Located at the eastern end of the Silvermine mountains and bounded by the Doonane River, this is a popular starting point for walkers who wish to climb Keeper Hill or indeed for those who want to the forest. Keeper or Sliabh Coimeálta is the highest mountain in the Shannon area at 694m and is the 117th highest in Ireland. The wood has a good species mix that includes; beech, larch, spruce, ash and pines. There is also a sweathouse located close to the forest road that is worth some investigation.
Things to do
Walk: There are three walking trails out of Doonane. The Ballyhourigan Woods Loop (9 kms, 2.5 hours, moderate) gives the walker a chance to enjoy the experience of walking in the woods and the opportunity to appreciate the mountain vistas. There are a couple of archaeological features off the trail that can be easily accessed also.
The Keeper Hill Trek (8.2 kms, 3 hrs, strenuous) guides you up to the top of Keeper Hill standing at 964m. There are some impressive gullies and waterfalls to observe along the way, including a waterfall known locally as the 'Spout'.
The Slieve Felim Way, a long distance waymarked way passes through these woods. This section is part of the 43km multi-day walk from Murroe to Silvermines village.
Nature: The properties of Doonane and Ballyhourigan lie within a SPA or Special Protection Area of habitats for species such as the hen harrier. Hen harriers are birds of prey or raptors who are found in certain upland habitats. Keep an eye out for the males who are a white/silver with black wingtips and the females who are brown with a white rump.
Don’t miss our hidden gem
This is rural, rural Ireland.