If you’re in search of walks in Louth, the Annaloughan Loop Walk is well worth a bash!
The Annaloughlan Loop Walk is a beautiful forested trail with some stunning views of the Cooley Mountains and Dundalk Bay.
The fact that it starts and ends at one of the best pubs in the county is an added bonus! But enough about the post-walk rewards!
In the guide below, you’ll find everything from a map of the Annaloughan Loop and where to get parking to what to expect on the way.
Some quick need-to-knows before doing the Annaloughan Loop Walk
Although the Annaloughan Loop is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Annaloughlan Mountain lies in the southwestern part of the Cooley Peninsula in County Louth and overlooks Dundalk Bay and the county town of Dundalk itself sits just across the Bay.
2. Length + distance
The Annaloughan Loop Walk is an 8km looped walk that should take around two hours and forty-five minutes to complete (depending on pace and stopping for the views etc).
As I alluded to earlier, this is one of the more conveniently-situated trails in Ireland as the loop begins and ends in the car park of Fitzpatrick’s Bar and Restaurant (here on Google Maps). There’s loads of room here for parking but obviously be aware that it can get busy at peak times.
With a pretty solid length and a completion time of almost three hours, this walk has been given a moderate difficulty grade. There’s also an ascent of around 250 metres to consider, so make sure you prepare properly before heading out on the Annaloughlan Loop Walk.
5. Proper footwear needed
And part of that preparation is some proper footwear with the grip and sturdiness to make it up the mountain. It can get quite wet and muddy in spots so you’ll want to be prepared on a fairly lengthy walk like this one.
An overview of the Annaloughan Loop Walk
As mentioned above, the Annaloughan Loop Walk is an 8km moderately difficult loop that’ll take you around 2.75 hours to complete.
Below, you’ll find a solid overview of what to expect on the trail. Dive on in!
Turn left out of the car park and follow the purple arrow to a small road where you’ll head left again.
Continue along this road for about 300 metres before reaching a narrow laneway on your left-hand side. Turn left here and follow the laneway before turning right at the farm shed.
Just after this, turn right at a T-junction and follow the roadway to reach a barrier entrance to the forest and then, just past the barrier, turn right onto a forestry roadway.
Continue straight on at the junction and follow the roadway as it climbs to a 3-way junction and this is where the loop ‘proper’ begins.
At this point you can choose to do the loop clockwise or counter-clockwise, but carrying on clockwise would be your best bet. The trail then climbs for the next 2km in the forest amid lush fern and fireweed before joining a surfaced road where you’ll need to turn right.
Follow this road for only 50 metres before crossing a stile on your right-hand side which takes you onto a path flanked by forest on your right.
Stick to the fence on your right and stay on this path for 1.5km as the loop crosses the shoulder of Annaloughan Mountain. This would definitely be the spot where you’ll want to take a few photos of the stunning views! You should be able to see Dundalk Bay, the Cooley Mountains and Slieve Foye from here (as long as the cloud isn’t too low!).
Near the end of this part there’s a slight turn to the left (away from the fence) that will take you to a stile where you enter the forest.
Follow the stony path downhill to reach the 3-way junction where you turn left and downhill. After a 300 metre swing right at a tight bend, you’ll soon rejoin the outward section of the loop at the junction mentioned above.
This time turn left and follow the purple arrows that will return you to the main road and back to the trailhead at Fitzpatrick’s.
Things to do after the Annaloughan Loop
One of the beauties of the Annaloughan Loop is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best things to do in Louth.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the Annaloughan Walk (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. The Cooley Peninsula Drive (start from Fitzpatricks)
Home to rich folklore and a long history, the Cooley Peninsula is also a picturesque part of Ireland that deserves to be explored. In particular, there’s heaps of things to do in Carlingford, from the Carlingford Greenway to the Slieve Foye Loop.
2. Roche Castle (20-minute drive)
Dating back to the 13th century, Roche Castle is a relic of the Norman era in Ireland and its rocky hilltop location just adds to its grandeur. Only a 20-minute drive from the Annaloughlan trailhead, that handy hilltop setting means you’ll get some beautiful panoramic views alongside the castle’s fascinating history.
3. Carlingford Greenway (20-minute drive)
While there are plenty of walking trails around the Cooley Peninsula, there’s also plenty of scope for heading out on two wheels and nowhere is better for that than cycling the Carlingford Greenway. Just a 20-minute drive from the Annaloughlan trailhead and stretching 7km down the peninsula’s northern shoreline, it runs between Carlingford and Omeath and offers some stunning views along the way.
FAQs about the Annaloughan Walk
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is the walk hard?’ to ‘Where do you park?’.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
How long is the Annaloughan Loop?
The trail above is an 8km looped walk that should take around two hours and forty-five minutes to complete (depending on pace and stopping for the views etc).
Is the Annaloughan Loop Walk hard?
With a completion time of almost three hours, this walk has been given a moderate difficulty grade. There’s also an ascent of around 250 metres to consider, also.