By: Blonde Two
Walking Routes in Ireland
It may be because I have a hint of Irish heritage that I have always wanted to do some walking in Ireland or maybe that mum visited the South of Ireland while she was expecting me. Either way, when Eilish from the Una Bhan Tourism Cooperative emailed to ask if we Blondes would like to visit and investigate the Miners Way and Historical Trail hiking routes, I knew that my answer would be an emphatic ‘yes!’ (Sadly B1 couldn’t also say ‘yes’ because of her current heap of work and outdoor education commitments).
The Miners Way and Historical Trail
We all form ideas of places before we experience them but my thoughts about County Roscommon, Ireland were vague (I had to look at the map to find out where I was actually going). I was imagining Scotland’s wildness but lower hills, with a bit of Dartmoor moorland thrown in and I wasn’t far wrong. We only had time for one proper Irish walk up into the Bricklieve (speckled) Mountains but this walk was more than enough to tell me that the Miners Way and Historical Trail was the sort of trail that Blondes enjoy.
What Makes a Great Irish Walking Trail?
A good walking trail, to my mind, requires certain elements:
It should provide hills that are steep enough to make you puff…
… and excellent views when you finally reach the top (Lough Arrow).
A great walking trail always needs a bit of weather (plus a group of people who know how to smile in the rain).
Long distance trails are far more interesting if they take you through some history (the Miners Way tracks the routes Irish miners took across the mountains to work and also takes in the Arigna Mining Experience)…
… and even better if they can also include some really old history (the Carrowkeel Megalithic complex is astounding, especially to a Blonde who loves the Dartmoor Bronze Age artifacts).
Our walk wasn’t long but it provided all of the above and I was definitely left wanting to explore more of this wild, intriguing and historical part of Ireland.
‘Go n-eiri an bothar leat’.
‘May the road rise up to meet you.’
The Miners Way and Historical Trail Ireland
The Miners Way and Historical trail is a long distance walking trail in Ireland. It starts and ends in Arigna in County Roscommon and is 118 kilometres long. This hiking trail was set up to encourage walkers to the area after the mines at Arigna closed in 1990 and some of the routes follow the paths trod by the miners on their way to work. Some sections of the Miners Way and Historical Trail are part of the almost completed Beara-Brefine Way, which, in turn, will form the first section of the Ireland Way, a complete South/North walking route up the middle of Ireland. Whilst the Miners Way and Historical Trail is generally completed in 5 days, it also offers a plentitude of beautiful day routes, each giving a taste of natural and historical Ireland.
We were invited on this trip by the Una Bhan Tourism Cooperative who covered our travel, accommodation and visitor expenses. All of the opinions expressed in this blog post are our own and are a true account of our experience.
The initiative was made possible by the Department of Rural and Community Development under the Funding Scheme for Outdoor Recreational Infrastructure 2017.