Singer and songwriter Eleanor McEvoy is undertaking two walks in North County Cork. Her first walk sees her tackle a 15 km stretch of the Avondhu-Blackwater Way, from Ballyhooly to the town of Fermoy which is a mix of open road and woodland walks. Before Eleanor embarks on her walk she meets her guide, local mountain leader, Maureen O’Brien who tells her about the history and buildings of the village of Ballyhooly.
They start their walk, crossing the Ballyhooly bridge and walk through a forest which is parallel to The Blackwater River. Along the way there are many things to see and discuss as Maureen knows these routes well. Eleanor bids Maureen goodbye and continues on to Knockannig, which is one of the highest points on the route where she admires the view. Local volunteer Christy Roche who undertakes routine maintenance on the whole trail at Glenabo Woods accompanies Eleanor the rest of the journey to Fermoy following the course of the river into the town.
Eleanor’s second walk takes her to Doneraile Park which was home to the St. Leger family. It is now in State ownership and is open to the public. Eleanor follows a path called the “Long Walk” around the outskirts of the estate. Accompanying her is Park Foreman Michael O’Sullivan who looks after the grounds day to day. At 5.3 kilometres, the Long Walk is the longest of the three walks and takes about an hour. All the walks in the park are suitable for all ages and take in the many features of the estate.
Doneraile Park has seen many changes over its 800 year history and Hugh Carrigan the OPW superintendent for the demesne has a keen interest in the demesne from the many varieties of trees and plants found in there to the history of the St. Leger family who lived there.
Eleanor ends her journey with a treat as she is given special permission to take a look inside Doneraile Court and she gets to see the spectacular views of the Park from the fine Georgian house which is the centrepiece of the estate.