The Suck Valley Way is Ireland’s longest waymarked trail, but if you don’t want to complete the entire route, you could start with the Roscommon route and there’s lots to see along the way.
What to expect on the Suck Valley Way
The Suck Valley Way follows the river valley and passes through bogs, woods and scenic farmland. Journey through a constantly changing backdrop of sleepy side roads, cross-country paths, woodland trails and riverbank walks.
The high point of the route is just 580m but there are a few climbs and uneven surfaces to negotiate. So, it will suit anyone who is moderately fit and has some walking experience. You can finish the entire Suck Valley Way in five days but there are also smaller looped walks to choose from.
There are also lots of great places to grab a bite or stay over along the route or in the nearby villages. Here are a few things to see or do if you’re planning to take on the Suck Valley Way.
Find all the information you need to start your journey at the Suck Valley Way Visitor Centre in Athleague – you can note all the local attractions and plan your route with the helpful staff before you set off or follow one of the four trails below.
The great walks
The Castlerea Trail
Time: 1 hour 30 mins
The Castlerea Trail is one of the shorter loop walks on the Suck Valley Way and a good way to start your hiking break with a great mix of history and scenery.
Walk through the expansive Castlerea Demesne Parklands and you’ll wind up at Clonalis House, home of the High Kings of Ireland. The majestic house has been restored and tours are available in the summer months.
This part of the Suck Valley Way brings walkers through a forest path, rich in greenery, taking you to the opposite end of Castlerea.
Along the way, watch out for the resting place of ‘Cindy the Elephant’ who visited with a circus and strolled to one of the local pubs, a story worth telling. At just over 6km, The Castlerea Trail takes 90 minutes and it is described as moderately difficult.
Ballygar to Creggs
Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
The Ballygar to Creggs Trail from the centre of Ballygar village winds through the picturesque Aghrane Forest on its 16km route. This is one for more experienced walkers, and while there are optional shorter routes, the longer trail is an experience to remember. The Castle Kelly Estate, built in the 14th century, tells of days gone by with the remains of the castle a reminder of our rich Irish heritage.
Around the 5km mark, you’ll find the monastery, Abbey Grey, before arriving at Mount Mary, part of the Beara Breifne Way. Mount Mary is where Donal Cam O’ Sullivan Beare and his army camped during their fourteen-night march in 1603.
On the last leg of the walk to Creggs, watch out for fallow deer and grey squirrels, or stop for a spot of wild berry picking.
Creggs to Glinsk to Ballymoe
Time: 4-5 hours
Travel along winding lanes and paths on the 22km Creggs to Glinsk to Ballymoe walk. The village of Kilbegnet is worth a stop where you’ll find graves dating back to the Great Famine of 1846 – 1848. From there, the trail moves to open fields with ringforts dotted along Rosmoylan Bog.
Lough Loung is a noteworthy mention as a footbridge allows for a breathtaking vantage point over the lough. Next is Glinsk Island, a forest area filled with silver birch and known as one of the most enthralling sections of the Suck Valley Way.
Journey on to Glinsk Castle and then to Glinsk Heritage Park, the perfect place to sit and take in the stunning landscapes. Enjoy views of heather, bog cotton and gorse flowers on this scenic section of the Suck Valley Way.
Castlecoote to Ballygar
Time: 5 hours
The Castlecoote to Ballygar route on The Suck Valley Way is 23km and not for the faint-hearted. Relish this challenging trail where the first stop, Castlestrange, is home to the famous La Tène stone. Featuring a unique spiral pattern, the stone is over 2,000 years old.
Discover outstanding natural beauty along the riverbank on the way to Athleague, groups of herons and swans congregate here and it is an ideal spot for birdwatching.
Journey through paths and local roads to Rookwood Bridge. Pass by Aragthy Bog and Mount Talbot before crossing the River Suck. Explore the delights of the magical Aghrane Forest before the trail comes to an end at the village of Ballygar.
Get your Beara Breifne Way passport
While you’re planning your short walking break along The Suck Valley Way make sure to order a Beara Breifne Way Passport to document your journey. You’ll get a unique stamp when you finish each section of the route.
Once you get all your stamps for the Suck Valley Way, you could keep going until you’ve completed the entire Beara Breifne Way, following in the footsteps of the great O’Sullivan-Beare.
Check out our Roscommon destination page and discover more of the wonderful walks and exhilarating hikes in this scenic county.