Walking The Cong Clonbur Isthmus

I have written before about Coillte’s native woodland restoration project at Clonbur Wood, on the Galway Mayo border. I’ve been walking down around Cong and Clonbur for maybe 14 years, often lamenting the overly dense conifer plantations on vast tracts of the old Guinness estate.

But with the advent of the woodland project, the area is already beginning to be even more attractive as a walking destination than it already was.

Cong boasts wonderful sights for walkers, including the (in)famous dry canal, a failed 19th Century engineering project. You can walk the ‘bed’ of the canal and take in small roadways between the village and Loughs Corrib and Mask. Find a lime kiln in excellent condition, or the various sinks in the highly porous limestone rock that provides the sponge linking the two lakes.

Good hill climbing in the area includes the formidable Maumtrasna mountain to the north, or the more easy going Benlevy, in between the two, which offers superb views over both huge lakes.

But the special walk here is the entirely off-road linear between Clonbur and Cong. It’s about 8 to 9 km long, but will take you up to 4 hours, at a leisurely pace. This walk, well sign-posted, will bring you through both conifer plantation and new regeneration areas, past the ruined Ballykine Castle, lost in a beech wood, alongside a beautiful little bay of Lough Mask, which Mute Swans share with Mallards, Tufted Duck and others and onto the amazing lakeshore limestone pavement. Visit Pigeon Hole sink and enjoy the wetlands of the Cong River. Here you might see some of the resident Grey Herons, or visiting Cormorants. Emerge into Cong at the Abbey and Monk’s Fishing House.

2010 sees me hosting three-day walking events in Cong and Clonbur, in association with a local B&B.


3 Responses

  1. nice palace…. must see

  2. Did the walk yesterday, starting Clonbur and taking in the loop out to the Lough Mask shore, then on to Cong, passing by the Pigeon Hole sink. Place looked great with the early summer foliage.
    Would have taken a different route back – should have accessed via Cong Wood. Even with this diversion (and a bite to eat in Cong along with the first half of the Munster match), we were back in Clonbur in about four hours.
    Keep spreading the word on this great little area for day walking!

    • Just to correct detail on timing – we took four hours walking time; time in a pub is never recorded…….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: