Slieve Bloom Way

Please note this trail can be started and finished at the Monicknew, Kinnitty, Cadamstown and Clonaslee trailheads as well as Glenbarrow. There is car parking available at all of these, however the car park at Glenbarrow is heavily used and it can be difficult to find a space here.

County Laois
21 reviews
Grade Strenuous
Length 71.4 km
Time 3.75 days
Format Loop
Ascent 1275 m
Dogs Allowed No
Waymarking Yellow arrow on black background
Start Point
Finish Point
Nearest Town to Start Clonaslee
Grid Ref. N 368 081
Lat. and Long. 53.12221, -7.45025

Although their highest point, called Arderin or 'the height of Ireland', is at 527 m, the isolated range of the Slieve Bloom Mountains have a presence that belies their height. They stand alone in Ireland's Central Plain, which means they can be seen for many miles around and the views from their heights are very extensive. The Slieve Bloom Way, a 70 km circuit of the range, crosses high, heathery ridges and dips down into many deep and beautiful glens through which streams flow, hidden landscapes as full of character as they are of stories and legends. The range is heavily forested with modern conifers which lends much of the route good terrain on forestry roads but means long sections have little outlook. Generally terrain consists of forestry tracks, tarmac roads, mostly quiet, and paths beside streams and over open moorland, some of which can be wet and muddy. Apart from in Kinnity, there is no accommodation available on the actual route, but there are towns and villages of considerable character strung around the range, some quite close to the route, that provide overnight accommodation. The total aggregate ascent over the route is 1275m, but there are no significant climbs. For more information follow external link to Shannon Region Trails

Trail Management


Car parking
At Start/Finish - car park at Glenbarrow

The upgrade work at Clarnahinch / Ballyhuppahane is now completed and the Slieve Bloom Way returned to its original route here. All diversion signage has been removed.
5 kms or 14% of the Way follows local roads. Some soft ground may be encountered on parts of this route.
***Dogs not permitted on any section which crosses private farmland.***

Map Guides

Map Guides

Map Guide for Slieve Bloom Way & Offaly Way - Laois Offaly Walking Partnership / Slieve Bloom Way Map - EastWest Mapping

OSI Maps

OSI Maps

Discovery Series Sheet 54
Public Transportation

Public Transportation

At Start: None.At End: None

21 trail reviews
Write your own review of this trail

Jeferson from Wicklow

I've done this twice, and I am currently planning a third time. It is a lovely challenge and there are stunning views in multiple points. Signalling is fairly good, but some posts can be missed, so bring a map. I've pushed the route on Garmin Connect as of 2023-05-08, but always check the latest updates here, as the route can change.
While I usually do this route in 2 days, it is EXTREMELY strenuous doing so, and I would not recommend it unless you are well-prepared and fit. 3–4 days is a lot more realistic if you want to enjoy the beautiful sights. It will still have some tough segments, but you will be under less pressure.
Bear in mind that during wet periods there are significantly boggy areas, specially in the north part of the course. Even if it is dry on the day you are there, check the weather for the week before and make sure you have the correct gear.
Boots are essential! I've done it in hiking boots once, and it is a big no-no. I ended up loosing multiple toenails and straining my ankles.
If you ever try to do this solo, make sure you have the correct emergency provisions. Given that some parts of the trail don't see a lot of foot traffic, I would recommend a beacon, since you can always have an emergency.
If you don't want to do the whole route, I would suggest driving to Cadamstown and walking towards the south segment along the river. It is a stunning part of the route and an easy walk.

Ian martin from Laois

Started the walk in Clonaslee as it was the easiest and safest place to leave a car. Intention on Day 1 was to walk via Glenbarrow to Monicknew and camp for the night.
We definitely missed a sign or it wasn't there about 6km outside Clonaslee as we added approx 2km onto the route. We also couldn't find the sign to take us to the bridge over the Barrow so instead made our own route through the young forest which eventually brought us to the top of the Glenbarrow waterfall so we crossed there. Only managed to arrive at Monicknew slightly after dark which put us under pressure to set up camp, this was mainly due to underestimating the Route of 32km, brilliant views of Leinster and Munster and the boardwalk on Capard was a godsend.
Day 2 was a shorter planned walk to Kinnity as it's a nice town to stop and resupply, it was approx 16km and although there was a lot of road walking there was also a nice forestry walk with a well received picnic bench shortly after leaving the road which was ideally placed for lunch.
Camped close to Kinnity Castle and got a great coffee and bun in the Anti Social Cafe.
Day 3 we finished off our walk starting early, 20km was our planned route as we skipped a couple of kms near Cadamstown as it was mainly road walking. Lots of wildlife to see as we left Kinnity and there were some lovely little areas especially as you crossed the 2 footbridges halfway along.
Finished the entire route completely rain free which was excellent for October, some rain during the night which didn't affect us.
Excellent 3 days but might have been better to shorten the route on Day 1 and just the 2 locations between Clonaslee and Glenbarrow where the signs were a bit iffy

Sylvia from Offaly

Lovely quiet trail around the mountains of Laois / Offaly. Excellently marked, other than one sign which I misread, no wrong turns. Only one longish section on the road between Monicknew / Kinnity, mostly forestry tracks and trails. A lovely view of the midlands from the Ridge of Capard when the weather co-operates. Thank you for the boardwalk making that area much easier to manage!

