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Enchanting waterfall at heart of Tourmakeady Woodland Walk

Tourmakeady, on the shores of Lough Mask, has one of the most beautiful forest trails in County Mayo that leads the walker to an enchanting waterfall.

The 2.5 km nature trail, which takes about 1 hour, is suitable for all age groups and starts at the car park. Turn right off the main road through the village after O’Toole’s pub where you can also conveniently start your walk and get refreshments.

Tourmakeady Woodland Walk is the perfect family afternoon nature hike where native flowers such as Bluebell, Wood Anenome, Foxglove, and Honeysuckle abound, making this walk a joyous journey from start to finish and is one of Mayo’s Celtic Rainforests.

The riverside trail takes the walker along the Glensaul River, which flows into Lough Mask.

The People’s Millennium Forests

The walk brings you along a forest road with a good surface and through a woodland wonderland that is full of native Irish tree species such as Oak, Alder, Birch, Hazel, Ash and Scots Pine.

And for those who cherish peace and tranquility, there is nothing but the sound of birdsong and the gushing water of the Glensaul River to disturb your enjoyment.

Tourmakeady Woodland Walk is perfect for a family day out. Photo: Anthony Hickey
Tourmakeady Woodland Walk is perfect for a family day out. Photo: Anthony Hickey

There are seated picnic areas along the trail if you plan on having a picnic which is always a great opportunity to observe the bird life  – and if you are very lucky you may see one of the wild animals such as pine marten badger and fox that inhabit the forest.

Tourmakeady Forest is one of 16 woodlands throughout Ireland where native species were planted in a project that became known as The People’s Millennium Forests to mark celebration of third Millennium in 2000.

There are seated picnic areas along the trail if you plan on having a picnic and this is always a great opportunity to observe the bird life  – and if you are very lucky you might see one of the wild animals such as pine marten badger and fox that inhabit the forest.

Heartless Bishop Plunkett

Tourmakeady Wood has a long and interesting history.

The remains of native woodland that covered area up to early 19th century have been enhanced by the planting of native Irish hardwoods.

The woodland was first planted and managed by its owner Bishop Plunkett in the mid-19th century. Bishop Plunkett was a hated landlord whose eviction of families between 1860, and 1862 caused much hardship and led to unrest in the area.

Local agitation, and condemnation in the newspapers, finally forced the heartless Bishop Plunkett to leave the area for Tuam in 1863.

Happily, his lasting legacy, Tourmakeady Wood, continues to bring pleasure to local people and visitors to Tourmakeady.

Tourmakeady Wood Waterfall

The highpoint of the walk comes about midway along the trail when you turn right and reach Tourmakeady waterfall. This is Tourmakeady Wood’s signature feature and one of the most charming and impressive waterfalls in Co Mayo.

The viewing area at the waterfall is an ideal place to take a break and soak up the beauty of this lovely natural wonder before beginning the second part of your walk.

Unfortunately, this part of the walk is not suitable for those with toddlers as it takes the walker on a steep climb over rough ground through the forest to the highest point of the walk, but well worth it for the panoramic views, before descending to the car park.

The man-made lake in Tourmakeady Wood is one of the many beautiful features of this forest trail in Co Mayo. Photo: Anthony Hickey
The man-made lake in Tourmakeady Wood is one of the many beautiful features of this forest trail in Co Mayo. Photo: Anthony Hickey

The lake trail is an offshoot of the walk and an added bonus that is well worth taking.

The walk around the man-made lake is 1.5km long and rejoins the nature trail before returning to the car park.

The lovely Gaeltacht village of Tourmakeady, at the foot of the Partry Mountains, is a world-famous destination for trout anglers in search of the lakes’ large ferox trout.

It is also the perfect place to visit for an afternoon walk through some of Ireland’s best preserved native woodland with a cascading waterfall to lift your spirits at its heart.

By Anthony Hickey

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

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