Blackwater Way - Avondhu

County Cork
16 reviews
Grade Moderate
Length 126.2 km
Am 6 days
Format Linear
Ascent 3690 m
Dogs Allowed No
Waymarking Yellow arrow on black background
Start Point
Finish Point
Nearest Town to Start Clogheen
Grid Ref. S 004 138 / W 500 885
Lat. and Long. 52.276, -7.99413 / 52.04634, -8.72886

The Blackwater Way (the combined Duhallow and Avondhu Ways) is a 168 kilometre linear long distance walking route that stretches from the borders of west County Waterford across north County Cork and into the County of Kerry, following the valley of the River Blackwater. It is part of the European E8 route. The Way is a richly varied one in terms of topography and features, and includes contouring sections along mountain flanks with great views, passing by ancient monuments such as standing stones, stone circles and cairns, and more modern monuments such as cillins (infant burial grounds) and holy wells. Along the way the towns of Fermoy and Millstreet and the villages of Kilworth, Ballynamona and Bweeng are encountered. Although the off-road sections are never far from a public road, on higher ground the route frequently passes through quite isolated mountain areas of forestry. Although about 28% of the route is on roads that carry fast traffic, the balance consists mainly of quiet tarmac roads, forestry tracks, bog roads and moorland and field paths. Some sections can be wet and muddy in wet weather. Until the last 15 kilometres during which there is a climb of 560m under Caherbarnagh and the Paps, there are no significant ascents, although over the whole route there is an aggregate ascent of 3,700 metres.

Trail Management

Avondhu Blackwater Partnership, Tel: 022 46580, Email:


Car parking
At Start - on street or in car park in Clogheen
At End - on road side in Bweeng

51 kms or 54% of the Way follows local roads.

Map Guides

Map Guides

The Blackwater Way Map Guide - EastWest Mapping - Out of Print

OSI Maps

OSI Maps

Discovery Series Sheets 74, 80 and 81* (*ca 3.2km through Fermoy)
Public Transportation

Public Transportation

At Start: Daily express bus and limited local service Check with Bus Eireann.
At End:None

16 trail reviews
Write your own review of this trail

Willie Fitzgerald from Cork

I did this trail in four parts last summer- Bweeng to Killavullen; Killavullen to Fermoy; Fermoy to Barrack Mountain; Barrack Mountain to Clogheen. The weather was great and the views outstanding. The markers and stiles and maintenance were first class. This is a class route so near Cork. I’ve done a lot of walking in Ireland and this route is up there with the best of them.

John J from Cork

I did the Avendhu Blackwater Way over four separate days. Day 1 Walked from Clogheen to Mountain Barrack, lovely walk across the Knockmealdowns via the 'V' gap. There were barriers right across the track up near Bay lough in July 2022. This was with no previous warnings or signs which meant that I would have had to add about 6 km to my walk that day. This was about 33 km, ascent 1050m and took me 9 hours. Day 2 From Mountain Barrack to Fermoy, here I included a walk to the Ballard Waterfall, lovely even during the hot dry summer. A nice walk through the woods from there also, then mostly roads into Fermoy, total 22 km, ascent 230m and time 5hr12mins. Day 3 Fermoy to Killavullen. There was a short section here that actually ran by the Blackwater, more like this would be appreciated, then through some nice quiet woodland. Back to more roads and a welcome tea break in Ballyhooley (off route). A long loop then took me up into the Nagles, adding a lot of distance to the walk. My car was in Killavullen (off route) adding more miles. 42km, ascent 850m, 9 hours, a long tough day. Day 4 Killavullen to Bweeng. Again, this had a mix of wood tracks and road walking. A long loop of about 7 km was thankfully dropped from my older version of this section. 26 km, ascent 540m, time 5hr 50mins.
In all, good, enjoyable walking. The logistics of getting to and from each section are quite difficult and not a lot of accommodation in the remoter areas.

