Co Leitrim: one walk, one run, one hike, one swim, one cycle, one park and one outdoor gym

Your essential, outdoor, family-friendly guide to Co Leitrim

This summer, The Irish Times will offer tips, advice and information for parents on how to help their children thrive during the holiday months. Read all about it at

When the weather is good, there is so much to do outdoors in Ireland – solo, or with family or friends. Here are seven activities - with locations, descriptions, tips and some maps for a general guide.

Below you can read John O’Dwyer’s pick for a great walking path, Conor O’Keeffe on a running route, Rozanna Purcell recommends a hiking trail, Mary McCarthy on an outdoor swimming location, Ian O'Riordan picks a cycle trip, Sylvia Thompson on a family-friendly park and Fiona Alston selects a popular outdoor gym.

And remember, whatever you do and wherever you go, please be safe. And enjoy. 


Name Doneens and Hudson’s Walk
Distance 7km Linear trail
Approximate duration 2 hours
Difficulty Strenuous
Starting point Google Maps Carpark for Glencar Waterfall (grid reference G 760 433); you can follow this AllTrails guide
Amenities Parking and cafe
A there-and-back walk that follows a path from the shores of Glencar lake to the high point of Doneens. The reward is incredible views to prehistoric Knocknarea, the Leitrim Hills and Glencar Lake.

Glencar Waterfall, County Leitrim.
Glencar Waterfall


Name: Drumleague Lock Loop
Grade: Easy
Length: 5km
Terrain: Canal Path
Footwear: Road or Trail Runners
Waymarking: Yes
Dogs allowed: Yes – on a lead.
Facilities nearby: Leitrim Village 1km – cafes, shops, pubs, restaurants and accommodation
Start Point: Battlebridge Lock near Leitrim Village
Getting to the start: In Leitrim Village take the left turn for Keadue (R284). In 1 km watch for a stone bridge which crosses the canal. Turn left just before and travel 100m to reach Battlebridge Lock. The trailhead is located at the mapboard.

Route Information: The 5km the Drumleague Lock Loop walk starts at Battlebridge Lock and takes you alongside the canal to Drumleague Lock. After crossing the canal at the Lock, follow the trail back to Battlebridge Lock. Start from the mapboard at Battlebridge Lock and follow the red and purple arrows for 100m to reach the tarred road. Continue straight here following the roadway along the right bank of the canal. Continue to follow the red and purple arrows along this minor road for approximately 2.5km to reach Drumleague Lock and Bridge.

The Drumhauver Bridge Loop continues straight here but you turn left, cross the bridge and turn left again to join the other side of the canal. Now follow the red and purple arrows as the loop takes you along this grassy canal bank for 2.5km to reach the tarred road again at Battlebridge. Exit with care, turn left, cross the bridge and turn right towards Battlebridge Lock and the trailhead. You can choose to extend the run further by continuing on the Drumhauver Bridge Loop and the Acres Lake Boardwalk. (Aided by: Leitrim Tourism)


Hike name Eagles Rock
Distance 3.5 km
Elevation gain 335m
Approximate duration 2 hours
Difficulty Advanced
Route type Out and back
Starting point See AllTrails Eagles Rock
Amenities Few car spaces at the start point
Dog-friendly? No
Tips There aren’t any signs, so make sure you have a good knowledge of your route before setting off from the car


Name: Lough Melvin
Location: Google Map: Lough Melvin, Rossinver (access beside a house called Swallow’s Nest)
Brief description: Lake with sandy shore
Amenities: No
Lifeguard: No
Water quality: Excellent – Leitrim County Council July 2020
Tips: Gets deep very gradually. Bay is mainly sandy underfoot. A slightly warmer water option 5km away is the little marina outside of Garrison on the NI side along the shore road just at the northern back of the port. There is a small island here you can swim over to.

Wooden rowboats in a small marina on Lake Melvin in Co Leitrim.
Wooden rowboats in a small marina on Lake Melvin in Co Leitrim.


Name: Leitrim Kingfisher Loop
Start location: Ballinagleragh
A circular loop starting from Ballinagleragh to Ballinamore and then Drumshanbo, hilly in parts and suited for more experienced cyclists.
Distance: 56km
Time: 2-3 hours
Highlights: Part of this route follows the tranquil Leitrim Way, the long distance walking route.
Look out for: Bad weather on Bencroy, which would merit the low-route via Aghacashel.
Tips: For full route details see

Leitrim Kingfisher Loop.


Park name: Glencar Park
Amenities: Varying lengths of walks in this wild and beautiful landscape include walks along the bog road or along the lake shore or the short walk to view the magnificent Glencar Waterfall via a paved path suitable for all users.
Special features: Picnic tables and a children’s playground close to the lakeshore.
Access: Car park. Google Map “Glencar Park”.
Dogs: Dogs are not allowed.
Tip: Wear hiking boots as it can be wet underfoot.


Name: Drumshanbo Outdoor Gym
Equipment: Cross trainer, walker, ab curl, leg press, lat pull-down, chest press, standing rotator, chin-up bars, bicycle, rower, shoulder flexor.
Location: Google Maps
Information: Just a five-minute walk from the outdoor gym is a floating board walk at Acres Lake. There is also an outdoor pool in the area.

Drumshanbo. Photograph:

Get Active Series
- 32 great walking routes in Ireland - one in each county
- 32 great hikes in Ireland
- 32 great running routes
- 32 great outdoor swim locations
- 32 great cycling routes
- 32 great parks
- 32 great outdoor gyms

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