Glenbarrow, Slieve Blooms - Way to go
MAP: OS of Ireland 1:50,000 Discovery 54; downloadable map/instructions (highly recommended) at discover ireland.ie/walking.
TRAVEL: Rail (irishrail.ie): Portlaoise (11 miles). Bus (buseireann.ie): Clonaslee-Rosenallis-Mountmellick-Dublin service under consideration (info: 057 869 2168). Road: Side road to Glenbarrow signposted off R422 (Clonaslee-Mountmellick), on bend in Rosenallis. First right, then first left to Glenbarrow car park.
WALK DIRECTIONS: Follow Blue Route ('Waterfall'; blue arrows/BA). 500m beyond Clamp Hole waterfall, Blue Route climbs to meet forest road. Cross and climb path (yellow arrows) to Ridge of Capard (superb views). Return to forest road; turn right (BAs). In 1 mile, another forest road rises to right; turn left here (BAs) down forest path, back to car park.
LENGTH: Four miles -- allow two hours.
CONDITIONS: Rocks, tree roots underfoot; short sections boggy and steep. Slippery rocks along river. Buggy-friendly along forest roads.
DON'T MISS: Clamp Hole Falls; strawberries and bilberries on way up to Ridge of Capard; view from the ridge.
ACCOMMODATION: Ardmore House (057 913 7009; kinnitty.com) or Aaron House (086 199 5555; aaronhouse. ie), Kinnitty, Co Offaly.
GUIDE BOOKS/LEAFLETS: Bladhma by Tom Joyce (Acorn Press).
WALKING IN SLIEVE BLOOMS: Slieve Bloom Guided Walks: Every Sunday until mid-November 2010. Visit slievebloom.ie/ walking_programme.html. Tel: 086 278 9147; email@example.com.
- Slieve Bloom Eco Walks Festival: September 18-19, 2010. All walking info at slievebloom.ie.
- Portlaoise Tourist Information Office: James Fintan Lawlor Avenue. Tel: 057 862 1178; midirelandtourism.ie.