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One frosty morning my husband and I decided to get out and do something new. Thankfully, we had picked up a free pocket guide (East on Dublin’s Doorstep) at the visitor center we visited in Kildare on our last outing. After glancing through it, we decided to head to Abbeyleix to check out Killamuck Bog and Collins Bog Looped Walks.

Killamuk Bog, Abbeyleix
(52.9066885,-7.3529433)

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Abbeyleix is a pretty little town with old fashioned lamp posts along the sidewalks and a few tea shops that look cozy. At the edge of the town is the small Epworth Hall Methodist Church where John Wesley spoke in 1826. If you are interested you can read an interesting piece of history on the town at http://www.abbeyleix.ie/history/

Not too far from the town is an absolutely beautiful place called Heywood Gardens, where we had our engagement pictures taken a few years back. It is worth the stop if you have never been there, perhaps I’ll write about it another day.

Back to the bog, after passing through the town we pulled into the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel parking lot that sits just beside the path leading to the Killamuck bog across from the Stone Arch. This morning there was frost all over making the ground crunch under our feet; on a warmer morning I’d imagine it would be quite muddy, a good place to use your wellies. At the entrance to the trail there is a large sign with a map on it, but at the time it was covered in frost so we didn’t bother to read it before walking on and entering through a large wooden gate. The path is actually a fairly wide dirt road that seems to go on for miles. I’m not really sure how far it goes. We walked approximately 2-3 km on the path before coming across the wooden walkway that carried us over the actual bog-lands. We only walked a short distance on the walkway as our baby girl decided she did not appreciate the cold and this nearly nine months pregnant woman desperately needed a potty break. On a side note…I didn’t see any public toilets and believe me I was looking! So make sure you stop somewhere before you go.

Abbeyleix Manor Hotel parking lot
Abbeyleix Manor Hotel parking lot
The Map
The Map
The entrance gate
The entrance gate
The trailhead
The trailhead
The shrubbery as we walked...a lot of birds were singing.
The shrubbery as we walked…a lot of birds were singing.

On the way back to the car we met two riders on horseback. The man had a thick Irish accent and told us how this path used to be the old railroad line. He said there was a fox hunt happening in the afternoon but since he wasn’t able to go he decided to take a quick ride along the bog. The horses were beautiful and sweaty after a good canter along the road and the riders appeared content and friendly. Shortly after meeting the horses we ran across another man walking a huge dog, I’m not good with dog breeds, but I believe it may have been an English Mastiff. Killamuck bog seemed fairly busy for such a frosty morning making me think it must be a popular place for locals.

With the horses
With the horses
bridge over the old rail line at the start of the hike
bridge over the old rail line at the start of the hike
Off they go down the trail
Off they go down the trail

 

We found "Buggingham Palace" along the way
We found “Buggingham Palace” along the way

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I wouldn’t say this place is on my top 10 places to visit in Ireland…but it was a lovely walk and would be even lovelier on a warm day when one has some leisure time to enjoy nature, play eye spy with the kids, or go for a run.

Once we arrived home I did some searching online and found that there are actually two bog walks in Abbeyleix that intersect each other, the Killamuck bog and Collin’s bog. You can check out the route at: http://www.discoverireland.ie/Activities-Adventure/killamuck-looped-walk/88305

Tips:

  • Wear your wellies or a good pair of runners that you don’t mind getting a bit muddy.
  • Look for wild life- butterflies, birds and insects thrive in the bog, occasionally, you might see a fox or some other wild creatures. Once we passed a Fox hunt in progress in the area.
  • This time of year if you look closely you can find holly on the trees.
  • Watch your step on the wooden walkway, there are no side-rails and the planks can be uneven and slippery when wet or icy.
  • Go to the toilet before you start!
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Heather Cammack
I came to live in Ireland several years ago following the love of my life…an Irish man. Now I’m happily married and the mother three. We live in the country with a view of an ancient castle ruins out our back windows and each day I am grateful to be alive, to be loved, to be here.