Walks by Lough Ree – Portlick * * * *
Office of the Admiralty
– Chart 5078. 1844. Lough Ree.
CAUTION: This chart has not been corrected since first date of publication and should be used with caution.
Ordnance Survey of Ireland, Discovery Series 1:50,000
– Map 47, Cribby Islands, Lough Ree to below Shannonbridge
5 km; 1.25 hrs; Start: Map 47 N060498
On paths & roads by woods & farmland; Historic
A wonderful walk exploring the wooded glades and farmlands of Portlick and the Whinning peninsula. Most of the walk is close to the lake shore. Return by Portlick Castle. Arguably the most enjoyable walk by Lough Ree.
In 2002 the attractiveness of this walk was reduced by the extent horses had used the woodland path making it somewhat difficult to walk along.
Happily in mid-May 2004 the path was in good condition when, following a dry spell, we walked the woodland path. At the time the woodland floor was a sea of bluebells. We encountered only modest evidence of horses using the path. The damage to the path was limited and caused us minimal inconvenience.
Notes to map:
- Start by boat at N060498, Map 47, Ordnance Survey of Ireland, Discovery Series.
Follow the main navigation channels to a position north west of Portlick Bay from where there is a good view of the Bay. Then, using Admiralty Chart 5078 and the depth sounder for guidance, motor slowly into Portlick Bay and choose a point at which to anchor.On a typical visit recently the wind was from the south. We dropped anchor in the middle of the Bay on a line between the small boathouse on the east shore and the northernmost point on the west shore. We had approximately two meters of water under the keel (total depth about three meters). Normally less water is available later in the Summer and early Autumn. The anchor held at the first attempt and buried itself in mud. Another much larger cruiser moored much closer to the southernmost end of the Bay. Avoid in north-west winds and beware of rocks lurking just beneath the surface slightly further from the shore than one might expect. We only visit Portlick Bay in good weather, with the aid of the Admiralty chart and a depth sounder, and at very low revs.Individuals approaching by water may prefer to go ashore at points around Portlick Bay other than the recommended starting point. Suggest proceeding clockwise as that gets the less interesting section over first.
- Start by car at the car park on the north shore of Rinardoo Bay N055490, Map 47, Ordnance Survey of Ireland, Discovery Series.
Take Athlone to Ballymahon road (N55) to Glassan or Toberclare. Then use Map 47 to navigate to car park. Suggest proceeding anticlockwise as that gets the less interesting section over first.
- The walk marked on Map 47 follows a route that for much of the way follows the boundary of a farm. There are numerous paths from that track down to the shore. Those paths cross a woodland path that runs between the route shown on Map 47 and the shore. The woodland path runs all the way up the west shore and some distance down the north-east shore of the peninsula. The woodland path is the interesting route and will be particularly enjoyed by naturalists.
- There is a slightly tricky piece of navigation at the south-west section of the walk:
- Walking clockwise one arrives at a ruin at the end of the forest track that runs west from the car park by EITHER following the track all the way from the car park OR after rejoining the track having walked the woodland path that loops south of the track. The ruin stands in an attractive forest glade. To continue from the ruin walk back along the forest track to where the woodland path joins the track on the left. Turn left onto the path and continue around the peninsula keeping the lake shore on your left.
- Walking anticlockwise and having followed the woodland path that runs parallel to the west shore of the peninsula one arrives at a forest track. At this point turn right to visit the ruin at the end of the track. The ruin stands in an attractive forest glade. To continue EITHER walk back along the forest track to the car park OR take the woodland path that loops south of the track. The path starts on the right just beyond where the woodland path that runs parallel to the west shore joined the forest track. It rejoins the forest track some distance before the car park.
Points of interest
- The woodland walk, a must for naturalists
- Attractive and varied views of Lough Ree
- Ruin near south-west limit of walk
- Portlick Castle
For more information see The Lough Ree Trail – Athlone (O’Brien 1990), pages 31 to 36.