Boyle to Drumshanbo
Lough Key is regarded as the most beautiful lake on the River Shannon while the area around Lough Allen boasts the Iron Mountain of Sliabh an Iarainn to the east and the coal hills of Arigna on its western shore.
Roscommon to Leitrim
The journey begins at the foot of the Curlew Mountains in Boyle, home to the first Cistercian monastery in Ireland. Founded in the 12th century under the patronage of the local ruling family, the MacDermotts. Boyle Abbey’s is well worth a visit, its unique and original features are what draw attract visitors each year to the site: the imposing tower, majestic columns, lancet windows and the rather fine 16th century fireplace and chimney are all worth seeing.
Next stop is Lough Key Forest Park
Stop here for a walk in Ireland’s only Tree Canopy Walk where you can tread the branches and admire the prettiest flora and fauna from the air. A bog garden, an ice house, and a wishing chair are just some of the surprises in here. On your journey you’ll discover how humans have shaped this landscape over thousands of years introducing you to a way of life in Rockingham House that is now long gone and you’ll find out about the wildlife that thrives in these forests and on the lake.
On to Leitrim now, where you can explore more of Lough Allen’s craggy landscapes in Drumshanbo. Stop off at the Sliabh an Iarainn Visitor Centre which helps illustrate the historical development of transport and industry in the region. The centres displays feature a reconstructed sweat house (used to cure aches and pains) and coal miners at work. Train enthusiasts will love the depiction of the railway era – the waiting room, railway ticket and photos of the railway.
Foodies, make sure you pay a visit to Mill Lane Beekeeping for some of their sweet (and delicious) honeys, jams, marmalade’s, oils, chutneys and relishes – and the gift packs make great presents to take home.
Next stop is at Cleighran More, location of St Hugh’s Holy Well – a curiosity because of its bright orange water. Is it because it’s rich in iron, or is there something else going on? You decide. The site is dedicated to St Hugh, the local patron.
At the days end enjoy a drink with the locals in any of Drumshanbo’s pubs. The town is famous for its Irish musical tradition. In fact, if you visit in June you can catch ‘An Tóstal’, the annual traditional music festival in the village. With plenty of accommodation options, you’ll definitely find a place to stay the night in Drumshanbo.