Going for a Sunday Drive as a child, usually involved being squashed into the back of the car with my brother and cousins, fighting for a window seat or at least to be able to stand between Mammy and Daddy’s front seat (would you ever see the like of it today!) and heading up the Slieve Blooms. I don’t seem to remember these Sunday Drives taking place in cold weather, only roasting hot sunny days where the heat shortened tempers and the only way to calm everyone down was to stop and get and get a 99 in Kinnitty or Clonaslee.
Fast forward a decade or two and I find myself going for another Sunday Drive up the Slieve Blooms, on another roasting hot Sunday, but this time into unchartered territory…this time to walk Glenafelly.
We approached from Roscrea and did what Google told us to do, taking the Kinnitty road out of Roscrea. Driving straight until we came to a sign for Glendine, here we turned right and this brought us to Glenafelly car park.
Hiking trails advised that this loop would take about 2 hours. On the day we visited, we strolled along, stopping to sit down, admire the views and sense of wide-open space and didn’t notice the time flying by, we were very much in Sunday chill-out mode! It is a lovely walk to do as there is a signed forest trail the entire way around. On this particular day, due to the heat, it was great to walk under the canopy of the trees and then be back out in wide open space, feeling the heat on our bones and breeze blowing on our backs.
It was a change to be walking among the coniferous larch forest, and looking across at the deep green of the trees in the valley, compared to my local woods full of Oak, Beech and Ash. While there are plenty of signs pointing you in the right direction while on the walk, on our visit at point B on the map, once we walked over the little bridge at Glenafelly stream, a lot of trees had been cut down and there was no sign indicating where to go so we just walked straight ahead which led us back to the track (about 150 metres) and a sign post re-assuring us we were on the right track.
As you come to the end of the walk it is particularly nice as you walk on a path through the woods carpeted with the needles from the trees and it feels so soft underfoot, before re-emerging into the sun and daylight.
Glenafelly is about 2km from Kinnitty where you can enjoy a 99 on the village green, or head to Giltraps where John will be delighted to have an ice-cold drink ready for you! Giltraps have also just opened a café next door to their lovely pub so that will be available for good food from 9-3:30 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the moment. Just outside the village on the Mountmellick road is Kinnitty Castle where you can have something a little more substantial to eat in their atmospheric Dungeon or Library Bar.
The next time I made it to the Slieve Blooms wasn’t so sunny, but enjoyable all the same. More here…