Walk of the month: Portumna Forest Park – Rinmaher Walking Trail
The name Portumna derives from the Irish Port Omna, meaning the landing place of the oak tree. Portumna Forest Park was acquired in 1948 and covers almost 450 hectares. It was formerly owned by the Clanrickarde family.
There is an old abbey, now under the care of the Office of Public Works (OPW), within the Park which dates back to the 15th century. The nearby castle, on which considerable restoration work has been carried out by the OPW, dates back to the 17th century and was the seat of the Earl of Clanrickarde.
Adjacent to Portumna town, Co. Galway on the northern side of Lough Derg, Portumna Forest park offers some of the most attractive landscape in the region.
The Bonaveen Looped Trail is the longest loop in the park, covering the western side of the Park, including the wonderful Bonaveen Point section by the lake.
This loop brings the visitor face to face with a multitude of diversity including mature Scots Pine forest and open lakeshore environments. It takes you into areas of the park previously unexplored by visitors.
You will be privy to some of the most attractive landscape in the park with great views out over the expanse of Lough Derg; a very busy area in Summer. This trail is open to bad weather at times and can be quite exposed so be prepared with suitable clothing and footwear.
This moderately difficult trail is level, easy going and filled with rewarding natural beauty.
The trail starts northwards from the car-park on singletrack (narrow and twisty in places) and heads into large stands of Scots Pine. It then winds through mature Beech forest and younger mixed broadleaves bringing you around the top of Portumna Golf Club.
You will pass through deer gates in high fences, designed to keep the deer from getting onto the golf course. When you reach the golf club’s car-park, cross directly over while watching for traffic entering and leaving the car-park.
The next section brings you above a large turlough on the western end of the park. This is a feature typical of low-lying limestone areas where the water table fluctuates throughout the year. In Winter this is a haven for water fowl such as duck, waterhen and cranes. It leads onto a forest road to the south of the golf club and brings you near the disused Bonaveen harbour and onto the long section around the lakeshore.
On the return leg from the lake, you can link into the green waymarked loop of the Rinmaher trail to give a 4 hour walk or 2 hour cycle of the full trails in the park.
Duration: 2 hours Approx / Distance 10.5km – download the map from Coillte Outdoors here.