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OUTDOORS Walking trail in Clogher

Outdoor Living
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Clogher walk showcases rural Mayo


Walking
Tom Carolan


Clogher Bog Walk
Length 8k loop.
Trail Surface Bog roads, quiet country roads and sections through farmed fields.
Bring Walking shoes, rain gear (just in case), camera, water and a snack.
Level of Difficulty
Easy, but it will take you about 2 hours to get around the loop.
Dogs No dogs please on the farmland sections, as there are cattle and sheep. If you have a dog, just do the bog section – turn right after you exit the bog to get back to the centre.
Close by
Clogher Heritage Centre (April to September); Ballintubber Abbey.

Clogher, which means ‘rocky place’, is a common townland name in the West of Ireland – there are at least eight Cloghers in Mayo alone and numerous similar place names. The Clogher I describe here is situated 12 kilometres south of Castlebar and close to Ballintubber Abbey. The easiest way to get there is to go to Ballintubber Abbey and follow the signs for Clogher Heritage Centre. Watch out for the last sign just past Ballintubber GAA pitch.
The Clogher Bog Walk, which starts and finishes at the heritage centre, is a superb 8km circular route through some of rural Mayo’s most distinctive landscape. This is an easy walk that can be enjoyed by people of almost all ages and levels of fitness. There is an information board at the centre with purple arrows to guide you along the way.
A short distance after leaving the heritage centre you enter the bog track; on the way you will see information boards describing a range of native trees that surround the trail. The folklore and mythology of hazel, alder, holly and ash trees are described at various points.
Some locals still cut turf here, but it has become a haven for wildlife in recent years as large areas become overgrown. Anyone who loves and appreciates bogland does not need to be told of this environment’s understated beauty and endless variety.
After leaving the bog, you will pass through farmland and a lovely section of hazelwood which formed part of an ancient pathway to Croagh Patrick. You will see The Reek to the west as you make your way back to the heritage centre, and you will also get glimpses of the Partry and Nephin Mountains in the distance. 
Local lady Mary McDonagh, who was part of the group that developed the walk, gives her views on why walking trails are becoming so popular in recent times: “I’d say in the hard old days everyone was out working the land all the time, so they didn’t want to walk it for pleasure. But now you’ll see people out doing this walk after they’ve driven home from work. They just enjoy the countryside, without associating it with all that hard labour and those hard times.”

Tom Carolan works for South West Mayo Development Company as Recreation Officer. His job involves the design, construction, and promotion of recreational trails. He can be contacted at living@mayonews.ie.

This article is the fourth in the Living section Walk of the Month series, which describes a different Mayo walk on the first Tuesday of each month. Previous walks can be accessed at www.mayonews.ie/living.