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Market Square, Mullingar, Westmeath, Republic of Ireland
Mullaghmeen in north Westmeath is the largest planted beech forest in Ireland. This 1,000 acre forest has an extensive network of way marked trails for varying levels of fitness.
Mullaghmeen is an isolated area of forest rising above the farm land of north Westmeath. Mullaghmeen Forest is the largest planted beech forest in Ireland. Along with beech, Mullaghmeen also has Sitka spruce, Scots pine and noble fir and a very interesting native tree collection.
This 1,000 acre forest offers picnickers a shady haven in which to feast and provides the more energetic with scenic walks of varying length. The Red Trail takes you to the summit of Mullaghmeen and provides magnificent views north across Lough Sheelin and into the neighbouring county of Cavan.
The forest, once an out farm belonging to a Lord Gradwell, has many examples of man’s former impacts on the landscape. Following the White Trail (one of the walking trails) one passes sad reminders of famine times with relic walls of famine fields. A Booley Hut, a summer grazing shelter, is just off the Red Trail, while the Flax Pits show that this important crop for the linen industry was once harvested and cured in this area. The underlying Geology is limestone rock and in the south eastern corner more of its geology is revealed where one can see turloughs: disappearing lakes that fill and empty with no apparent in or outflow.
Come in spring for the best displays of woodland flowers notably bluebells. The area is populated with grey squirrels, jays, badgers, foxes, pheasant, rabbit and hares, as well as a large selection of song birds.