Ballyhoura Country - Simply Different
Situated in the Southwest region of Ireland, on the borders of counties Limerick, Tipperary and Cork, Ballyhoura Country is an area the undulating green pastures, of the Golden Vale, of woodlands, hills and mountains.
The area has been described as "a haven of beauty and tranquillity", where the pace of life is slow, offering the discerning holidaymaker the chance to re-discover quality living, like it used to be, from the people of the Ballyhoura themselves.
Two mountain ranges, the Ballyhoura's and the Galtee's, offer walkers a unique experience to explore the Irish countryside at its best. With over 1,500km of off-road marked trails, the area offers much in the way of walks, from leisurely strolls through peaceful pastureland or forest tracks, to the Ballyhoura Way, a 90km, long distance walk which traverses the area from east to west.
The Ballyhoura Way follows part of the O' Sullivan Beara trail and stretches from Limerick Junction in County Tipperary to John's Bridge, on the Allow River near Freemount and the Cork-Limerick Border. This is an attractive and varied route through the lush pastureland of the Golden Vale - wild countryside - mostly on 'green roads', droving paths and along river banks, across the wooded Ballyhoura Mountains and through the Glen of Aherlow.
Maps or personal guides are available throughout the year or you may join in a guided walks with the Ballyhoura Bears Walking Club, the club walk each Sunday throughout the year and on Thursday evenings from May to October. The annual 'Ballyhoura International Walking Festival' takes place over the May Bank Holiday Weekend. For further information please visit the Ballyhoura Bears Walking Club website for information of their upcoming walks.
The countryside also provides a chance to explore the many historic monuments and visitor centres, as well as participate in the wide range of sporting and other outdoor activities, on offer in the area.
Ballyhoura is a central location for touring the whole southwest of Ireland; situated close to thriving towns and cities which offer a variety of entertainment and shopping alternatives. It includes Mediaeval Kilmallock, the National Tidy Towns award-winning Galbally, the attractive village of Ardpatrick with its traditional association with St. Patrick and Bruree and its connections with Eamon de Valera, former President of Ireland, to name just a few.
At the heart of Ballyhoura Country is Lough Gur which is recognised as one of the most important archaeological sites in Ireland and acknowledged as one of the most important Neolithic settlements in northwestern Europe. The site includes stone circles and standing stones, ancient burial chambers and cairns and Neolithic house sites dating back over 4,500 years. At Lough Gur heritage centre overlooking the picturesque lake, the archaeology and history of Lough Gur is interpreted for visitors, who can than visit some of the field sites. Other historical and archaeological sites, throughout the whole Ballyhoura Country are included in many maps and guide books published on the area.
For the convenience of visitors travelling by car through Ballyhoura Country, two circular driving routes , have been mapped and signposted. They are the Golden Vale Drive 112 km through the pasturelands of the Golden Vale at the foot of the highest mountain in the area, Galtymore (918m) and the 30 km Slí Finn (Fianna) Drive along quiet roads winding through scenic rolling hill country. These also offer opportunities way-marked loop walks and nature trails, visiting archaeological for pleasant village stops, and heritage sites, angling and bird watching.
The Golden Vale is Ireland's richest pastureland and this is reflected in the number of Visitor Farms that offer an opportunity for visitors to experience life on a working farm. Farms open to visitor's range from honey farms and dairy farms to farms with pet corners and children's attractions. There are lots to choose from, all with their own special interest and welcoming atmosphere and plenty of fun. Gardens open to the public and wildlife areas throughout Ballyhoura Country offer an opportunity to sample the wealth of flora and fauna in the area. The Ballyhoura Mountain Park is an area of woodland, rugged mountain, grouse moorlands and peat bogs which cover and area of 10,000 hectares. With an abundance of beautiful trees and plants, it is an ideal venue for nature trails and birdwatching; with a number of marked nature trails, visitors can enjoy the peace and tranquillity at leisure or at more lively pace along orienteering trails.
Shannon Region Tourism