The Gearagh, Lee Valley, Co. Cork
Have you ever been to Macroom? A busy market town with the beautiful remainings of Macroom Castle. But the area around of Macroom is amazing. Today I want to show you something special. According to discoverycork.ie it is a place which remains of the only ancient post glacial alluvial forest in Western Europe: The Gearagh next to Macroom. The Gearagh is a haven of tranquillity and an area for everyone who loves birds, butterflies and flowers. The Irish Times calls it the Everglades without the crocodiles.
So let’s explore this wonderful area. Before I tell you more about walking here, let me show you a few pictures:
Well, this summer the area is almost dried out. But in a few weeks, when the rain will come back, it might quickly fill up again. In meantime you can enjoy the flowers in bloom, the butterflies and a few birds. Herons are feed by this part of the Lee. And there are a few big ones to see.
Park your car at the designated area and pass the gate. Walk along the trail and after 1 kilometer you have 2 options to walk. Straight ahead or turn right. There are also a few other short side paths.
If you walk straight ahead, you’ll reach a parking area at the opposite side at an unnamed road
(51°52′28″ N 8°58′45″ W). It is very comfortable to walk as it follows a natural path and a very old paved road. Please note, that there is almost in the middle of the 2nd part of the trail a barrier you have to step over. If you have a buggy for the youngest ones, you might have problems here. The distance from the parking area at the R584 to the opposite parking area is 2,4 km. There and back nearly 5 km.
If you decide to turn right you will follow a natural path as well, interrupted by 2 gates, you can pass by. However, with a buggy it might be really difficult because you have to lift it over the gates. After 600 m, behind the 2nd gate, there is a farm and from here you follow the tiny road. It’s not a very busy road, because it is only for the few local residents. After 1 km turn left and walk up the hill to follow this part of the road. The road leads through pastures and marshland. After another kilometer turn left again and follow the unnamed road which leads after 600 m to the parking area opposite you have you car parked. From here step over the barrier and walk back the trail. This route is 6,5 km and pleasant to walk along apart from the fact that half of the route is on a road.
From Dunkettle or Kinsale Rdabout, take the N40/N22 towards west to Macroom. Short before you will enter Macroom turn left into the R584. The parking area is on the left hand side, about 2,5 km behind the turn off. Drive slowly as it is not signposted.
GPS: 51°53′25″ N 8°58′29″ W
For all my readers who are dependent on public traffic: There’s no bus service, not even nearby.
But if you want to join me for a walk or hike, please click here for guided walks in Co. Cork