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Derradda – a walker’s paradise

Derradda in South West Mayo, located just outside the pretty and historic town of Newport, is a walker’s paradise. The Derradda Loop Walks are part of four walking trails that comprise the Burrishoole Loop Walks, which also include Newport,  Mulranny, and Tiernaur.

The four areas make up what is collectively known as the Burrishoole Loop Walks which comprise a total of 12 walks, ranging in distance from 3km to 16km, to suit everyone from the casual walker to the serious hiker.

All of the three trails that make up the Derradda Loop Walks start at Derradda Community Centre where there is ample car parking and good signage to help you choose the walking route that suits you best.

There are three loops with coloured signage:

  • The Green Loop is the shortest and known as Lettermaghher is 7km
  • The Blue Loop is the middle distance, known as Furnace, is 9km
  • The Red Loop, known as Oghillies, the longest is 12km

So which of the three routes should you take?

The scenery is breathtaking whichever route you decide to take.

What I love about the Derradda Loop walks is that you are mainly walking along tranquil and sheltered country lanes with views of lakes and mountains – and nothing but the sound of the birds and bees, and the odd sheep, to disturb the silence.

Steeped in history and folklore

A walk along any of the Burrishoole Loop Walks will also bring you through a part of Mayo that is steeped in history and folklore.

It was here Grace O’Malley conquered the English invaders from her castle at Rockfleet.

The 7-arched Burrishoole Bridge, one of the loveliest in Ireland. Photo: Anthony Hickey
The 7-arched Burrishoole Bridge, one of the loveliest in Ireland. Photo: Anthony Hickey

The Dominican monks came in 1470 to set up their friary, known as Burrishoole Abbey, the remains of which are located on the shores of Clew Bay, not far from Derradda Community Centre, and the old monastery is well worth a visit.

Whichever of the loop walks you decide to take the walk will bring you along gentle hills that give breath-taking panoramas of Clare Island and Clew Bay, and Lough Furnace and Lough Feeagh – two of Mayo’s most popular game fishing lakes.

One of my own favourite walks is the Blue Loop which is the middle distance of the three loops and I can highly recommend it for a leisurely afternoon walk that can be completed in under two hours.

The walk, for the most part, consists of quiet bohereens and country lanes – but there is also a small section of boggy ground to be walked so good walking boots are a necessity.

Walk around Lough Furnace

This loop takes you on a most enjoyable walk around the tidal Lough Furnace, one of the unique lakes in the British Isles because it consists of a lower layer of salt water and an upper layer of lighter fresh water.

Derradda - a walkers' paradise - is part of the Burrishoole Loop Walks. Photo: Anthony Hickey
Derradda – a walkers’ paradise – is part of the Burrishoole Loop Walks. Photo: Anthony Hickey

Both Lough Furnace and the freshwater Lough Feeagh which are joined by the small Salmon Leap Bridge, which you cross earlier on your trek, are part of the Burrishoole Fishery, the world famous salmon, and trout fishing lakes.

Further on you arrive at Lettermaghera Pier once used to bring seaweed and gravel in from the shores of Clew Bay when the tide was suitable at Burrishoole.

The views, coming over the gentle hills, of Lough Furnace, and the Marine Institute in the distance, are highlights of this lovely walk which continues by the Institute’s extensive buildings.

The 7-arched Burrishoole Bridge is one of the loveliest in Ireland and as is a welcome and heart-warming sight as you complete the Derradda Loop.

The Derradda Loop Walks are certain to give you the walking bug – and bring you back many times to beautiful Burrishoole to walk its delightful and memorable trails.

By Anthony Hickey

Follow writer and photographer, Anthony Hickey, as he travels around his native Co. Mayo, Ireland.

One reply on “Derradda – a walker’s paradise”

Dia dhuit,
I would like to point out that the Dominicans are not monks but friars or brothers minor just as the Fransciscans are. I’m always mystified why the convent or friary that they live in would be known as an abbey or monastery (mainistir) in Ireland. They are preachers that go out into the ‘world’, they don’t follow the rule of Saint Benedict. But apart from that I would certainly like to go walking in Mayo, if I had the chance.
is mise le meas
Franc Bell

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