Ballygamboon Wood

Ballygamboon is located on the eastern end of the Sliabh Mish mountains just where rough pastures meet up with rich farmland. The wood has a southerly aspect with commanding views of the river Maine and a huge area of rich flat farmland below. If you are lucky with the weather you can see Kerry Airport and the village of Farranfore to the east while looking west Castlemaine harbour and Cromane point come into view. Look to the south and the Magillycuddy`s Reeks are there in all their splendor with the village of Castlemaine in the foreground. A quarry which once supplied stone for the adjacent road construction has now been incorporated into the car park and picnic site complex. A trail leads from the car park up through mature Sitka spruce and Noble fir and out into a large area of young spruce and larch trees. The young trees afford the trekker unimpeded views of the valley below and the panorama of mountain, sea and farmland. This trail rises to almost 650 feet over sea level. It is a steady pull all the way up. It`s a linear trail ( you have to come back the same way you went up) of about 1 mile. In dry weather runners or walking shoes are fine but if it is raining more robust footwear is recommended. There are 2 distinct viewing points along the way. The predominant tree species here is Sitka spruce, with Japanese larch and a scattering of broadleaves, mainly our native birch and ash. The undergrowth and sides of the trail consists mainly of Purple Moor grass, Ling heather and Bilberry (Frauchan). The adjoining Sliabh Mish mountains have been designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) due to their importance as a European dry heath and also as a habitat for the rare Killarney fern.

Located 6 miles south of Tralee on the N70 to Killorglin. From Tralee take the N70 towards Killorglin, travel 7 miles to the forest entrance and car park on your right. Be careful crossing as it is near a bend on a busy road. From Killorglin, take the N70, go through the villages of Milltown and Castlemaine, 3 miles beyond Castlemaine the entrance and car park is on the left.

Caragh Lake Forest

Located on a steep hillside overlooking Caragh Lake this site offers magnificent views of the surrounding mountains, lakes, Dingle Bay and the Atlantic ocean. The approach road is through a tunnel of oak, beech, Scots pine and holly running adjacent to the lake shore with its hotels and country houses. On entering the wood you travel up through a crop of mature Scots pine with an under storey of holly and birch. On arrival at the car park the entire vista of the lake opens up with Seefin mountain in the background and the Caragh river as it makes its way to the sea at Caragh creek. Back 300 feet from the car park, a forest road to the left brings one up the hill through a recently restocked area. At the end of the road a narrow trail continues up the hill, where it forks, take the one to the right which leads to the forest boundary. From here the whole panorama of the Magillycuddys Reeks comes into view, with Carrauntoohil, Ireland`s highest mountain (3,400 feet) staring you in the face. Back to the fork on the trail, continue to another fork and for the more adventurous take the trail to the right which leads to the hill top and a 365 degree vista. To the north west lies the Dingle peninsula and Dingle Bay with the Slieve Mish mountains reaching towards the sea. To the east lies the Laune valley stretching right back to Killarney. Looking south one can see the entire Magillycuddys Reeks and to the west is the broad Atlantic with Caragh lake in the foreground. On your decent from the hill top continue along the trail and you will end back in the car park. Total length of this looped trail is a little over a mile, it is rated as moderate and takes about 45 minutes. to complete. As well as the looped trail there is a further 0.5 mile of forest road to walk and enjoy. On the lower slopes of this hillside the tree species consist of Scots pine, oak, ash, birch and holly. As one ascends the species turns to Sitka spruce, Lodgepole pine Japanese larch and some birch. All the regular forest inhabitants are to be found here including some Sika deer.

Located 8 miles south west of Killorglin overlooking Caragh Lake. Take the N 70 ( ring of Kerry road ) south west from Killorglin for 5 miles, pass the "Red Fox Inn", take a left at sign for Caragh Lake, travel 2.5 miles and take a right, travel 0.5 miles to forest entrance on the left. Travel up through forest road to car park.

Dooneen Wood

The origin of the townland name is the "small fort". Dooneen has a forest area of some 130 acres. First planted in the early sixties most of it is now in its second rotation. The forest comprises mainly Sitka spruce, with some stands of ash, birch and a sprinkling of alder. The main feature in this site is the car park and picnic area which is neatly set among semi mature beech and young poplar trees. This is accessed by a looped road of some 820 feet long. From the picnic site take a rough path through young Sitka spruce trees for 300 feet which joins up with the forest road. From here one has a trail of about half mile through thicket stage spruce with a nice sprinkling of birch and alder trees pushing their heads above the spruce. If you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of a fox or a badger as you ramble along through the spruces. If you are taking a hike through Dooneen strong footwear is recommended as some uneven ground and shallow drains have to be dealt with.

Located 2 miles north east of Castleisland. From Castleisland take the N21 (road to Limerick), travel another 2 miles to a car park (road entrance) on the left. Take care crossing the road as traffic is quite heavy on the N 21.