Brendan from Ireland

Completed the section from Clogheen to Fermoy over a day and a half, wild camping on Crow Hill (just off the route at around the 14km point).

The first section to Crow Hill feels like a proper trail, with a pleasant hike up through a forest to the Vee Gap and then mountain tracks to Crow Hill. But the 30km's or so after that have far too much country road and dull forestry track to merit a higher rating for me. The woodland trail before Kilworth was an exception to this and was very nice. Also to be fair, on a bright day I'm sure the views over the rolling hills would be very pleasant (if not spectacular), but I had overcast and dull conditions (quite common in Ireland) and as such the route was far from inspiring from a scenery point of view.

The route is maintained very well, with marker posts at every junction and very solid metal stiles crossing fences where necessary.

One highlight you should factor in is Ballard Waterfall, which is just off the route after Mountain Barrack. There is a waymarked trail from the village.

Dave from Cork

Ballyhooly to Mountain Barracks

A very well maintained trail. Plenty of signage and markers along the way to ensure you don't get lost. Some fabulous views along the Ballyhooly to Fermoy section while up in the hills and in the section from Kilworth to Mountain Barracks. We ran this trail June 21.

Alexey from Cork

I walked part of this trail from Clogheen to Fermoy and found it very enjoyable. I particularly liked ascent towards the Vee Pass with all that forestry around and subsequent mountain section.

Waymarker at would benefit from red "route change" label since old route continued west instead of going north and it's easy to make a mistake and go in wrong direction, especially if person found older gpx file on the Internet.

If someone goes west here, trail will abruptly end at 52.232983, -8.131898 and person will have barbed wire on one side and gate that leads nowhere on another. It will then be necessary to walk 2,5 kilometers back.

Trail on website ( ) also currently shows old route.

Aina from Austria

Parts of this trail are very lovely and pleasant, I really enjoyed them. Quite remote, quiet and nice to look at. Markings are quite good.

Tha massive amount of roadwalks is frustrating and boring.

Finbarr from Cork

Unfortunately being eroded by Sitka spruce plantations, deforestation and destruction of hedgerows,must have been magnificent in its prime,sad.

Mark from United Kingdom

I walked the vast majority of the trail at the end of June - Clogheen to Mallow to be precise during the heatwave and over 3 days which was very challenging - yet I thoroughly enjoyed it!

In particular the views and remoteness of the route between Clogheen and Mountain Barracks where I rested after day 1, was superb. I recall stepping off the track slightly around Crow Hill and seeing the most wonderful view, across several counties no doubt.

The route was well signed throughout.

Kilworth seemed a lovely village and Fermoy an attractive market town.

Another highlight was following the Blackwater out of Fermoy, whilst a rowing regatta was underway and with lots of herons around, however it was only for about 2km's - it was disappointing not to stay with the attractive river for longer.

In summary, if you love Ireland and Irish hospitality, and accept that there will be road sections included in the trail, you too will have a great time!


Els from Belgium

We walked from Clogheen to Killavullen beginning of May 2018, we skipped the part between Mallow and Bweeng as it is all along tarmac. This is a beautiful path. Waymarks are well foreseen all along.

Carl Lange (Tough Soles) from Roscommon

Of the 21 waymarked trails we've done so far, the Blackwater way stands out with some of our absolute favourite sections. For the Avondhu Way in particular, the section from the Vee to Kilworth is simply incredible on a good day. Mallow and Fermoy are lovely, and there's some really stunning views all along the trail. I would highly, highly recommend this trail and its sister trail, the Duhallow Way. The Avondhu Way is a walk for less experienced hikers, with a lot of easily traversed terrain and plenty of towns to rest in, and the Duhallow Way is great for grizzled hikers looking for a challenge. I can't say enough good about the Blackwater Way!

We hiked the trail in late Summer 2017 and found no issues with it. There's plenty more information in our blog posts and video about the trail:

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