Firstly let me ‘fess up that Cullohill is my home village and if you think I may be a little bit biased here, well then that is because I probably am!
Cullohill Mountain, 250m approx. – yes, it is a mountain to us!! – is a popular spot to go for a walk and with very good reason. When I lived overseas I would take a walk “up the mountain” anytime I was home on holidays and always, always, always, had to stop and take in the view from the top, which quite simply takes my breath away each time I see it. Even the Irish Times has described the views as stupendous http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/travel/go-walk-cullahill-loop-co-laois-1.531825.
I will tell you about a straightforward walk that can you can do either as a 10km or 5km walk.
To begin, make your way to Cullohill, turn at the Community Centre & park at the rocks (car parking area to your left) as they are known, and begin the 10km walk from here. Otherwise, continue to drive for a bit. Walk (or drive) in a south-easterly direction towards Cullohill Castle (ruined in the 17th Century thanks to Oliver Cromwell and his crew). When you reach the castle, keep to the road on the right. This road will bring you to the mountain, passing homes and farm holdings. The road will begin to rise and curve to the right, continue on. Be aware of the sharp drop to the right-hand side (mind the Merc!). Continuing on this road, you will notice a lay-by to the left; there is a map here for the Binninea Loop, which you can come back and do that another day. It is here that you may park and begin the 5km version of the walk. Just after this lay-by, I urge you to stop and drink in the view that has now opened up to your right. It’s kinda nice isn’t it?! But carry on! As the road levels off, take the next road to your left. This will bring you up a steep curved road known as the “gooseneck”. Don’t worry; this is very short (about 250metres) but sharp. When you get to the top, you are rewarded with views across the countryside of north Kilkenny and south Laois. Now continue along this road on top of our mountain enjoying the quiet & peace of this special place. After about 2km, you will see the road slopes downwards turning left; you will make your way back down this hill hugging a forest on your right. At this point, you can return to your car that you parked in the lay-by to the left or, continue the return walk back to the village by veering right.
Pascal’s petrol station in the village will be more than happy to make up rolls or provide you with words of encouragement before your adventure!
These walks are very well signposted throughout and there is a detailed map and information board at the car park in the village. Good luck and I hope you will enjoy this area as much as I do!
If you fancy further exertion, this area is also part of the MacGiollaPadraig Way, which is a 17km linear walk and you can learn more about that here:
For further information about this walk, the South Laois Tourism website will provide everything you need to know.