WALK NO. 6. RINEEN WOOD
Distance: Out and Back: 3Km
Time: 1 – 1.5Hrs
Terrain: Pleasant wooded paths and tracks
Start and Finish: In the car park of Rineen Wood, some 4MI (7km) from the Marine Hotel. Drive to Union Hall, up to the Church, right uphill at the Church, and swing right at a T-Junction when the road levels off. Then downhill, and watch for the sign for Rineen Wood on your left. Drive in to the car park.
Comment: I like this walk, and it is ideal to do it as an evening stroll – if you have a sunny evening, the sparkle of sunlight reflected from the sea inlet, up through the wood, is particularly attractive. It is a mixed wood, with many varieties, and is an entirely recommendable outing.
Walk: From the car park, walk back out the forest road on which you have just driven in, and just as you reach the wooden fence at the entrance, turn down left towards the inlet on a good path. This path wanders through the wood at the waterside, and descends at one point to where a fallen tree presents a slight obstacle – I found it easiest to go left, under the trunk, and then back right to rejoin the path. You pass by an old ruin of a lime kiln (see below), as the path continues along by trie water. Ignore a branch up left to the car-park, and stay by the waterside, now with excellent views right, out along the narrow inlet of Rineen. Your path finally goes up left for a few metres to join with a little forest road, just before a stream. Turn right onto the road, which swings right, and now you’re off again. Stay on this Southward route, as the road narrows to a track, and gradually becomes just a forest trail which is nevertheless quite easy to follow as it meanders outward well above the Rineen inlet, through a most delightful, almost cathedral, woodland atmosphere. At one point near a little stream, the path appears to end, but in fact goes up left for a short distance, and then continues outward as before. You can go all the way to the end of the wood, though the going becomes less easy If you do stay on to the end, your questionable reward is a good view across some fields at Raheen Castle, in an isolated but scenic setting.
This is an out and back walk, so when it suits you, just retrace your steps back towards the start. When you get back to where you joined the forest road, at the bend, simply stay on the road this time, and it brings you up to the car park around a final couple of bends.
Note: Raheen Castle was an O’Donovan Castle; you may say it looks all of its 400 years age, but it suffered cannonball damage in a Cromwell attack 350 years ago, so that was probably an unfortunate start for the poor thing, Lime kilns were used to burn limestone to quicklime for fertiliser, and perhaps the coastal location of this one means that the limestone, which is not a common rock around here, was brought in by boat?.