Glanteenassig Forest

Glanteenassig is a 1,110 acre area of woodland, mountain, lake and peatland nestling in a sheltered valley among the Slieve Mish mountains. To reach it the visitor must step off the beaten track, travel up the valley and feel the remoteness of the mountains. Behind the trees the area abounds with streams, lakes, waterfalls and dramatic cliffs which characterize this untamed landscape. The wood is approached through a small grove of beech between the entrance and a bridge that spans the Owencashla river. Just over the bridge is a car park. The forest, typical of those which were established in the 1950`s and 60`s consists mainly of Sitka spruce and Lodgepole pine. However, there are some pockets of silver fir, larch and beech in the more sheltered areas and some native species such as birch, alder, and holly. As areas mature and are clear felled much of the spruces are being replaced with larch, alder and Mountain ash in keeping with the primeval forests that once colonized the area. The first opportunity to experience the beauty of Glanteenassig is about 3/4 miles from the car park. Just after crossing a wooden bridge, take a left along the trail to the shore of Lough Slat. This quiet and serene lake nestles below the imposing hill of Doon and the majestic rock face of Carrigaspanaig. This scene can be even more dramatic after heavy rain when "a thousand wild fountains rush down to that lake from their home in the mountains". ( J,J, Callinan ). It is easy to understand the origin of the name Glanteenassig or Gleann Ti an Easaigh which translates to the Valley of the Waterfalls.

Back to the forest road and take the trail to the right which leads the visitor up along the bank of the river Owencashla and back on to the road again. Continue along the road to a T junction, take a left and after 300 feet you are on the shores of Lough Caum with a board walk right around the lake. This lake is a trout angler`s paradise. From here the landscape opens up to a 360 degree vista of mountain, forest, lake and valley. Retrace your steps from here back to the T junction and continue on over a ford on the infant river travelling east for about 2,000 feet when suddenly the whole of Tralee bay with the Stack`s mountains in the background comes into view. As well as the 3 waymarked trails there is about 5 miles of forest road in this block of forest. This provides the ideal location for a long hike or for a family cycle. Although remote, Glanteenassig is only about 4 miles from the sandy beaches at Castlegregory thus providing the perfect diversion for the holiday maker on the days not suited to the beach or when one tires of sun and sand. To get away from it all there is no better place to spend a day or even an afternoon.

Located 15 miles west of Tralee off the N 86 at the village of Aughacasla.

Gleensk Wood

Situated on the Ring of Kerry road overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with panoramic views of the Dingle peninsula across to Mount Brandon. The main tree species are Sitka spruce with lodgepole pine and Monterey pine. The local fauna include most of the common small mammals as well as common bird species. Sea birds can be observed from the cliffs as can seals and the occasional otter. The facilities include a lay-by, forest and sea walks, picnic sites and viewing points.

Gleensk Wood is located about 7 miles west of Glenbeigh on the N70 Ring of Kerry road.

Glenbeigh Wood

Situated on the hill dominating the village of Glenbeigh. The main tree species are broadleaves include birch, mountain ash and scattered oak while conifers are represented by grand fir, lodgepole pine, Scots pine, Corsican pine and Japanese larch. The local fauna include fox, badger, red squirrel and woodcock. There is a wildlife sanctuary nearby. The facilities include a half mile of old railway line once in operation between Tralee and Caherciveen is included in the forest walk. There is salmon and trout fishing on the River Behy, 1 mile from Rossbeigh beach. The Rossbeigh sand dunes lie nearby.

Half a mile from Glenbeigh on the Rossbeigh Road.

Kilderry Wood

Situated on flat area with lush farmland. The main tree species are old oak standards which are still evident together with birch and mountain ash. Introduced species include Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, Scots pine, Japanese larch and beech. The local fauna include many species of birdlife. There is evidence of squirrel activity and badger paths as well as fox and hare. The facilities include a lay-by, picnic site and forest walks at Kilderry Wood.

Kilderry Wood is approximately 1 mile south of Miltown on the N70 driving from Killorglin.

Lickeen Wood

The site is situated in the picturesque Glencar Valley, adjacent to Upper Caragh River, Caragh Lake and Lower Caragh River. The main tree species are primitive oak woods. Other broadleaves include holly and mountain ash, while conifers consist of Sitka spruce, Japanese and European larch, Douglas fir, Scots pine, lodgepole pine and grand and noble fir. The local fauna include otter and wild mink can be seen among the common wildlife. Red deer and sika deer are resident in small numbers in the adjoining woods. The usual woodland birds can be found. The facilities include picnic site and forest walk. The Upper and Lower Caragh Rivers and Caragh Lake are famous for salmon and trout fishing.

Lickeen Wood is located about 11 miles south west of Killorglin on the Ballaghsheen Pass Road (3rd class road).

