Rinn Duin Castle Loop
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Roscommon Integrated Development Company, Curraghboy, Athlone, Roscommon, Republic of Ireland
Mr Richard Collins
The name Rindoon (in Irish ‘rinn duin’) means a fortified headland. The Rindoon Peninsula in County Roscommon extends into Lough Ree approximately in the centre of Ireland. The strategic importance of the peninsula was recognised by the Anglo-Normans and a castle and garrison was established here in 1227. The castle was protected by a substantial town wall which defended the neck of the peninsula. Today, Rindoon is possibly the best preserved deserted Norman town in Ireland – with substantial remains of the castle and harbour, the town wall, a stone windmill, ecclesiastical sites, a church and graveyard. There is a Bee Bole (18th century beehive alcove) located behind St John’s House at the start of the walks. For those interested in habitat and birdlife the shoreline is home to many species of birds - including egrets, whimbrels, merlins, herons and ducks. Walkers should note that the overall site has returned to pasture is now a working livestock farm – cattle, sheep and a few inquisitive donkeys wander the peninsula with you!
A-B. Starting from the car park, follow the green (and blue) arrow through the gate to St John’s House B&B. The blue arrows are for the longer Warren Point Loop. Continue along the sand roadway for 200m to reach a Y-junction at St John’s House. You will be returning to this point from the left on the return section. For now - veer right and follow the sand roadway for 500m to reach the old Town Wall.
B-C. Pass through the gateway and follow the grassy roadway to reach another gateway at a stone wall. Turn right at the gate and follow the wall for 40m to reach a stile on your left - cross it and follow the green and blue arrows along a boundary stone wall on the shoreline of Carrownure Bay. After 300m you reach the ruins of Rinn Duin Church on your left. Turn left here (leaving the blue loop as it heads out to Warren Point).
C-D. Follow the stone wall on your left past the church and the castle (both on your right) and across the peninsula to Safe Harbour. Midway across the blue loop rejoins from the right. At Safe Harbour the loop turns left and follows the outside of stone boundary walls along the shoreline of St John’s Bay. The loop crosses a number of stiles over the next 1km before turning left off the shoreline.
D-A. Follow a boundary fence (on your left) to reach a metal gate - pass through it and cross the field to another metal gate. Pass through this and follow the stone wall of the Walled Garden to reach the sand roadway at St Johns House. Turn right and enjoy the last 100m back to the trailhead.