Walking & Cycling
Cycling Holidays in Ireland
By travelling on two wheels and at your own pace along our wealth of rural back-roads and byways you will really get closer to nature and meet the charming local people. When you stay with us you will be tempted to indulge in the mouth watering breakfasts on offer, the Full Irish can include hot or cold cereal, yogurt, fruit, cheese, fish, eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, pudding and lovely home-made brown bread or toast. We also offer for your convenience evening meals and packed lunches.
We are always there to give advice to you on anything from routes to information on history/culture of the area and any special sites of interest etc. We have maps detailing roads suitable for cycling and suggested cycling routes from their premises and provide an early breakfast for those who may be keen to make an early start. We will also provide cyclists with a packed lunch or arrange for luggage to be transferred to your next night’s accommodation. Hillview also offers facilities such as a drying room, and secure lock-up areas for bicycles.
Mountain biking has taken a large leap forward in the amount of people taking part and therefore a large number of natural trails and Mountain Biking Centres have become available to use. Coillte, Ireland’s Forestry company, provide man-made trails around the country including the largest trail centre in Ireland, the Ballyhoura MTB Trail centre on the Cork / Limerick border, the Bonaveen MTB Trail Centre in Portumna, the Derroura MTB Trail Centre Galwaywhich overlooks the beautiful Lough Corrib, Co. Galway. Also with natural resources to ride on plenty of trails in Cratloe Woods, The Slieve Bernagh and the Arra Mountains overlooking Lough Derg, Slieve Felim, Keeper Hill, The Silvermines, The Glen of Aherlow, the mid west is a Mountain Bikers Paradise.
Walking Holidays in Ireland
Hillview Farmhouse B&B is set in the heart of the East- & Mid-Clare Walkways. We are an ideal base for walkers to enjoy the tracks & trails of the East- and Mid-Clare Walkways, the Burren Way and the Lough Derg areas. We offer home comforts, home cooking & peaceful relaxation surrounded by donkeys, horses, cattle, farm pets, mountains, rivers, castles, woodland, heritage sites, stunning nature, charmimg villages, quirky traditional shops & a variety of activities on our doorstep. Walking is truly is the best way to explore fully & absorb the beauty of the Clare Walkways. A network of back roads will take you on a delightful journey of tranquility & discovery. Explore the fascinating landscape & wonderful scenery. A variety of trails & looped walks will take you to some beautiful parts of Co Clare. Lough Derg waterways, mountain ranges, rolling countryside, fertile valleys. The countryside is criss-crossed with byways, forest paths, nature trails, country lanes, minor roads, all leading to splendid isolation in rugged mountain terrain and lush valleys. You experience fascinating cliff scenery, vast tracks of bogland & rolling hills with donkeys, horses & wild deer. There are a number of different walks to try: way-marked ways, looped walks, treks & eco-walks.
Facilities for Walkers
Early bird breakfast, evening meals, packed lunches, flasks, laundry facilities, maps & guides are available for all walking routes. A good knowledge of the area is assured. We provide transfers from Shannon Airport, and from Ennis bus & train station. Daily drop-off service to walks & pick-up available. At end of walks an evening meal is provided & transport to local pubs for music sessions. The area has rich heritage for walking. Other activities on offer are cycling, fishing, bird watching, flora, fauna, pub music, sightseeing, music festivals, horse fairs, hunting & local markets with local produce. East Clare is a place of secrets, folklore, charming villages, quirky pubs with rousing melodies of Irish music, dancing & singing. So get Walking!
Clare has been fortunate in securing a number of excellent new Looped Walks as part of the Shannon Trails/Failte Ireland initiative. There are three in East Clare and one in Mid Clare.
- Ballycroum Loop: part of the Network of National Looped Walks. Trailhead: Ballycroum Forest, Feakle, Co. Clare. Distance/Time: 9km/2.5–3 hours (details here).
- Cahermurphy Loop: part of the network of Shannon Region Loop Walks. Trailhead: Cahermurphy Forest Car Park. Distance/Time: 9km/2.5–3 hours (details here).
- Dromore Wood Loop: part of the National Looped Walks. Trailhead: Dromore Wood, Ruan, Co. Clare. Distance/Time: 6km/1.5–2 hours (details here).
Requiring a medium level of fitness, these walks are ideal for leisure walkers, families, school field trips and those who are on a short visit to the area.
