Situated in the southwest region of Ireland, on the borders of counties Tipperary, Limerick and Cork, Ballyhoura country is an area of undulating green pastures, woodlands, hills and mountains. The ancient and unspoilt landscape, the abundance of heritage sites, the range of outdoor activities, and the friendliness of the local people make it an excellent place to discover rural Ireland. This loop starts and finishes in the village of Galbally – at the heart of Ballyhoura country. The Darragh Hills, situated to the southeast of Kilfinnane, offer pleasant walking through mixed broadleaf and conifer woodland with some heathland. There are wonderful views of the rolling hills of the surrounding countryside with Galtymore in the distance.
Directions to Trailhead
A-B. Starting from trailhead, follow the green (and purple) arrows uphill along the surfaced roadway to reach a T-junction. (The purple arrows are for the longer Darragh Hills loop). Turn left here and travel 100m to reach a junction with a narrow laneway on your right. Turn right here.
B-C. Follow the laneway uphill past a Holy Well and after 500m reach a junction with a forestry roadway. This is the point from which the loop proper begins - continue straight on through the wooden posts and join a woodland track. Continue to follow the green and purple arrows along the track as it meanders through a section of broadleaf woodland and ascends to exit onto a forestry roadway. Turn right here.
C-D. The loop follows the forestry roadway for 600m more to reach a right bend where it turns left into forestry and ascends to reach the pile of stones that is Castlegale. Enjoy the views before continuing over the top and descending a short distance to reach a forestry road. Turn right and walk for almost 500m. At a point just short of a stile into a field, watch for a marker which directs you right and forestry. [Note that you leave the purple loop here.]
D-A. Follow the green arrows through a short section of forestry and reach a forestry roadway where you rejoin the purple loop and turn right. After 200m veer left onto a grassy downhill track and after a short descent reach the junction from where you started the loop. Turn left and follow the green and purple arrows to join the laneway and descend to reach the surfaced road. Turn left, then right, and enjoy the last 300m back to the trailhead.