Great Southern Trail

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Secretary, Great Southern Trail, Gortbui, Newcastle West, Limerick,

The Great Southern Trail is a unique 85km stretch of countryside in West Limerick/North Kerry. It is suitable for walking and cycling.

It is the route taken by the Limerick - Tralee railway line, which opened in 1867/1880 and closed in 1975/1977. Today the Great Southern Trail is suitable for walking and cycling off road along a 37km route. The GST Action Group are non-profit, working to develop the Limerick to Tralee section of the trail.

Ireland's rolling green landscape, much of it untouched by development, makes it an ideal location for the enthusiast and casual walker alike. Numerous signed posted walking routes of note have been developed over the last few years.

Directions to TrailHead
Begin at the Old Station now the Palatine Museum. Cross the River Deel, continue north of the N21 via a riverside underpass. Five cut-stone overhead bridges are encountered on the trail to Ardagh. The fifth bridge is at Ardagh Station, 1km from where the Ardagh Chalice was found in 1868.

This section, level at each end with a 1% gradient ‘dip’ in the middle, passes through pleasant pastoral farmland. Approaching Newcastle West the River Daar is bridged. Cross the R521 and enter Newcastle West Station. The restored Station House is private and mature oak trees line the approach avenue.

For steam trains this was an arduous uphill challenge with gradients of almost 2%; it is downhill from Barnagh to Abbeyfeale. Trains entered Barnagh Station through a tunnel, which can be visited along a separate ‘standalone’
1km section of the old railway; access is via the lay-by at Barnagh on the N21 (Westbound)

The N21 roadside cyclelane rejoins the railway at the western end of the site of Barnagh Station. The route passes under two stone bridges. Templeglantine becomes visible on the left and is reached along the L21006, a good starting point for a side trip to Glenquin Castle, open seasonally May-Sept, 6Km S.E.

The L21006 leads to the trail for Abbeyfeale. After 2km enter Tullig Wood and soon pass the restored station at Devon Road. The trail levels as it comes parallel to the River Allaghaun. One stone bridge spans the trail, 2km after which Abbeyfeale Station is reached. Turn left onto the R524 for the town centre.