See & Do
Portumna Forest Park
Portumna Forest Park
Portumna Forest Park is adjacent to Portumna on the northern shore of Lough Derg. At Portumna Forest Park there are forest and lakeside walks, car park, toilet facilities and observation points. Perfect for walking, cycling, picnicing, bird watching and anything you think you can do in nature. There is a viewing tower along the nature trail where one can get a bird's eye view of the forest, lake and lakeshore. Adjacent to the Park is a marina giving access to the Shannon waterway system.
Portumna Forest Park consists of a forest road, a long walk and a Nature Trail.
The name Portumna derives from the Irish Port Omna, meaning the landing place of the oak tree. Portumna Forest Park was acquired in 1948 and covers almost 600 hectares (1,500 acres). It was formerly owned by the Clanrickarde family. There is an old abbey, now under the care of Duchas (Heritage Council), within the Park that dates back to the 15th century. The castle nearby on which considerable restoration work has been carried out dates back to the 17th century and was the seat of the Earl of Clanrickarde. An earlier castle was located on the lakeshore, east of the harbour, while yet another was constructed in the late 18th century where the main car park is now located.
The park is easily accessible by water and road. The forest is mainly coniferous but also contains a wide variety of broadleaved trees, both native and exotic. In addition to woodlands there are wide open spaces, green fields, scrub, marsh, water and numerous off-shore islands. This inter mix of forest, open area, water and islands gives a wide choice of habitat to support a great variety of flora and fauna.
Tree Species: The main conifer species are Scots pine, larch and Norway spruce. There are knarred old oaks which have been here for centuries, majestic beeches which dominate the skyline, giant evergreens from Western North America, colourful larches from Europe and Japan, blue Atlas cedar from Africa, maples from Canada and Europe and practically all of the native tree species, including our two native conifers yew and juniper. The latter is widespread throughout the area, but only in the prostrate and shrub form.
Fauna - Sixteen species of wild mammals reside within the Forest Park, of which the smallest is the pigmy shrew. The largest and most conspicuous is the fallow deer of which there is a large herd within the forest. Less conspicuous is the otter and probably the most elusive mammal of all is the pine marten (known locally as 'the cat'), a native tree-dweller which, until recently, was on the verge of extinction. The red squirrel, stoat, badger and fox may also be encountered. Bird life abounds in and around the Forest Park and 85 different types breed here, while many others pass through. The mute swan may be seen on the lake while the tiny goldcrest is a permanent resident of the forest. The lake and the shore are official sanctuaries and here wildfowl in the thousands can be viewed from some of the observation points within the forest.
Download Portumna Forest Park Guide to Woodland Flora
Bonaveen Cycling and Walking Trail – Portumna Forest Park
This trail is the longest loop in the park covering the western side of the Park, including the wonderful Bonaveen Point section by the lake. This loop brings the visitor into a multitude of diversity including mature Scots Pine forest and open lakeshore environments. It ventures into areas of the park previously unexplored by visitors.
The trail starts northwards from the car-park on singletrack (narrow and twisty in places) and heads into large stands of Scots Pine. It then winds through mature Beech forest and younger mixed broadleaves bringing you around the top of Portumna Golf Club. You will pass through deer gates in high fences, designed to keep the deer from entering onto the golf course. When you reach the golf club's car-park, cross directly over while watching for traffic entering and leaving the car-park.
The next section brings you above a large turlough on the western end of the park. This is a feature typical of low-lying limestone areas where the water table fluctuates throughout the year. In the Winter this is a haven for water fowl such as duck, waterhen and cranes. It leads onto a forest road to the south of the golf club and brings you near the disused Bonaveen harbour and onto the long section around the lakeshore. This is some of the most attractive landscape in the park with great views out over the expanse of Lough Derg; a very busy area for pleasure craft in Summer. This trail is open to bad weather at times and can be quite exposed so be prepared with suitable clothing and footwear.
On the return leg from the lake, you can link into the green waymarked loop of the Rinmaher trail to give a 4 hour walk or 2 hour cycle of the full trails in the park.
Rinmaher Walking Trail – Portumna Forest Park
The Rinmaher trail is one of the two long waymarked loops in the Park. It begins along a two-way section of trail from the car-park and overlaps with the Woodland trail here. You will experience the full diversity of wildlife in the Park on this trail and have good views along the lakeshore near Rinmaher point. This loop is mainly on single track (narrow trails) and is suitable for those looking for a longer walk or more challenging cycle. On this trail as with the others in the Park, cyclists give way to walkers when they meet. The compliment is usually returned by walkers allowing cyclists to pass by.
You will approach some large fences on this route and these have been erected to keep deer to the larger section of the park and allow them to roam more freely, while protecting the newly planted trees within the fence. This large area is where Coillte are converting the older conifer plantations to mixed broadleaf stands under the Native Woodland Scheme. Indeed all of the seed used to replant this area comes from native species such as oak, ash and alder. Use the deer gates to pass through the fence lines.
Along by Rinmaher point, you will pass through native birch stands which have withstood exposure along the lakeshore over the years. This area gives a very pleasant dappled effect to the views south towards Terryglass and east towards Portumna bridge.
Watch out for the signal signs along the way giving you more information about local features of fauna and flora in the Park.
Forest Friendly Family Cycling Trail
The Forest Friendly Trail is a multi-use trail designed to give every visitor an opportunity to explore Portumna Forest Park. The trail surface is designed to allow users of all abilities to access the park and combines sections of wide and smooth forest road with sections of wide timber boardwalk. Wheelchair users, kids bikes with stabilisers, family groups on foot or bike can equally enjoy this loop. The trail takes you closer to views across Lough Derg which are visible from here through the gap to your left down to the lakeshore.
The trail starts from the car-park and winds gently through a mixed plantation of Oak, Alder and Scots Pine to reach a viewing platform close to the shore. From the platform, views south towards Terryglass on the Tipperary shore extend down to the main expanse of the lake to your right.
The trail then follows a boardwalk to the duck pond. Following the edge of the pond, the trail passes some Monterey Pines and Monterey Cypress. The trail follows the edge of the pond and brings you to some fine old cypress trees. These huge trees are some of the oldest on the estate.
The forest friendly trail loops gradually around to bring you back to the car-park to where you began.
Woodland Cycling and Walking Trail
The Woodland trail is slightly longer than the Forest Friendly trail and can be used by family walking and cycling groups. The surface is gravelled and also has sections of tarred forest road and wide timber boardwalk. There is minimal gradient on the trail making it suitable for buggies and small kids bikes.
The trail starts from the car-park and winds through large Spruce trees before reaching an open wild grass area. This is a popular area for fallow deer grazing in the long grass and if you are quiet, you may be lucky enough to see a family group here. This is a two-way section of trail and you may meet cyclists or walkers coming back from the longer routes in the park.
The trail continues on a section of narrow trail through Spruce and large Japanese Larch and joins into the Forest Friendly trail just before the viewing platform.
Here you follow the Forest Friendly trail homewards.
Download Portumna Forest Park Trails Map