Mount Hillary Loop, Co Cork - way to go
MAP: OS of Ireland 1:50,000 Discovery 80; downloadable map/instructions at discoverireland.ie/walking.
TRAVEL: Rail (irishrail.ie): Banteer (5km). Bus (www.buseireann.ie): 243 from Newmarket (Saturdays). Road: From Mallow, N72 Killarney road; left on R579 through Banteer.
In 2km, left across Glen River (brown 'National Loop Walk Trailhead' fingerpost). Trailhead in 3km on right.
WALK DIRECTIONS: From Trailhead follow 'Mount Hillary Loop' red arrows (RA) up forest road. In 150m, right (RA). In 2km, left (RA) past posts, up steep bank with steps. Right along forest road.
In 2.5km, where 'Father Murphy's Loop' blue arrows point ahead, turn right off road (RA) through trees, then left (RA) up track at edge of trees to summit triangulation pillar.
Continue past telecommunications masts (RA); in 500m, trail swings left and descends by long zigzags to Trailhead.
LENGTH: 6½ miles/10km -- allow three to four hours.
GRADE: Easy (one short, steep section).
CONDITIONS: Walking boots recommended.
DON'T MISS: Views north and south; excellent information boards; prehistoric communications mast at summit!
REFRESHMENTS: Picnic; or White Country Inn, Banteer (029 56257).
ACCOMMODATION: Hibernian Hotel, Mallow (022 58200; hibernianhotel mallow.com)
GUIDE LEAFLETS: 'Walking Duhallow' leaflets (include Mount Hillary), available from local TICs, or from IRD Duhallow, James O'Keeffe Institute, Newmarket, Co Cork (029 60633).
INFORMATION: Tourist Office: Bridge Street, Mallow (022 42222).