The Mid Clare Way or Slí na Méaracán in Irish, embraces the centre of one Ireland’s most diverse, beautiful and culturally rich counties.
With the Burren Way to the north and the East Clare Way to the east, the Mid Clare Way, called in Gaelic Slí na Méaracán or the foxglove way, is a 150km long circular walking route around the centre of Clare. At its centre lies the county capital, the busy and picturesque town of Ennis.
The route touches on the Burren to the north and the broad Shannon Estuary to the south.
The terrain follows a mixture of forest track and road, boreen and bog, and pathway and minor road.
The amount of minor roads to be followed is well made up for by the large number of holy wells, killeens, stone forts, castles and ancient churches passed along the way. Walkers may want to linger, in particular, to enjoy the treasury of rich heritage around Dysert O’Dea Castle, where there is a good history and archaeology centre open to the public, and the beautiful Quin Abbey, dating from 1350.
Beginning at Newmarket-on-Fergus, the way climbs to the western slopes of the Slieve Aughty range, with wonderful views across to Mullaghmore and the Burren. Passing through nature reserves at Dromore Woods and historic Dysert O’Dea, the route then follows the River Fergus valley to its estuary at Ballykelly and on to Clarecastle and finally back to Newmarket-on-Fergus.
The Mid Clare Way is best accessed at one of seven key trailheads, which provide information map boards and car parking. The trailheads are located reasonably close to other services and facilities, such as shops, accommodation, restaurants, and public transport.
The trailheads are located at Newmarket-on-Fergus, Quin, Crusheen, Ruan, Connolly and at Clarecastle.
There are also shorter loops for a more leisurely walking experience at Ballinruan/Gortnamearacaun and also in Dromore Wood.
- Distance: approximately 150km circular walking trail.
- Grade: easy to moderate.
- Minimum Gear: sturdy walking boots, waterproofs, rucksack, fluid, snacks, and mobile phone.
For detailed maps, check out the website or visit www.sportireland.ie/outdoors