Tomnafinnoge Woods near Tinahely, Co Wicklow, are a walker’s treat. I’m biased, as I live near them, and regularly walk beneath the umbrella of oak trees. Winter or summer, you can seek cover or shade here.
There are two entrances to the woodland – one located just off the Tinahely-Shillelagh Road and one closer to Tinahely itself (best to access the Railway Walk).
Choice of walks
There are three walks at the first entrance to the woodland. The River Derry will keep you company as you head west. There’s a straightforward over and back River Walk (total 4km). In addition, you can combine the River Walk and one of the two looped walks (1.3km and 3.2km respectively). During May, keep an eye out for the sea of bluebells. Most other times, the odd deer will dash past.
Discover other walks in Wicklow
The carpark is one end of the Railway Walk which takes you in the opposite direction towards Tinahely. The Railway Walk runs along the original Shillelagh to Woodenbridge railway track. The rail line was opened in 1865 by the Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford Railway. It joined the Dublin-Rosslare line at Woodenbridge. Shillelagh railway station would have been used to ferry the lords and ladies of Coolattin House to Dublin. And also to service the house with supplies. So there’s a lot of history attached to it. The house was the seat of the Fitzwilliam’s extensive Coolattin estate, which extended into Kildare and Wexford counties.
The history of the woods is fairly impressive. Timber from the forests can be found in Kings College, Cambridge, and in Westminster Abbey. In Ireland, they were used in St Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College Dublin seemingly. Timber from the woods was also used in shipbuilding. So, who knows how many ships sailed the high seas made of Shillelagh timber?
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Along with oak, there are beech trees and Scots pine, with holly and hazel adding to the mix. As I said, the bluebells make the place a pure pleasure in May. Add in the colour of the rhododendrons and you’ve got a nice mix.
Loads of people use the walks, and you will come across families, joggers, dog walkers, and bird watchers. With the green canopy overhead, the river alongside, and the sighting of squirrels and deer, it makes for a hidden gem in South Wicklow.
Good to know about Tomnafinnoge Woods
Parking is free in Tomnafinnoge Woods, with picnic tables at the carpark closest to Tinahely. On the River Walk, there’s a nice little spot at the river side, where you can picnic or have a paddle! It’s stony there, so be warned!
If you need to pick up snacks or drinks, Tinahely is no distance, with supermarkets to choose from. And there are also coffee shops and restaurants for something more substantial.
Tinahely Farm has a children’s activity barn, a farm shop, and restaurant too, so you could easily make a day of it.
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Here’s the map!