NEW ROSS – LACKEN HILL – DUNBRODY FOREST
Lacken Hill is set in a beautiful landscape, overlooking the historic Norman town of New Ross. From the 198m high summit, there are panoramic views of the south-east including the Comeragh Mountains, Brandon Hill, the Blackstairs Mountains and the Barrow estuary in the distance. The four trails will take you through forests rich in wild herbs, fungi, berries and wildlife, green meadows, country roads, and historic streets. Nestled beneath the hill are three ráths or ringforts which are understood to be under the protection of the Aes Sídhe or fairy folk.
FOREST OF DUNBRODY
Forest of Dunbrody Trail – This walk will take you through the Forest of the Dunbrody, where Coillte in partnership with the JFK Trust planted some 25,000 trees comprising of ash, oak, larch and douglas fir, to replace the trees used in building the ‘Dunbrody Famine Ship’. The forests are a perfect habitat for native flora and fauna including pheasants, blue jays, buzzards, red squirrels, foxes and stoats.
Distance: 1.75km (1.1 miles)
Walking time: 30min
Lacken Hillside Trail – This walk leads to the Forge Crossroads where stands a commemorative stone outlining the history of Denn’s forge where pikes were made prior to the Battle of Ross. Follow the blue arrows along the country road to the kissing gate and the trail continues uphill, through fields and beside hedgerows to the summit. Once the site of a Rebel Camp in 1798 the hill is now a place of peace and tranquillity. On the summit stands a Holy Year cross erected in 1950 and a commemorative stone dedicated to those who died in battle in 1798, some of whom are said to be buried on the hill in unmarked graves. A winding pathway through the forest leads to a viewing point where stunning views can be enjoyed.
Distance: 6.25km (3.9 miles)
Walking time: 1hr 30min
Scarke Loop – Explore country roads and spectacular views of the rolling countryside on this trail. Keep an eye out for a flock of jacob sheep grazing at the Queen Anne gate lodge. During the summer months watch out for a wonderful splash of wildflower colour beside the stream at the Ford of Scarke.
Distance: 7km (4.4 miles)
Walking time: 1hr 30min
Millstream Trail – Follow this historic trail by the Maudlins Stream to Ballyroe Bridge and the ruin of Napper’s Mill which overlooks The Ponds. The Maudlins Stream, which once powered seven mills, is now a tranquil haven for wildlife such as kingfishers and otters. The trail follows Hook Mill Lane and leads to the Fairgreen in the Irishtown, once the setting for thirteen market days each year and where now stands a monument dedicated to the Battle of Ross and the 1798 rebellion. The monument is reputed to have origins dating back to when a ‘long stone’ occupied the position of the present cross as a pagan symbol. You can also follow the map to explore the historic streets of New Ross, visit the Dunbrody Famine Ship, St. Mary’s Church, The Ros Tapestry or Woodville House and Gardens.
Distance: 13.6km (7 miles)
Walking time: 1hr 45min
- The carpets of bluebells in the woodlands in early summer.
- Stunning views from the summit of Lacken Hill.
- Sit beside The Ponds and listen to the Maudlins Stream. Watch out for abundant wildlife.
- St. Mary’s Church (13th Century, originally built by the Norman knight William Marshal and his wife Isabel, founders of New Ross).
- A tasty bite to eat at the Dunbrody Visitor Centre, Brandon House Hotel, Mannion’s Pub and Restaurant or one of the many cafés in New Ross.
Directions: The trailhead is situated at Lacken Hill forest entrance. From the N25 take the L-8144. Turn left at the second crossroads onto the L-4007 and the trailhead is on the left. From the N30 take the L-8144. Keep left at the next junction. Turn right at the next crossroads onto the L-4007 and the trailhead is on the left.