Blackwater Way - Avondhu
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.
Maps and other information
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.
The Blackwater Way Map Guide - EastWest Mapping - Out of Print
At Start: Daily express bus and limited local service Check with Bus Eireann.
John J from Cork
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
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
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
Waymarker at https://goo.gl/maps/T3cXYmjKoifheyfj6 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 hiiker.app website ( https://hiiker.app/trails/ireland/tipperary/avondhu-way/map ) also currently shows old route.
Aina from Austria
Tha massive amount of roadwalks is frustrating and boring.
Finbarr from Cork
Mark from United Kingdom
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
Carl Lange (Tough Soles) from Roscommon
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: https://toughsoles.ie/blog/2017/8
Willie Fitzgerald from Cork