As always I will start with my favourite .
- Dromoland Castle Grounds
It is only a 9 km drive to Dromoland where you can park your car for free and walk the grounds. It is where we take the kids all the time as it is full of happy memories for me growing up. The walk is mainly off road so I would ensure to have shoes you don’t mind getting muddy. Dromoland Castle, one of the most famous baronial castles in Ireland, was the ancestral home of the O’Briens, Barons of Inchiquin, who are one of the few native Gaelic families of royal blood and direct descendants of Brian Boru High King of Ireland in the eleventh century.
See the lake, the romantic folly in the picture ideal for taking photos, and the witch’s house as we call it, an old ruin beside the pond where bats rest. You can book archery, clay pigeon shooting or learn about falconry. Take a peek through the door at the back of the tennis courts to see them on their perches. The highlight is to walk through the willow tunnel to the right of the castle as you come up the drive and push the big wooden gate to the walled garden.
It’s just beautiful in summer with its Roses. It also has fairy doors to find so just perfect for little ones. It is possible to have high tea here which is a real treat or indeed I would recommend booking dinner for a full silver service experience. My family and I like to go here for special birthdays and celebrations. An excuse to really get dressed up and be spoiled. I would recommend the tasting menu but it is pricey and gentlemen must wear a jacket.
2. Three Bridges walking route in Limerick
Drive or take the bus 16 km to Limerick from Balally House.
The walk basically follows the banks of the river Shannon in the city centre and you will cross two of the three bridges, which span the river. The older bridges Thomond and Sarsfield bridges are pretty impressive sights. On clear days especially in Spring, Autumn or Winter you will have wonderful views of the Clare Hills. The walk takes in the most historic parts of Limerick including King John’s Castle, King’s Island and St Mary’s Cathedral.
If you wish you can make a quick visit to the Hunt Museum which this walk actually passes. The Limerick City Council have made great improvements to the walk on the north bank of the river Shannon, which now includes a short boardwalk close to the Treaty stone. The are some excellent pubs and cafes on route for those in need of refreshment. You could combine this walk with part of the Lough Derg Way by parking up in the city centre and taking a bus (304) to the University of Limerick , which is possibly the best located campus in the country with many beautiful walks and facilities. The river Shannon flows through the campus. You can return on foot to the city centre via the river and canal towpath,, this takes 45 to 60 mins good walking. You do not hit a really built up area until you arrive in the city centre at the Abbey river. Follow the bank of the Abbey river and you will meet the Shannon and the route of the three bridges walk. The Three Bridges Slí na Sláinte is a 3.6km route which starts near the tourist information point on Arthurs Quay. The walk follows a stunning route along the banks of the River Shannon, crossing Matthew Bridge, passing St. Mary’s Cathedral and the historic King John’s Castle, before crossing Thomond Bridge, and passing the Treaty Stone on Clancy’s Strand.
Cratloe Wood Parkand Picnic Site
is located adjacent to Cratloe village and on the western side Cratloe Forest property which is over 700 Hectares in extent. It overlooks the Estuary of the river Shannon which is the longest river in Ireland and Great Britain. The Galtee Mountains in Co. Tipperary can be seen to the east, the Ballyhoura Mountains in North Cork to the south and Shannon Airport to the west.
There is an extensive road network throughout the the wood suitable for walking.
3. Hill Knockanuarha (12 O’Clock Hills)
is located 5 km (3.1 miles) southeast of Kilkishen village in East Clare, Ireland. The main summit is marked by an Ordnance Survey Trig Point or Triangulation Pillar. The height is 309 metres or 1014 feet above mean sea level. There is another peak about 10 metres lower and 400 metres away to the west south west.
A range of walks has been identified to suit people of different fitness levels and interests. Thanks to Coillte, you are able to access the forestry and additional paths have been developed under the trees and by the streams which add to the charm of the area and provide access to heritage areas.
Check out https://12oclockhills.com
Balally House is 16 km drive to the 12 O Clock hills.