Walk for the weekend: Captivating trail on the Tipp-Limerick border

You'll find beguiling riverscape in a wooded ravine on this looped walk

Clare Glens: 'It was worth the exertion to get up close to the cascades and watch the water surging over the cliffs into quiet plunge pools.'

Clare Glens: 'It was worth the exertion to get up close to the cascades and watch the water surging over the cliffs into quiet plunge pools.'

 

The Clare Glens, a heavily wooded deep ravine on the Clare River is beloved by walkers from both Tipperary and Limerick.

It is generally described as a Looped Walk and while there is indeed a firm walking track on the Limerick side – the county boundary follows the river – it is much more than that. It has terrain that requires good hiking skills.

Over a stretch of two kilometres the Clare River has cut a deep ravine into the soft sandstone over which it flows. On its way it descends in a series of cascades creating a dramatic riverscape that constantly mesmerises the senses.

There are trail heads on both sides of the Clare bridge but the Tipperary one was closed at the time of writing, possibly due to fallen trees, so the entrance is on the Limerick side. The path runs along the top of the ravine. There are glimpses of the river down through the densely wooded slopes of which pine, holly and hazel are the principal species.

Foretastes were not enough for me and luckily, I had come equipped for exploration.

There are several narrow paths that lead down to the banks of the river, but they are steep and muddy with slippery rocks and tree roots. I would not have attempted it without boots, gaiters and trekking poles.

It was worth the exertion to get up close to the cascades and watch the water surging over the cliffs into quiet plunge pools before tumbling on again to the next drop. It was possible to make out the ghost of a muddy path running along the bank.

In places the channel was so narrow that the river gushed past in a welter of white water Eventually fallen trees forced me back up on to the walking track until I came to the next path which provided another tortuous descent to be again enraptured by the vibrancy and power of the thundering torrent.

The sun at this stage had risen high enough to kiss the leaves of the woodland canopy making the scene more magical. I walked along until the path petered out again and I was forced to ascend. Further along a flight of steps led down to a bridge which crossed over to rather muddy path which led uphill well above the stream. It’s a pity the Glen isn’t under one jurisdiction; the Limerick men have made a fine job of their side.

At the top of the loop a second bridge gave a fine view of the Eas (Waterfall), the largest one on the river and I was pleased that by turning left after having crossed I was able to get down to it. There were a few photographers taking advantage of the fine conditions and a lone kayaker sussing out the levels who informed me that I was looking at a top drop followed by a side winder which is a drop that requires a sudden change of direction in mid-air. Nonchalantly he informed me that “Things can get a little sticky at times”.

Every man to his own. I’ll stick to my slip-sliding.

Walk for the weekend: Clare Glens. Co Limerick/Co Tipperary Panel

Map: Ordnance Survey. Discovery Series. Sheet 65

Start & Finish: At the Clare River Bridge. Grid Reference: 730 599

How to get there: The bridge is situated on a 3rd class road linking the R503 at Newport, Co Tipperary with the R506 at Murroe, Co Limerick. There is a large car park on the Newport side of the bridge.

Time: Two Hours.

Distance: 4 Km

Total Ascent: 60m.

Suitability: Footpath route easy but muddy on Tipperary side. Proper gear required if you are going down to the river. Don’t take risks

Food & Accommodation: Newport. Murroe.

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