Off the Beaten Path in Ireland

I think it’s safe to say that if you have thought about traveling to Ireland you’ve heard of the places like the Ring of Kerry, Blarney Castle, and the Rock of Cashel. But have you heard of a little woodland area called Ballyseedy Wood? No? Us either until we started digging a little deeper to find more unique things to put on our Ireland Road Trip itinerary and what a little gem it is.

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Dating back to the 16th century these 80 acres of woodland area were first mapped for Sir Edward Denny and then later plantings were done by Col. John Blennerhassett in the 18th century. Blennerhassett was an MP for County Kerry and Tralee at different parts of his life and lived in the old Ballyseedy Castle until his death, after which time the castle fell into ruins. Those ruins can still be seen on a visit to the wood.

Today Ballyseedy Wood is a sustainable woodland area that provides a wonderful place to take a relaxing stroll, give the dog a little exercise, or go out for a morning jog for the people of Kerry and visitors like us. There are several routes to choose from of various lengths but none of them are a difficult hike. Along the well maintained paths there are over 20 species of native trees, some of which are marked with their names in Gaelic and English for the botany lovers that visit. They also have feeders hanging from trees which work like a charm to attract little woodland creatures and birds.

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The River Lee runs along the northern edge to form a boundary, and although not really a big river (at least not in the woodland area), it still provides that wonderful sound of trickling water as it flows over rocks and branches. At one end of the area the ruins of the Ballyseedy Castle can be found, along with an old water mill. We didn’t actually see either of these as we had come for something a little different- wood carvings.

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I believe we first learned about these through our searches on TripAdvisor and they looked like such a unique feature that we added this little hike to our itinerary with plans to find these treasures in the woods. Unfortunately, there are two parking lots that serve the wood, and we chose the one furthest away from the carvings so it took us quite a while just to come upon the first of them. It was a carved bench that provided just the spot for a quick rest, not that we really needed a rest from the easy walk, but sometimes it’s just nice to sit, enjoy the tranquility, and listen to the sweet chirps of the birds.

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Open year round, Ballyseedy Wood really makes a wonderful addition to any Ireland Road Trip itinerary if you’re in the area. In March we enjoyed the crisp cool weather, which was warm enough that I took my coat off during the walk, and I’ve read that later in the spring and summer the smell of wild garlic and lavender growing just adds to the enjoyment. Even with more popular  Irish sights no doubt on your list of things to do, I’d urge you to consider this beautiful and relaxing area, even if just for an hour or so.

To see a little more of Ballyseedy Wood, and hear those little birds chirping please click here >>> Ballyseedy Wood by Tralee Active Travel

For a map of the walking routes please click here >>>  Kerry Walking Map  There are approximately 15 walking trails in Kerry on this site. The Ballyseedy Wood map is found on pages 33-34.

In my next post about our Ireland Road Trip I have another interesting little gem to share with you that you might not have heard of either that is also well worth a visit.

Do you also enjoy digging a little deeper when planning a trip to find places like this? Which ones have you found in your travels that you’d recommend?

To read more about our adventures on our Ireland Road Trip, please feel free to check out these posts:

Ireland Road Trip Summary

Previous Post:  7 Reasons to Add the Dingle Peninsula to Your Ireland Road Trip

Next Post: Coming soon….

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