The Clare Glens Loop walk straddles the border between Limerick and Tipperary.
Set in the stunning Clare Glens Forest, this 4km trail is easy for the most part but sections of the walk can be strenuous.
Below, you’ll find info on everything from parking and the route to the glorious Clare Glens waterfall.
Some quick need-to-knows about the Clare Glens Loop walk
It’s worth taking 30 seconds to read the points below before you scroll to the overview of the Clare Glens walk, as they’ll get you up-to-speed quickly:
With the River Clare running through it, the Clare Glens forest straddles the borders of counties Limerick and Tipperary. It’s a 25-minute drive from Limerick City, a 35-minute drive from Tipperary Town Centre and a 45-minute drive from Ennis in Clare.
Head to the Clare River Bridge and make your way just over the north side of the bridge where there will be a large roadside car park on the western side of the road (here on Google Maps). There should be loads of space to park and you’ll have a short amble over to the trailhead.
3. Two walks
There are a couple of trails here to tackle, both of which come in loop form and start on either side of the Clare Bridge. At 2km in length, the Nature Loop (30 minutes to 1 hour) is the shorter of the two and starts on the Tipperary side. For more of a challenge, you can take on the 4km Clare Glens Loop Walk (1 to 1.5 hours) which begins on the Limerick side.
While it’s classed as an easy walk and has a firm walking track on the Limerick side, it can get slightly strenuous in spots so it’s best to wear walking boots just incase. Parts of the trail can get very muddy in wet weather and some of the rocks need scrambling and can get slippery at times, so it’s best to err on the side of caution.
5. The waterfalls
The Clare Glens waterfalls are arguably the most notable features of the trail and they make the area a joy to explore. For the most part, you won’t need to search for them, and you’ll generally hear them before you see them.
About Clare Glens Forest
You’ll see the Clare Glens reign supreme in many guides to the best walks in Limerick.
With its heavily-wooded deep ravine and gushing waterfalls, there’s a Tolkien-esque feel when you’re rambling through the magical landscape of Clare Glens Forest!
All I’m saying is they probably could have got away with filming a few scenes from The Hobbit in Clare Glens without anyone noticing the difference…
Anyway, Clare Glens is known for its natural beauty and abundant wildlife such as wrens, wagtails, chaffinches and red squirrels able to be spotted amid the holly, pine and hazel trees.
And if you’re here in June or July, then you’ll be in for a treat as the bright pink Rhododendron bushes will be in full bloom.
An overview of the Clare Glens Loop Walk
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate
- Length: 4km
- Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Format: Loop
You’ll begin from a metal swing gate to the left of the Clare River bridge. Head left onto a narrow trail following the purple and green arrows (the green arrows denote the shorter Nature Loop so we’re going to focus on the purple arrows here).
The loop then gains ground away from the river and stays to ‘upper’ paths before passing a stone footbridge. The trail then veers right and downhill to reach the riverbank at a wooden footbridge. At this point, the Nature Loop turns right but we’re going to proceed straight on.
The Clare Glens Loop Walk takes you uphill again and follows wooded paths through dense woodlands to reach another footbridge near the gorgeous Clare Falls. This footbridge marks the farthest point of the loop, so cross over the bridge (and in the process pass from County Tipperary into County Limerick!) and turn right.
Continue to follow the purple arrows along a sandy woodland path before reaching a path joining from your right. It’s at this point you’ll rejoin the Nature Loop (and its green arrows). Carry on along the sandy path to make your return to the trailhead.
Things to do near the Clare Glens
Clare Glens Forest is a stone’s throw from many of the best things to do in Limerick.
Below, you’ll find plenty of nearby attractions, from hikes and food to historical sites and more.
1. Keeper Hill (20-minute drive)
The highest peak in the Silvermine Mountains, Keeper Hill rises to a height of 2,277 ft and is located just over the border in County Tipperary. Only a 20-minute drive from Clare Glens, the Keeper Hill Trek is pretty strenuous so make sure you’re well-equipped before taking it on!
2. Glenstal Woods and abbey (10-minute drive)
Though Glenstal Abbey looks a lot older than it actually is, it’s still a unique and handsome building that’s located just a short 10-minute drive west of Clare Glens. However, it’s the picturesque grounds of Glenstal Abbey that are the real reason to visit! Nearby Glenstal Woods are worth a look, too!
3. Limerick City (25-minute drive)
A 25-minute drive west of Glenstal Woods lies vibrant Limerick City, home to King John’s Castle, the Milk Market and more. There’s some great pubs in Limerick and there’s endless great restaurants in Limerick, too!
FAQs about the Clare Glens walk
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where does it start?’ to ‘How hard is it?’.
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 Clare Glens Loop Walk?
The longer Clare Glens Walk is 4km in length and takes between 1 and 1.5 hours in total to complete, depending on your pace.
Where do you park for Clare Glens Forest?
There’s a generous parking area not far from the bridge and right in front of the playground. Note that it can get busy on the weekend and on fine days.