There is a challenge within Ireland of visiting each highest point of Ireland’s 32 counties. There are many and various ways of breaking down and completing this challenge, and the way I’ve chosen to tackle this project is to start at the smallest and work my way up to the highest. This challenge of mine doesn’t have a time frame it is just something I’d like to complete.
It was an easy decision to begin with the smallest county high point as that is located in Westmeath, my home county and is a mere 10 minute drive from my home. In fact in my usual daily walk I can see the top of Mullaghmeen in the distance.
Westmeath is a landlocked county in the midlands of Ireland. A stone cairn at the 258m summit of Mullaghmeen Forest marks the county’s highest point. Mullaghmeen Forest is reputed to be the largest planted beech forest in Western Europe and it surrounds the cairn, although you do break out of the forest towards the top to have unobstructed views in all directions.
The circular route follows along on easy clear paths and tracks through Mullaghmeen Forest and covers a distance of 4.6km. The path is easy to navigate as you follow along the red and white waymarked trails through the forest. The picture on the left is of the forest routes marked out and the picture on the right shows the route right up to the cairn and is from the Ireland’s Coutny High Points book.
At the end of the main forest entrance you will find the car park. There are two tracks with metal barriers on one end of the car park and you take the left hand track. You follow along the red and white waymarked trails. At the first junction keep to the red route where the white heads left, the white rejoins the red at the next junction. Keep going straight and pass the arboretum on the right, the trail splits again at the next junction where white heads left but again keep to the red route.
White rejoins again at the next junction and it is at this junction that you go left and follow the white path. When the track splits you take the right path and as you begin to climb you will come out of the tree line. Keep following this path upwards until you come to the cairn located at the summit.
You can continue on past the cairn and follow the path as it bends right and descends once more into the forest. You will meet the red trail forest track and turn left to now follow the red trail to a T-junction. You turn right here and once more follow the red and white trail back to the car park area.
This path is definitely one for all the family, my youngest who is 6 is more than capable of managing this route, with nice easy cleared paths and tracks. It’s not overly long, taking anywhere from 3/4 of an hour to however long you want to spend in the forest. The arboretum also makes for a lovely looped addition to the route. The next day I get out to the forest I plan to complete this route as a trail run.