The East Clare Way
The East Clare Way is 172km in length and ascends some 3,000m. Allow an extra 15km for detours to accommodation. It can be comfortably walked in 8 days with stage lengths ranging from 20 to 30kms. The East Clare Way is 172km in length and ascends some 3,000metres. Allow an extra 15km for detours to accommodation. It can be comfortably walked in 8 days with stage lengths ranging from 20 to 30kms. (For further information see www.clarewalks.com, www.walks.iwai.ie and www.shannonregiontrails.ie.)
Killaloe to Broadford - 19Km (ascent 575m)
The starting point for the East Clare Way is the heritage town of Killaloe. Killaloe is an important tourist centre on Lough Derg, the gateway to Clare. Leaving Killaloe the route ascends via the Gap road. The views along here are magnificent, to the north Moylussa mountain and to the south across the Shannon to Limerick and distant Kerry. The route descends to Kilbane and proceeds through to Broadford.
Broadford to Tulla- 38km
Leaving Broadford along the Limerick road the way climbs steeply up the Sallybank road with superb views back to the Slieve Bernaghs. The way descends passing some beautiful oak woodlands, west of Doon lake and on to O’Callaghans Mills. The way continues on to Tulla passing a variety of landscapes including bogland, woodland and pasture land as well as Kilgorry lake nearby.
Tulla to Flagmount- 48km
Tulla – the Irish name Tulach meaning a hill – is a hilltop village where St Mochulla founded the original church in 620 AD. Today the walls of the later 18th century structure can be seen. Tulla today is rich in the heritage of traditional music, home of the Tulla Céilí Band. Leaving Tulla and crossing the main Tulla Gort road the Way continues through the forestry track climbing gradually through the area known as Uggoon with views of distant Slieve Bernaghs to the south east and the Shannon estuary to the south west. The mixture of moorland, forestry and scrub in this stretch offer a range of habitats for animals like the Pine Martin, Red Squirrel and badgers as well as a variety of birdlife.
Climbing the moorland to Lough Ea on the foothills of Maghera mountain the way goes off to the right crossing bogland, home to a few Red Grouse and eventually descends by an old stone bog road. Continue the way via forestry and up to Ballycrown an area rich in flora including insectivorous Butterwort and Sundew and Cross-leaved heather to mention but a few. Descend the hillside with its beautiful views of Maghera, Knockbeha and Lough Graney. More than 20 different varieties of wild flowers exist in this area especially abundant in Springtime.
The Way travels along the valley reaching Liss Cross and the old village of Cloonagroo lies off to the left in the valley. The Way rises via Knockanena descending to the Lough Graney Inn and passes through lowland bog at Doorus. Follow theWay to Dillon’s Wood, views to the right across Lough Graney are magnificent. Follow the Way to Flagmount.
Flagmount to Mountshannon- 32km
This can be a long and fairly strenuous hike and walkers without camping equipment should set out early and well prepared. Perched overlooking Lough Graney is the village of Flagmount. The late 18th century poet Brian Merriman’s poem Cúirt an Mheán Oiche was inspired here. Merriman a local hedge-school master, scandalised the establishment at the time with his social and political satrire on rural Ireland. A commemorative stone to him has been erected nearby at Bunshoon Bridge between Flagmount and Caher.
Climbing a steep land alongside O’Mara’s shop to reach the road above. Views back across the lake from here are some of the most spectacular to be found anywhere along the East Clare Way. Climb Knockbeha mountain and left along the Glen road where there’s beautiful views over the Slieve Aughtys and glimpses of distant Lough Derg.
Now on the descent follow the Way in an easterly direction to Turkenagh. From here the Way descends through bogland and forestry and for the thirsty traveller you can opt to take the spur to Whitegate or continue the Way to Mountshannon. With it’s fine harbour and modern marina Mountshannon is a picturesque village, a National Tidy Towns winner.
Mountshannon to Scarriff- 17km
From Mountshannon the Way proceeds through Bohatch, Ardeevin and Cappaghabaun towards Scarriff. The long road down the hill offers an excellent view over Lough Derg and Ogonnelloe.
