Length: 11k Ascent: 160m Estimated time: 3hr 30min Grade: Moderate Grid ref: V 690 669
Part of the Kerry Way network, the Lomanagh starts in Sneem on the Ring of Kerry and leads mostly on quiet country lanes and on a few grass tracks through sheep farms and forests with beautiful views onto the Kerry Mountains, Kenmare Bay and Beara Peninsula.
From the North Square in Sneem, follow the minor road to Lomanagh, past the GAA grounds. Look for the signs in the square. After the GAA ground, the route forks left along a tarmac minor road. For the next kilometre, the road runs parallel to the Sneem River.
At an appropriate vantage point you can take in the view, which embraces the geological history of the Kerry Geopark, with red sandstone rocks tilted steeply to form the mountain range.
For the next 1k, observe the increasing roughness of the landscape, the outcrops of sandstone, the sound of rapids in the Sneem River. Note the small farms and their farming economy. In the areas of boggy, undrained ground you will see (in season) a profusion of wild flowers including orchids.
After another 1.5k the route now forks left, away from the Sneem Fermoyle Loop Walk (white markers) and the tarmac minor road comes to an end after about 300m.
A pedestrian gate has been placed alongside the forestry gate. From the gate, the forest road winds upwards through glacial-polished and scratched rocks, new plantations of trees, amazing views of the glacially sculptured mountains and corries as well as many wildflowers, including butterwort, an insectivorous plant. The track winds down the hillside and opens out to views of the Kenmare River and the Beara Peninsula. The Kenmare River is a Ria – a drowned river valley formed with the rising sea levels caused by the post-glacial ice melt.
See www.kerrygeopark.ie/trails for further details.