Former International Rugby player Keith Wood, who was capped 58 times for Ireland and also capped for the British and Irish Lions, has chosen a scenic route near his home town in County Clare for his walk. Starting at Mountshannon, Keith journeys down the western side of Lough Derg which is one of Ireland’s largest lakes. It is 40Km in length from Portumna in Co. Galway to Killaloe in Co. Clare. It would have been a thriving highway for ships and cargo boats but now its towns, which fringe the lake, are boating and fishing destinations.
On his way, Keith visits Holy Island by boat with local historian, Ger Madden. Holy Island’s undisturbed location is a favourite spot to see rare birds. Back on the mainland, Keith meets Vera O’Rourke at the Mountshannon Eagles Birdwatcher Hut and with the aid of powerful binoculars Keith hopes for a glimpse of the rare eagles.
Keith then travels by kayak to Raheen Woods in Tuamgraney where he meets environmentalist Andrew St. Ledger who tells him all about the 300 acres of trees some dating back 300 years. Keith leaves the fascination of the forest to head to Scarriff where he collects his next mode of transport, a cruiser which transports him to Twomile Gate. Here he sets out on one of his favourite regular walks, the Ballycuggaran Loop. Then Keith takes a boat into Killaloe to visit Brian Boru’s fort – Béal Boru and says hello to Una Ceirns the daughter of his former school teacher who tells him all about the fort.