Planning your Visit to Ireland? Deerpark Forest

Welcome to a new feature on Aliisaacstoryteller. Are you planning a visit to Ireland? Over the coming weeks, I’ll be featuring places in Ireland that I love, and which are, I think, well worth a visit. Some will be familiar to you, others will get you off that beaten tourist track, and make your visit to Ireland a more memorable and unique one.


Welcome to Deerpark.


Paths are good for buggies and wheelchairs.


You’re never far from water.


St Patrick’s Holy Well blends unobtrusively into the hillside.


Close up of St Patrick’s Holy Well.


Approach to the old boat house.


The old boat house.


Old boat house partially reclaimed by nature.


Texture… rock, moss and lichen.


Majestic tree cathedral.


Looking out over Lough Ramor from the old boat house.

Deerpark, Lough Ramor, Co. Cavan

I‘ve been coming here for years with my family, and love it just as much now as when I first ventured in among the trees. The Slí na Sláinte is a 5.5km circular walk through the forest, which passes the Virginia Golf Course, and follows the edge of Lough Ramor, but there is also a shorter 3km route, too.

The forest was established by the second Lord Headfort, Thomas Taylor, in the early nineteenth century; he planted ash, elm, oak, larch, spruce and Scots pine and some are still standing today. Now, the forest is managed by Coillte, but there is little interference with nature’s gardening plans.

The crumbling old boat house is all that remains of a once thriving ferry system which connected the small town of Virginia with Munterconnaught, dating as far back as the seventeenth century, when Virginia was established as a strategic staging and resting place for coaches travelling between Enniskillen and Dublin.

Prehistoric remains found in the region date back to 2000 BC. There are also many islands and crannogs on the lake, some of which were once inhabited by monks. In fact, it is said that a church on one of the islands was attacked by Vikings who came in boats up the River Boyne and Blackwater into Lough Ramor.

Lough Ramor is one of the largest lakes in Co Cavan, being 7 km long, and only 1 km wide at its narrowest point. It flows into the River Blackwater, and has been designated as a proposed Natural Heritage Area. It is popular with anglers, as it waters teem with  pike, bream, roach, trout and eel.

Ramor and the forest are home to many species of wild life:  cormorants, whooper swans, ducks and grey herons are most noticeable from among a thriving bird community, and I’ve also seen foxes as I’ve been walking there. However, the forest is most famous for its jaw-dropping blanket of bluebells in the spring… it really is incredible to see!

It’s very quiet and peaceful beneath the trees. Golden sunlight filters through a thick canopy of leaves which screens the sky from view, and a choir of birdsong harmonised by the trickle of water, or the wash of lakeside wavelets floats through the air. I’ve never seen so many variations of green anywhere else! I always leave the forest relaxed, with all my problems solved… in theory, at least.

Head north up the M3 from Dublin, and keep going until you get to Virginia. In the town, take the left left fork by the triangle, go past Supervalue on your left, and turn left by the Rugby Club. You can park in the Rugby Club’s car park, which is right beside the entrance to the forest. Parking and visiting the forest is free. Enjoy!

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49 Comments on “Planning your Visit to Ireland? Deerpark Forest

  1. Ireland has so many treasures, and you and your writing/photos brings these new places to me. It is fantastic. And I have yet another dream, to see St Patrick’s Holy Well ~ it looks so cool and mysterious. Wonderful post yet again Ali ~ cheers to a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, you are too kind. Wherever you visit in Ireland, you can visit a holy well named after St Pat… he and Brigid were very popular when it came to naming wells. That one in particular is a very humble one… it also has plastic piping to try and stop the area flooding, but I managed to avoid showing that in my pic… not quite so picturesque! 🤣😆😀 Thanks for dropping by! Appreciate it.


