The Offaly Way
The Offaly Way is a linear route linking the Slieve Bloom Way, (at Cadamstown) to Lemanaghan Monastic Site, and to the Grand Canal Way. Only 37kms long, it nonetheless includes areas of mountain and riverside as well as long stretches of bogland. Though the highest point is only 140m, much of the Way commands wide views over a comparatively flat landscape. The route has ecclesiastical and prehistoric interest.
The Way starts in Cadamstown, with the Slieve Bloom Way less than 2 km away. Just north of here is an interesting geological formation where a fine outcrop of rock has been exposed by erosion caused by the Silver River. The waterfalls and gorge along here are most attractive features. The Way crosses the Black River and ascends Knock Hill, at 140m the highest point on the Way, before descending into Ballyboy. Here the Way crosses the Silver River and runs along its bank into the town of Kilcormac. The town holds the Kilcormac Pietà, a 16th century representation of the Virgin Mary mourning over the body of Christ. For 60 years, during a time of persecution, the pieta was hidden in a bog.
Beyond Kilcormac, the Way enters Boora Bog, an area of peatland formerly harvested for turf. Now a wide variety of uses, including amenity use, are being encouraged. Nearby is Lough Boora, formerly a lake and now a fen and nature reserve. This area is of great historical interest since excavations have revealed Mesolithic remains. Close to the end of the present phase of the Way at the Grand Canal is Turraun Nature Reserve, formerly a cutaway bog and now an area where more than 80 species of birds and 150 species of plants have been recorded. The birds include a flock of 200 Whopper Swans.
Thanks to Killian O’ Brien from Offaly County Council for sharing this info.
Please check out http://www.visitoffaly.ie/ for more great things to do in Offaly!