Scarriff to Killaloe- 30km
The Mid Clare Way
The Mid Clare Way is a way marked long-distance walking route making a circuit of the region surrounding the county town of Ennis. It totals 139km in length, and is divided into the following main stages:
Newmarket on Fergus to Quinn- 9km
From Newmarket on Fergus the N18 turns south for Limerick, the walker should take the smaller road eastwards and follow the Way signposts until reaching a sign which leads into Mooghaun Woods. These woods which flank the walk are predominantly young beech and scots pine with strands of Norway spruce. As you pass the car park you will see a sign for Mooghaun Fort, and it is well worth a short detour to see this, the biggest archaelogical site in Ireland. From the woods follow the signs through gentle pastureland to the village of Quin. The quaint village of Quin is famous for its Abbey which dates back to the 12th century
Ballinruan to Ruan- 28+km
Dromore Wood is a nature reserve which is famous for its wildlife, both forest and wetland. The road travels for about 1km through the forest, then at the picnic area and information centre follow the signs past the castle in a beautiful setting over-looking the lake. The wood and loughs are being cared for by Dúchas, the Heritage Service, and are being managed in order to restore the wood to native species. It is well worth a detour to follow the woodland trail. Follow the signs through the wood until reaching the tarred road, then turn right after a few hundred metres onto a path through fields into Ruan village. The field behind Morty Kelly’s pub is traditionally believed to be the campsite of Richard de Clare’s army on the night before the battle of Dysert O’Dea.
Ruan to Connolly - 26Km
After the castle turning, the Way passes St. Tola’s High Cross, church and round tower. The high cross is a beautiful example of its type. The church is famous for its magnificent Romanesque doorway. Once past the church enter a low-grade road and bear right for a few hundred meters, when a sharp left will lead onto an ancient roadway. At the top of the road cross Conway’s Bridge and the walker will see two ringforts just off the walk. Follow the markers uphill on a low-grade road to Magowna Castle, which is just visible above the trees on the descent. Turn right on the hill opposite the castle and follow a grassy track.
At the first bend turn right up a series of steps in the bank and turn sharp right to follow the path uphill onto craggy upland farm lands which closely resemble the Burren with impressive views over Ennis and the landscape around Kilnamona. Descending, pass beneath the road by means of a stone tunnel used for livestock and follow the signs right and then left through farmland. Follow the signs onto the main Ennis-Ennistymon road and turn sharp left onto a grassy path uphill to Shallee Castle. At the end of the path turn right onto a low grade road, passing a colourful shrine and holy well, and follow the posts for 2km. Follow the Way through fields and tracks until it meets the main road. Turn right, then left into a field and cross a series of bridges into Connolly village.
Connolly to Lissycasey/Newmarket on Fergus - 26Km
From Connolly church turn left onto an old Mass Path, which follows a low grade road for a while and turns into a lane. Veer right, then right again onto a lane. Turning left near the end of the lane the walker can hear a waterfall, which has been a popular bathing place for generations, then turn onto a high bank which leads up the hill at Renagishagh. Follow the Way to the summit of Ben Rua. From here there are views over the Burren, Follow the Way a short distance through forestry, then turn left over a stile onto a track which leads back to the tarred road. Follow the markers into the Letteragh forest and walk gently uphill to climb Bean Dash, known locally as the ‘Top of the Bean’ where there is a view of five counties. Descending to the south on tracks and low-grade roads through an area of desolate bogland with magnificent views of the Shannon and Fergus estuaries, the walker reaches the Ennis-Kilrush road at Crowe’s Cross. Following a low-grade road through farmland there is a tack leading down to Lanna waterfall which is worth a visit. Continue through the farmyard and up the hill. At the top of the hill there are excellent views of the Shannon estuary. Left and then right onto a low-grade road leading to Islandavanna where the River Shannon is restrained by a low bank. This bank was erected in the 1850s by a syndicate set up to reclaim 1200 acres of low-lying land in the estuary for growing hay, corn and turnips for export to England. The Way follows a series of low-grade roads through the flood plain. Coney island, Deer island and crow island can be seen in the estuary. From here the Way passes through pastureland to Clarecastle. Clarecastle is a busy town on the River Fergus.
Leaving Clarecastle, cross the bridge and turn left onto the old bog road passing Killow church. Then turn right at the next crossroads and left at the junction at Jasper’s Bridge in the townland of Doora. Follow straight on to the end of the road and turn right onto the bridge which crosses the Ennis-Limerick railway line. Cross the Ardsollas bridge which was once a toll bridge. Follow the road onwards, passing the lodge on the right, turn right at the next turning and follow the original path through Mooghaun woods, returning to the start of the walk at Newmarket on Fergus.