The main town in the area is Woodford with a population of approximately 240 residents. The smaller village of Gorteeny lies about 4km to the south. Both areas provide services to the, mainly farming, rural parish in which they are situated.
Woodford town’s Irish Name, ‘Graig na Muilte Iarainn’ means ‘The Village of the Iron Mills’ and the town probably grew out of a need for accommodation and services for the iron workers. 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 also had a water-mill with a mill race to dam the water, generate power to run the corn mill and provide power to the town. This area is now known as The Bay and forms an important part of the life of the town.
Gorteeny’s Irish name Goirtinidhe translates to ‘little fields’ possibly in reference to early farm practices of land holdings and tenancy.
The Sliabh Aughty mountains, once an extensive oak woodland up to the 17th century are now heavily forested with conifer and much of the area is designated as Special Protection Area (SPA).
Lough Derg, Ireland’s third largest lake, can be explored and enjoyed by land lovers via the many scenic walk, cycle or drive routes or as a blueway for water enthusiasts.
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.