crossroads ('Mass Rock, Trailhead'). In 2km, parking space on right at forest entrance.
WALK DIRECTIONS: Follow forest road; in 1km, left ('Mass Rock'; East Clare Way yellow walking man and arrow/ECW; purple arrow/PA) out of trees, across Ballycroum bog. Follow ECW and PA past Mass Rock and megalithic tombs for 1km.
Right over stile (ECW/PA) out of bog; descend path; left (ECW/PA) down to road. Left for 200m; right (ECW/PA) down field edge; cross Maghera River by footbridge; up field edge into green lane. Left (ECW/PA) for 0.8 km. At tarred road by a farm ECW goes right, but turn left here (PA). Follow lane and Pas to recross Maghera River; steeply uphill on stony lane; at T-junction, left to car.
LENGTH: 5½ miles/9km -- allow three hours.
CONDITIONS: Forest tracks, bog path, green lane. Wet and muddy parts.
DON'T MISS: Mass Rock; megalithic tombs on Ballycroum bog; tumbledown houses in the green lanes.
ACCOMMODATION: Clareville House, Tuamgraney (061 922 925; clarevillehouse.net) -- walker-friendly, helpful, efficient B&B. Doubles from ¤75 for two, including breakfast.
INFORMATION: Tourist Office: Arthur's Row, Ennis. Tel: 065 682 8366; shannonregion tourism.ie.
Christopher's new book 'Walking in Ireland' (Ebury Press), which contains 50 of his favourite 'Irish Independent' walks, is available now from bookstores.