  2. Wow! I know two dogs and two humans who would love to do that walk. We’d take the longer route as well, Ali. Such hidden beauty. It’s a shame that it is not well known, but I guess that has its good points as well? Thanks for showing us around, Ali. I bet that old boat house could tell us many stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s well known locally Hugh… it can get quite busy of a weekend, if the weather’s nice. If you two humans and your dogs ever fancy a walk there, let me know… I have loads of rooms for visitors! You’re always welcome! Xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The beauty of Ireland needs no advertising as it is a cute little slice of paradise on earth. Great pics to complement your narration, Ali. May the country continue to enchant generations into the future….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another gem Ali. Love the old boathouse. Generally I love the way Ireland doesn’t sweep away and develop old places but lets them crumble gracefully.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Roy! You are right, over here ancient sites are generally left to ‘settle’. That has a bad side too, as repairs and rescue tend not to happen either. Once it’s gone, it’s lost forever. Unless we record it in some way. Most of us can’t control what the authorities or landowners decide, but we can keep them alive through stories and pictures. Thanks for stopping by, hope all is well with you.


  5. What a beautiful place to walk and explore, Ali! That’s great that Deerpark has nice wide paths where you can take Carys in her buggy. I think this is a very nice addition to your blog for all of us who would love to visit Ireland but can’t make it anytime soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Rachele. It really is a lovely place to walk, for all of us. Yes, I get a lot of views from US and often get messages saying they would love to visit Ireland one day, so I thought it might be a good idea to show people what Ireland has to offer, not just ancient sites. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Ali! Beautiful photos! Ireland has always been on my ‘Bucket List’. I’ll get there some day. What a lovely post. Thank you!😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a lovely post, Ali. Ireland is indeed green! Hubs and I are planning a trip to Ireland in 2019 (next year it’s Iceland) and we don’t want to do a tour with a group. So I’m counting on you to help us out when the time comes! I do want to see the Book of Kells – that’s at the top of my list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes indeed… there is a little harbour, and water sports. It’s certainly big enough to sail on although I must admit the only boats I’ve seen out there have been motor boats, row boats, dinghies and canoes. Oh and pedaloes! 🤣


  8. Pingback: Planning your Visit to Ireland? Deerpark Forest | homethoughtsfromabroad626

  9. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday 15th August 2017 – #Ireland, Bit of Irish Sparkle, Ali Isaac, Brigid Gallagher and Sheila Kiely | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  10. A great new idea for your blog, Ali. You may find something interesting in future travel spots in Ireland you write about that you have been unaware of in the past. I can see you buying a small bus and taking tour groups, of say10 paying customers, to some of these spots on personalised tours. Can you see that, or am I imagining things 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! I will never do tours like that, Colin. But I have guided some lovely people last summer around a few sites. I am happy to spend a morning or afternoon at a site with people who really want to be there… any shorter just doesn’t give you time to really experience it. We walked around, discussed archaeology, sat and soaked up the atmosphere, and of course I told the old stories associated with the sites… it was lovely. I’d definitely do that again! 😊


      • Ali, I think it’s a pity you’re not interested in doing paid tours. A two-day tour with 10 people in your Ali Isaacs Myths and Legends Tour bus and you’d go back home exhausted, 1500 euros richer and make 10 people very happy! I can’t think of one tour like that on the market today? I think there’s a niche for it with your name on it. Even if you took away the never part of your reply and replaced it with maybe, would make me happy. All the best.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ah sorry to upset you, Colin, and I appreciate your faith in me. There are so many tours of Ireland in operation already, and so many great tour guides and storytellers… I have no desire to compete. I’m a blogger and writer first and foremost. But if someone contacted me with a real interest in visiting a site I am familiar with then I’d be happy to spend time with them and be their guide. 😊


  11. We’ve been driving through Virginia and along Lough Ramor four times a week, for the past two months, Ali, on our way to Belturbet to work on the house. I can’t wait to get settled in and start exploring. Your photographs are fabulous, I love taking walks in the woods and there are so many in that area to explore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Craig. It’s not wilderness exactly, but still beautiful and historic. A handy place for us to walk with Carys, we have a big all terrain buggy which she loves, it’s better for her than the wheelchair, but it’s always where I come when I have writer’s block, and it clears every time! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  12. A beautiful spot, Ali. The well feels magical, and the old boat house is so picturesque. I plan on a trip to Ireland as soon as the husband retires and look forward to your series. 🙂


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