Swanlinbar, a small village in West Cavan is popular with fishermen and walkers. This beautiful region is dominated by steep mountains - Ben Aughlin, just to the northwest of Swanlinbar, owes its unusual shape to ice formations during the last Ice Age over 12,000 years ago. Many examples of sweat houses dot the hinterland – these are small structures built of stone without mortar and were used by sufferers of a variety of illnesses, from rheumatism to skin complaints. A fire was lit in the central chamber and a patient would crawl inside and perspire for over an hour. Swanlinbar was once famous for the healing properties of its many spas - the waters with high sulphur content, are traditionally held to be a cure for rheumatism. The Hawkswood Loop begins just outside the village of Swanlinbar. The loop takes you uphill towards the Cuilcagh Mountains following a series of old ‘bohereens’ and laneways. From the high points here are fine views of the surrounding countryside, the bog and Cuilcagh Mountains.
A-B. The loop starts from a car park in the townland of Hawkswood. With your back to the car park, turn right and follow the surfaced road for 500m to reach a 3-way junction. This is where the loop ‘proper’ begins – you will be returning to this point on the return journey. Turn left here onto an old ‘bohereen’.
B-C. The bohereen takes you by some derelict stone houses before entering a wonderful section of broadleaf woodland at a gateway.
C-D. After passing the gate, follow the stony track uphill towards the Cuilcagh Mountains of West Cavan through woodland to reach a T-junction at the top of the climb. Turn right here.
D-E. Follow the directional arrows along stone walls to reach some derelict stone houses. It is believed there was once a fairy fort in this area! Leaving the houses behind follow the directional arrows across fields to join a ‘green laneway’ which marks the start of your return journey.
E-A. The loop starts its descent now, following the green laneway through a few gates and by an old farmhouse before rejoining the outward section of the loop on its return to the trailhead.