Woodford is an area of natural beauty and charm in the heartlands of rural South East Galway.
Woodford town’s Irish Name, ‘Graig na Muilte Iarainn’ means ‘The Village of the Iron Mills’. The mills were served with local iron ore deposits and an abundant collection of oak woods which were used as a fuel for smelting. Woodford’s Iron Heritage is celebrated throughout the heritage walking tour of the village.
The Bay, which once provided power to the mill and the town, is transformed into an accessible relaxation area to recharge before heading out to explore the surrounding countryside.
The Sliabh Aughty mountains were once an extensive oak woodland; a legacy that is celebrated in the two nearby Millennium Oak Forests. Much of the area surrounding is designated as Special Protection Area (SPA) where native flora and fauna co-exist with their human neighbours to form a rich biodiverse habitat. Visitors may trace their Irish Heritage at the local East Galway Family History Society.
Within a 50km radius of Woodford the visitor can experience the monastic sites at Clonmacnoise, Clonfert, Holy island and Lorrha; the Burren (32km), the Cliffs of Moher (80km) and the Wild Atlantic Way (40km).Galway, the city of culture 2020 and a festival destination at any time of the year is 45km away.
Return home after a day of adventure and exploration to the warmest of welcomes; enjoy fantastic food and hospitality with accommodation of every type to suit every budget.
KYLEBRACK WOODS GPS Coordinates 53.13373,-8.47306
Trails from 1.4 kilometers to 7.4 kilometers in length bring the visitor through bog land, under the shadow of the moss covered oak and beech as the Duniry river adds its song to the sound of the pine forest. Coloured horseshoes map the trail. Wellingtons or hiking boots recommended.
Enjoy 2km to 4km loop walks in this remnant of the once extensive oak forests of Ireland. Neighbouring Derrygill Millennium Forest and Rosturra Wood Nature Reserve, both easily accessible from Woodford village, are part of an overall preservation project for the stands of oak and ash. Native holly, hazel and abundant flora populate the trails. Suitable for walking or running.
The Holy Well in Derrycrag is purported to have a cure for disease and sores. Another account claims the well has a cure for deafness and blindness.
ARD AOIBHINN part of the East Clare Way
If the pleasure of a mountain hike is not a good enough reward then the panoramic views of the Shannon and Lough Derg most certainly will be. It is said that on a clear day one can see seven counties from the top of Ard Aoibhinn. Galway (as far as Galway Bay);Limerick (the Shannon Estuary); Clare; Tipperary (bordering the lake); east to Offaly (Slieve Bloom) and south to Cork (the Golden Vale). Boggy and uneven terrain, hillwalking experience and basic navigation skills recommended.
From the recreational electric bike cycle to the “putting miles on those legs” two wheel enthusiast, Woodford and its surrounding area has lots to offer. A variety of loops takes one to Portumna; Abbey; Loughrea; Gort; Mountshannon with the added bonus that most return legs are downhill and with the wind at your back. Nearby Ulicksmountain gives spectacular views of Lough Derg. Yes the Old Ben climb is breathtaking but so are the views and around by the New Ben the cyclist can take a breather and visit the ancient Stone Circle.
On completion of the Dublin – Galway Greenway, cyclists will have a dedicated route to enjoy the Woodford area.
Ireland identifies strongly as a Dark Sky location in Europe.
Woodford is a destination that offers both astronomical or archaeoastronomical heritage. Visit our area and take a chance to study past societies; interpreting how they understood the sky’s celestial bodies and how they used or what role these phenomena had in their culture. With stone circles, standing stones, and ancient settlements through the Sliabh Aughtys Woodford offers broad potential as a taster location for stargazing enthusiasts, astronomers and archaeo-astronomers alike.
Derrygill Millennium Forest 53.0358° N, 8.3948° W
3km south east of Woodford and adjacent to Derrycrag Woods, enjoy an in/out hike of 3km return in one of the designated 16 ‘People’s Millennium Forests’ in Ireland. Each household received a certificate with details on where their Family Tree was planted ( Family Tree Scheme). Take your ease at the picnic area and see if you can spot some native species including: long-tailed tits; blackbird; robin; wren; red squirrels; foxes;badgers and pine martens. The coniferous and statuesque Scots Pine are complimented by growing oak, alder, ash, hazel, holly and birch. Accessible, easy with signage.