Cork native TV presenter Sinead Kennedy is in County Mayo on the western slopes of the Ox Mountains which are the location of some of Ireland’s finest walks. The Larganmore Loop, not far from Foxford, takes Sinead through some unique habitats and scenery.
Sinead’s first trail is a cycle on the Greenway from Castlebar to the National Museum at Turlough starting at Lough Lannagh. Lough Lannagh is a wonderful amenity for Castlebar with lovely views of Mayo’s most famous landmark, Croagh Patrick. The Greenway has plenty to offer cyclists and walkers along the route through treelinned countryside habitats and it takes Sinead into Turlough Park. The Parkland of 37 acres of lake and woodland walks date back to the 19th century and was laid out by the Fitzgerald family at Turlough House. A branch of the family lived in the Victorian Gothic house until 1991 when it became part of the National museum of Country Life.
Sinead travels to Foxford for her next trail. Larganmore Mountain is about 8 Kms from Foxford. Foxford is famous for its woollen mills which is one of the last hand-craft weaving mills in the West of Ireland. The journey to the Larganmore Trail head goes through lovely scenery around Ardmachugh and Glenduff Lake. The first part of the Larganmore loop takes Sinead down the mountain road. Sinead’s guide, local farmer Jean Beattie who helped Mayo County Council design the loop walk, guides Sinead through a variety of country roads and laneways that circle the mountain to the base of Larganmore where they climb the mountain before returning to where they started. The landscape is a mixture of fertile fields side by side with wild areas of uplands covered in blanket bog and heather, revealing stunning views of the Ox Mountains in Mayo.
Sinead takes a detour to visit Tom Hennigan’s Heritage Museum in Killasser. Tom tells her stories about growing up in the cottage and shows her his collection of old shoes which are on display in the museum.
Back on the Larganmore Loop Sinead finds out more about some famous Mayo folk and historical heroes from locals Noel Gillard and writer Stephen Dunford as she walks with them through the boreens. To her delight she finally sees some wild Irish goats.
The final part of the walk is the most challenging for Sinead which is the off road ascent to the other side of Larganmore to the mountain road where she started her loop walk but as the rain fades off in the Ox Mountains, the winds fall easy, the clouds part and streams of light appear over the heather clad uplands. The breath-taking views make it all worthwhile.