Today’s blog post is about the Cahermurphy Looped Trail in Co. Clare.
Welcome to my blog! If this is the first time you are visiting, my name is Katleen, and I have been blogging on and off for the last 9 years. I am based in the West of Ireland in a small townland called Peterswell in a region called the Burren Lowlands. More about me here.
This time we ( hubby and me) headed out on a miserable Saturday morning to nearby Flagmount in Co. Clare to walk the Cahermurphy Looped Trail. It’s a 20-minute drive from Gort. If you are using Google Maps and coming from Galway, don’t listen to what Google suggests as it will send you down some very narrow backroads. Instead, drive through Gort, and then take the exit for Flagmount. ( Pick up some lunch in case you “forgot” to make lunch.)
The Cahermurphy Looped trail is 9 kms long, and I would allow 3 hours to complete it, and this is assuming you are not really taking any long(er) breaks. You might also want to think which direction you walk the Cahermurphy looped trail, and where to park your car, more about that later.
Where does the Cahermurphy Looped trail start?
We started from the Lake called Lough Greany. The entrance to the Lake is called White Sands. More info here.
What to wear, what to bring?
Make sure you wear walking boots that are waterproof, as you walk through the forest, marshy bogland, main road and your feet will get wet( I wore runners and pop socks and ended up with that wonderful squishy sound of water with every step and 2 nice blisters to boot !! )
Bring a packed lunch ( really do it), snacks and water/juices as unless you stock up in the local shop in Flagmount, there are no places on your way to buy anything. Don’t forget to start off with a fully charged mobile. Wear a yellow vest for visibility so you are seen on the sometimes busy local roads!
We started walking the trail in lashing rain, and it was only as the weather cleared up, we became aware of the midges, so consider wearing long trousers( or be prepared to walk very fast 🙂 or spray plenty of insect repellent.
And last but not least, if you are walking on your own, make sure you tell someone where you are going, and when you are due back as it’s pretty desolate there. In fact, I would recommend you walk with someone, it’s more fun:)
Though I love walking with small kids, this walk is not suitable for small children.
Where to park your car?
Park your car at the lake, follow the red arrows ( the walk is very well signposted). As you enter the forest, there is a fallen tree, you will have to do some ducking and diving, but very doable.
The first hour and a half of the walk is pretty flat and easy, and takes you into a dense forest, followed by a less dense part ( it looks like a dead forest) with a few bridges, followed by a beautiful walk beside the river Bleach.
There are beautiful wildflowers throughout the walk and a many Tree Roots on the trail, just be mindful to slip. Lot’s of bridges to negotiate!
When to take a break on the Cahermurphy Looped Trail?
I’d recommend you have a break halfway and have something to eat and drink, as the second part of the walk is an upwards walk and you’ll need your energies to get to the top.
Yes, I won’t lie, I had to stop a few times to catch my breath, but my effort was well rewarded with a fabulous view over Lough Greaney!
I love the view for the descend and although it was cloudy, the view is beautiful. Once you are at the bottom, you take a right to go back into the direction of the lake, which takes a good half an hour to walk. At this stage, you will be tired, and I would recommend you have a break.
Somebody had walkers in mind, as we had tea and the rest of our lunch on a stone bench – the view was amazing, it was all worth it! Pity I forgot to take a picture of the bench, as it was very ornate with flowerpots on each side.
Having walked it ( and having struggled a bit with a climbing road for – I am guessing an hour- I wonder if I’d rather have a steep climb at the beginning of the walk when I am still full of energy, followed by a descend for the rest of the walk.
Second consideration to make is where to park. If you park at the lake it means you will need to walk back to the car towards the end of the walk, when you might be already very tired. If you park at the school, you have a good half an hour walk to the lake. When you are at the bottom of the descend, instead of taking right, you take a left and you will be at your car in no time.
I think next time I’ll park at the school, face a very steep climb and then have a descend for the remainder of the walk.
If there are walks you think I should walk, let me know, I am always looking for inspiration!
Greetings from Peterswell,