The Hymany Way, one of a series of 11 sections of the greater Beara Breifne Way, goes in a northerly direction on the western side of the Shannon tracing the epic march of O Sullivan Bere from the Beara peninsula in January 1603 accompanied by 1,000 followers and reaching O'Rourke's Castle in Leitrim with only 35 people remaining. Of particular significance was the Shannon crossing in depths of winter.
The Hymany Way traverses the most beautiful and least explored of local areas with its watercourses, including the biodiversity of the Shannon River and the species rich mosaic of habitats along its banks, cutover and drained and raised bog, forest paths and quiet country roads. The Shannon Callows are famous for their birdlife with internationally important numbers of Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Reed Buntings, and Sedge Warblers. The Callows continues to hold over 40% of the Irish population of the globally endangered Corncrake.
The route takes in rich collections of features which will ensure that many walkers will want to linger along the way.
Adding enjoyment to the walk are interesting information panels at the Shannon Crossing, Blackloon Castle, Clonfert Cathedral, Meelick Abbey and St. Ruth's Bush, site of the Battle of Aughrim in 1691, the fiercest fight ever fought in Ireland's turbulent and bloody history.
At the start of the route, Portumna has ample accommodation both in hotels and guesthouses and at the end of the route in Aughrim accommodation is also available. Ballinasloe can be accessed by bus every half hour or alternatively there is a link into the town at Poolboy. Overnight accomodation is also available along the route in Meelick, Clonfert and Lismany.
Ballinasloe is now linked to the Shannon Waterway going directly to Portumna Harbour.
At Start - at riverside in Portumna
At End - in Ballygar village
This is a farming area so watch out for livestock and electric fences in use at points along the trail.
The Beara-Breifne and Hymany Ways map guide
At Start: Bus Eireann and Kearns Transport serve Dublin and Galway twice daily, and a Local bus service serves the principal towns in the region at weekends.
At End: Buses go every half an hour to Dublin and Galway, and further links to anywhere in Ireland can be reached from those points by Bus Eireann and City Link.
Bus Eireann goes from Longford to Galway each day at 9.50am and returns at 6.00pm.
Boyle Coaches, a private operator, picks up in Ballygar 3 times daily and goes to Galway, returning in the evening.
Bus Eireann timetables available at www.buseireann.ie.