Lyracrumpane Wood

Lyracrumpane or Ladhar an Crompain which means the space between converging rivers is located in the Stack`s Mountains of north Kerry between the Smearlagh river and the Crumpane river. The rivers converge just downstream from Lyracrumpane bridge. Lyracrumpane became famous in north Kerry and further a field for two reasons. The first was that in 1908 Matt Dillane from nearby Glountane while walking home from Listowel took a shortcut through "Quill`s mountain" a mile from his home. He sat for a rest and fell asleep. He "awoke" to the sound of men working in the bog, houses, horses and a railway track complete with engine and wagons. He told his story often and earnestly but naturally nobody believed him. Matt died some 16 or 17 years later and his story continued to be recalled around many a winter fireside. In 1938 Matt`s vision became a reality for the spot where he lay became the headquarters of the Lyracrumpane Bord na Mona works. There was an office, stores, a forge there and a diesel locomotive with 14 wagons brought turf from the bog to the roadside for waiting lorries. From 1938 to 1963 some 250,000 tons of peat was produced from this bog. A mural of Matt`s vision painted by local man John Joe Sheehy now stands at the car park and picnic site. The second reason for Lyracrumpane`s fame is that at nearby Reanagowan crossroads Dan Paddy Andy O Sullivan a famed matchmaker ran a dancehall and matched up many a couple. Dan Paddy Andy was the subject of John B Keane`s book "The Man with the Triple Name" Folklore also states that Fionn Mac Cumhaill, chief of Na Fianna fell to his death in the Stack`s mountains and is buried in Lyracrumpane. The total area of Coillte`s woodland in Lyracrumpane is 1,418 acres. The Smearlagh river which means the river of the blackberries flows right through the property. A looped walk has been developed along the river bank and back by the public road which is called the Mass Path/ River Walk. A car park and picnic site is to be found along the loop walk. The area adjacent to the river is around 247 acres. Some of this was planted in 1968 while the area closest to the river was planted in 1992.Tree species is mainly Sitka spruce but there are a few excellent stands of ash and beech near the river. The river has been designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) due to its importance as a salmon spawning ground.

From Castleisland take a secondary road signposted for Listowel. Travel 7.5 miles along a scenic road through forest and bog land to the 4 Elms Bar on your left. On the way you will have passed through Reanagowan crossroads, famous for Dan Paddy Andy`s dancehall.

Rossacroo Wood

Rossacroo derives its name from the old Irish name Ros a chro which means the wood of cro or cattle hut. This suggests that the area has been under forest for quite a long time. The 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map (1841-1846) shows part of the site covered by light woodland at this time (Garrett 2001), indicating a history of woodland cover over at least parts of the site. This property comprises 2000 acres with the Loo river and valley running north east through the middle of it. The wooded slopes come right down to the river from both sides. This was mainly native Sessile oak which became depleted in the early part of the 20th century. Restocking with mainly conifers took place in the 1940`s and 50`s.The wood now carries a mixture of broadleaves and conifers with Sitka spruce being the dominant species. As well as the Loo river and the R569 road which dissects the valley, the old railway line from Kenmare to Headford junction ran right through the wood parallel to the river. This line is still in existence and makes for an enchanting walk through oak, birch and hazel scrub. The line which operated from 1891 closed in 1959. The focal point of Rossacroo is the Millennium forest site. This is an area of 100 acres with Sessile oak in the valley bottom and lower slopes and a mixture of Oak and Scots pine, Sitka spruce and Lodgepole pine on the upper reaches. The long term vision here is to convert the entire area to Oak woodland through removal of the conifers and natural regeneration of the Oaks. There are 3 plots of millennium trees, Oak, Alder and Birch where one can go and visit their tree. Across the road from the millennium forest is another car park and picnic facilities. The largest section of the forest is on this the northern side of the valley. There are 9 miles of forest road in this block to whet the appetite of the walking enthusiast. As one ascends the hill vantage points are to be found here and there which open up the panorama of the valley below. For the really adventurous Crohane lake is to be found on the most northerly tip of the forest. A walk to this lake is not for the faint hearted and proper clothing and footwear is advised . The fauna of the area includes an expanding population of Sika deer which does untold damage to young trees, in particular to broadleaves. Native Red deer are also to be found here. All of the regular forest inhabitants are to be found in Rossacroo such as foxes, badgers, hares, rabbits and a diverse population of birds.

Located 6 miles north east of Kilgarvan village on the N569 to Killarney. From Killarney travel east on the N22 for 11 miles, turn right at Poulgorm bridge and travel on the R569 for 4 miles to the Millennium forest site. From Kenmare travel north east on the R569 through Kilgarvan and on to the car park on the right. This is a busy road in recent times and extreme care is advised entering and exiting the parking area and when crossing the road.