Ard Na Gaoithe Forest – Cong, Ireland

In prehistoric times, early Irish farmers cleared Scots Pine, Birch and Oak to make space for farming along the Corrib Lough.

This area is known for the the Guinness family who owned these lands which were part of family’s Ashford Castle Estate until 1939. Great grandson of Arthur Guinness, also named Arthur, chose to build a chalet for his wife Olive and himself along Lough Corrib and live in the countryside rather than join the brewery business. Arthur and Olive enjoyed peaceful walks along the Lough, gardening and antiquities. After Arthur Guinness died, Olive put up an obelisk dedicated to Arthur’s memory.

At Ard Na Gaoithe Forest you can take a short stroll from the car park to a safe swimming area on the Lough’s shore. The water is very clear and still with a rocky bottom. There is enough space to put down some picnic blankets or camping chairs to enjoy the outdoors by the swimming area. Benches are also available for you to take a seat on.

There is a 2.3km looped walk which starts at the car park and provides a scenic walk along Lough Corrib where you can see the many small islands in the lough. The walk takes you through forested areas of Ash, Sycamore, Norway spruce, Beech and Larch trees which tower high above you. Under these trees you can find ferns, holly, bamboo, bracken and ivy covering the forest floor.

This is a brilliant spot for a swim, or a peaceful walk if you are in the area.

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