Adam from United States

My girlfriend and I completed roughly 10km of this trail starting from Kinnity Castle. Was very disappointed with this hike. The whole area was not natural forest. There was just conifers planted for commercial purposes. Large strips of the forest were cut down and we often saw big piles of logs on the ground. We also had a tractor pass us on the ‘trail’ which was just a dirt road. The trail had us constantly zig zagging between different roads. It was confusing. It’s sad that we can’t just have an untouched forest with natural and diverse wildlife. Ireland is beautiful and green and they sell tourism very well, but the natural beauty is not really natural.

Michelle from Laois

We walked from Glenbarrow to Monicknew to Cadamstown to Clonaslee over 3 days. It's suitable for dogs except for a small detour between Cadamstown and Clonaslee. The terrain varies a lot over the trail which keeps it interesting. We skipped about 4km between Monicknew and Cadamstown as it was on the road. Would highly recommend the walk. Very easy to follow markers. We did it at the end of October so it was a little mucky in parts but no problem with hiking boots.

Eoghan from Dublin

We did about half of this on Easter weekend - really really nice walk that has been maintained with excellent signposting - no need for a map. We walked from Glenbarrow to mockinew which took about 5 hours (at a ramble pace). Hiking boots are a must as the trail gets quite boggy. We then walked from Kinnitty to Cadamstown which was a lovely walk too, with rivers and woodlands more of feature. That took us about 4 hours with stops and taking it fairly handy.

Richard from Laois

Hard to believe you can have such peace and quiet only an hour or so from Dublin. This trail reminded me of the Canadian Wilderness at times. Beautiful, remote and with lots of interesting places along the way.

Many thanks to Ann and Peter at Laois Partnership they helped me design the most effective route. Peter was my go-to-man for the trip and checked in with me regularly to make sure I was headed in the right direction. He couldn't have done more to help me out and they both extended great Co. Laois hospitality and friendliness.

Being from Laois myself, this was a chance to explore a part of the county that I didn't know well. The trail was excellently marked out and easy to follow. Just as I wondered if another marker should be appearing - there it was!

I started in Monicknew ending up in Clonaslee on day 1 and overnighted in Kinnity on day 2. My brother then joined me for the shortest leg back to Moniknew on day 3. IT was an epic journey.

Really got away from it all and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, being close to nature and the abundance of peace and quiet.

Many thanks again to all involved and congrats on having a great trail like this in Co. Laois.

Criostoir from Westmeath

My self and my wife decided to do two stages and another the following day in preparation for the Camino de Santiago in a couple of weeks from now . Left a car in Clonaskeeb, drove to Kinnitty and started our first days trek with a full rucksack too mimick a day in the Pyrenees and to maximize our training. It didn’t take long to see what a gem we have on our doorstep. This place is a hikers paradise and to think that our weekend was probably the best we’ve had is a credit to the hard work put in to the people of Involved in the making of such a fine route. We hiked from Kinnitty to Clonaslee on the first day and with the confusion of old maps and lack of information I think we clocked up 27 km through a tough circuit but all was made very worthwhile with the well earned pint in Dixon’s bar at the end of the trail. Beautiful! The next day we returned to Mockinew and walked to Kinnitty for a 3.5 hr trek , more than enough to finish a marathon weekend , To be continued!! Well done Slieve Bloom and the people of Clonaslee. 5 ⭐️

Philip from Galway

Had a great 3 days hiking this the end of may and was quite impressed. I camped wild in the evenings and got my water from nearby streams which was good and didn't need purification, although one evening I did need to filter the water. This is probably the one long distance path in Ireland with very little road walking. A lot of it is on forestry tracks and there are some ugly bits of commercial felling, but overall a nice walk. Would be a good day's mountain biking as well.

Colm and Gill from Offaly

If you want a trail that gives you a unique feel of our wild midland bogs, the Slieve Bloom range beautiful rivers edge wildlife, then please go and try this circuit.

The help and advice available here and on the phone (Thanks especially to Mark and Ann in the Laois Partnership group) was above and beyond. You can't beat a chat with someone who knows the sections, and can advise on the all important ability required to tackle each section (please do take heed on fitness required etc). I don't think you'll get the kind of contact and advice we got, on many other trails. Thank you.

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