East County Limerick & The Golden Vale Drive

  • Lough Gur, Co. Limerick

Begin this driving tour at the lovely village of Castleconnell, 13km north-east of the city on the N7 Limerick to Dublin Road. Perhaps try a spot of angling or take a walk by Worrell’s End or World’s End, referring to the fact that this quay was used during the Great Famine in the 1840’s as an embarkation point for emigrants fleeing Ireland for the New World.

From here, continue by car to the village of Murroe where you will find the magnificent Glenstal Abbey set in outstanding natural beauty and a place of great peace, is a refuge for those longing for a little of the tranquillity of monastic life! Day visitors are free to walk the avenue at the front of the Abbey or a warm welcome awaits those who wish to prolong their visit in the Abbey guesthouse.

Close by is the Clare Glens - a peaceful, wooded, walkers paradise. The scenery here is breathtaking with wild dense forest combined with the calm rushing of the crystal clear waters. The forest walk journeys past waterfalls, rock pools and rapids, and presents stunning photographic opportunities. Perfect for families with young children or those looking for a mini-adventure in a truly beautiful setting.

Travel back to the main M7 toward the city and take the R512 heading in the direction of Kilmallock. The picturesque driving route you are embarking upon is known as the Golden Vale Drive, which will take you through some of the most lush, green and rolling pasturelands in Ireland.

Continuing through Ballyneety and on to Lough Gur, 20km south of Limerick City, is one of Ireland’s most important archaeological locations, with a number of sites and monuments ranging in date from Neolithic to Medieval times. The stunning scenery surrounding the lake make Lough Gur an idyllic spot to stop and enjoy a picnic and a lakeside stroll. The magical fairy trail and superb Solstice Playground at Lough Gur are sure to enthral young visitors. Make sure to follow the 100 steps to the viewing point to find where the fairies live!

The next stopping off point is the charming town of Bruff where former President of Ireland, Eamon de Valera grew up. 10 minutes from here you'll find the the bustling Walled Town of Kilmallock.

Kilmallock, also known as the crossroads of Munster, is an important Norman town and was at the centre of Ireland’s political development from the 13th through to the 17th centuries.

Nearby Kilmallock are the impressive villages and towns of Kilfinane, Ballylanders, Galbally, Emly and Pallasgreen. Its no secret that this whole area is steeped in history but it is also a playground for outdoor pursuits with a whole host of activities designed to get your adrenalin pumping.

Download the Ballyhoura Trails Guides app for your personal guide to the loop walks in this region, where a world of outdoor adventure, history and cultural heritage is waiting to be explored. There are 11 walks ranging in distance from 5km to 18km, varying from easy strolls to challenging hikes through sandy roadways, woodland trails and forest paths.

Families will love the The Ballyhoura Nature Trail, located at the Ballyhoura Forest Park - a 40 minute 5km investigation of over 20 hidden creatures in the woods that kiddies have to uncover on their walk.

Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Adventure
Ballyhoura, Co. Limerick

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