Located in Counties Laois and Offaly in the centre of Ireland, the Ways follow a mix of forest tracks, riverbanks, old roadways, grassy trails, sandy tracks and minor roads. There are a few rough and rugged sections – but they rarely rise to high altitude and do not demand great stamina. The Ways are signposted, and stiles and bridges have been erected where necessary to ensure ease of access – making them suitable for people of ‘medium’ levels of fitness or higher.
Slieve Bloom Way
The Slieve Bloom Way is a 84km long, circular walking trail which stretches across counties Offaly and Laois through the wild and mysterious Slieve Bloom Mountains Environment Park - an area of undiscovered environmental beauty, boasting a fabulous array of flora and fauna, remarkable deep glens, rock outcrops, waterfalls, and lofty summits which at their highest points allows you to see each of Ireland's four provinces. Truly 'a walk on the wild side' along forest paths to the heart of Ireland's midlands. The way is divided into 7 sections each representing a half days walking. The Slieve Bloom Way is best accessed at one of six key trailheads which provide car parking and are reasonably close to services such as shops, restaurants and accommodation.
They are located at:
Trailhead 1 - Glenbarrow Carpark
Trailhead 2 - Brittas Woods Entrance at Clonaslee Village
Trailhead 3 – Cadamstown Village Carpark
Trailhead 4 – Kinnitty Forest Entrance near Kinnitty Village
Trailhead 5 – Glenafelly Forest Carpark
Trailhead 6 – Monicknew Forest Carpark
The Offaly Way is a linear route of some 30kms linking the Slieve Bloom Way (at Cadamstown) to the Sli Mor (at Lemanaghan) – and crossing en-route the Grand Canal Way. The route includes sections of riverbank, stretches of bogland, green mass paths and quiet country roadways. Although the highest point is only 120m, much of the Way commands wide views over a comparatively flat landscape. The Way follows a mix of forest tracks, riverbanks, bog roadways and minor roads. The Way also includes a picturesque walk to a number of sites of interest including Turan Wildlife Park, Boher, Esker River, Silver River and St. Managhans Shrine. It is divided into 3 sections each representing a half days walking. The trail starts in Cadamstown and finishes in Lemanaghan. As the route is mainly flat, it is easy to moderate in difficulty and suitable for people of average levels of fitness
Grand Canal Way
The Grand Canal Way is an ideal way for the beginner to begin their waymarked walking experience on a flat route. The route passes through a range of small towns and villages with all the necessary amenities and is ideal for drop-off and pick-up points. The Way is a 114km, long distance walking trail that is divided into 9 sections each representing a half days walking. The trail starts at the Lucan Road Bridge and ends at Shannon Harbour.