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The TrailSuck Valley Way & Looped Walks › Castlecoote to Ballygar

Castlecoote to Ballygar

Suck Valley Way Castlecoote to Ballygar









Dogs allowed?:




Trail Description

At the bridge in Castlecoote turn right and follow the Way through farmland to Castlestrange, named after Captain Le Strange who owned the lands in the 16th century. There was once a castle and a mansion located here but all that is left now is the famous La Tene stone.

Castlestrange is best known for its La Tene Stone dating to the early Iron Age period, it is over 2,000 years old and has distinctive decorative spiral patterns carved into it. The name La Tene is derived from a small town in Germany where many artefacts exhibiting the same decoration were found in a nearby lake. Castlestrange is also noted because the first woman to graduate as a vet in Britain or Ireland, Aleen Crust, worked in the area for a number of years as an assistant to the local vet.

While not on the Suck Valley Way it is worth walking a couple of kilometres to Fuerty. Here, you will find a wedge tomb (burial site) dating to 2000BC and there are also two Early Christian sandstone slabs located in the church graveyard. Also a little off the Way is Ballinturly Lough. It is a ‘Turlough’, a lake with a limestone floor, whose level rises and falls with the rainfall. It is a breeding place for many species; geese, ducks, swans and others. In winter it attracts waders, curlews, plovers and lapwings.

From Castlestrange and keeping on the Suck Valley Way, you will cross the arched bridge over the river Suck following the pathway along the riverbank to Athleague. This is a beautiful section of the walk where many birds including herons and swans can be spotted. The walk brings you directly to the Suck Valley Way Visitor Centre in Athleague which has its home in the old Protestant church. The friendly staff in the Visitor Centre will provide you with the best of local knowledge and tourism information to make your time on the Suck Valley Way a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

From Athleague, the Suck Valley Way follows pathways through fields and along local roads following the river to Rookwood bridge. There used to be a Big House in Rookwood, which is now demolished but it was the setting for a real Victorian romantic story between Sarah Birch and Edmund Kelly. Sarah Birch  from Kent was seduced as a teenager but was abandoned in Dublin. For years she lived a life of poverty until she met and married Edmund Kelly, a wealthy attorney. They lived in Rookwood House but when Edmund died in 1845, Sarah inherited all his wealth and proved a harsh landlord. The story ends sadly with Sarah proving to be a very harsh landlord which resulted in her murder in 1856.

Continuing on from Rookwood, the Way passes Araghty Bog to Mount Talbot. The name comes from the Talbot family who were granted these lands during the Cromwellian invasion. They built a mansion here in the 18th century but the gateway is all that remains today. The walk crosses over the river Suck and continues through bogland and back into Aghrane Forest where you will find yourself back in the village of Ballygar