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Sunday, 1 September 2013

Surprises of Killykeen Forest


Killykeen Forest near Cavan has been on my list as a forest to visit for a long time. This year I have changed the dates for visiting several times so my expectations for anyone sharing the visit with me were very low.

Getting there was a small challenge. I took a few wrong turnings Its not good to rely on sat naving and google maps when the satellites cannot find you. I'll have to get back into my old habit of carrying my paper OS Maps with me again. I used to take them everywhere as I have at least 85 of them that cover the country stored at home.

I entered the forest from the Killeshandra entrance as I had posted to meet at the car park on the Gartanoul side. There is a footbridge that joins this with the Cavan entrance and the Derinish side.


Driving along what seemed like a long forest road,


there were clear felled sections with several blackberry pickers. I soon discovered that the backberries are big and sweet here.

As there had been no dialogue with anyone I believed this would be an adventure I would do alone, but a couple of minutes after I arrived 7 people turned up from Cavan town.

With the vastness of the forests I did not know where to go first but a megalithic site was featured on the map so I thought that was a target to head for. Fortunately the people who arrived to walk to had the same idea, and they know the place.


After some beautiful forest trackway walking we came to a lovely lough side beach, and of course the children loved to play here.


More native tree forest walking


and more lovely lough views


I think we missed the track to the megalithic cairns, but met interesting people on the way.


Eventually we got to the megalithic cairns site, a clear felled area with two Court Cairns. For those who keep record of this sort of thing these are the 'Gartnanoul Court Tombs' and here are some pics ...










Here is the sign we walked past, but it does not mention the cairns, but that's the track to take as the cairns are only about 50 metres away.


But this is the track entrance we took, near the open area on the forest road where blackberry pickers were earlier.


After the walk and megalith visit, time for picnic :-)


After, everyone left, the sun came out stronger so I carried on with a stroll.

Saddened to hear and see that this forest, very close to Cavan town, is apparently barely used and so the tea room and snack shop facilities could not afford to stay open.


I caught some beautiful sunny evening scenes before I left for home




Killykeen Forest is far more beautiful than I imagined. Only 75 minutes from my home, I look forward to returning here next year with others to share this or alone, either way. This is magic.


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