The Glenstal Woods is one of the less-trodden walks in Limerick.
You’ll find it finely situated at the end of the Slieve Felim Mountains where it boasts 1,800 of forest to explore.
Below, you’ll find an overview of the trail, things to lookout for a a map of the Glenstal Woods walk.
Some quick need-to-knows about Glenstal Woods
Although a visit to Glenstal Woods is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
Located around 20km east of Limerick City, Glenstal Woods is a woodland area in County Limerick’s rural northeast. It’s a 30-minute spin from Limerick City, Adare and Killaloe (Clare) and a 50-minute drive from Thurles (Tipperary).
There’s a small gravel car park (here on Google Maps) right at the trailhead which is easy enough to find (follow the signs for the Slieve Felim Way after leaving the nearby village of Murroe). When you park up, just make sure you don’t block the information signs or the entrance!
As I mentioned earlier, this is a pretty long walk so you’ll need to dedicate most of the day to it (plus travel there, etc.). Coming in at 15km with an ascent of 300 metres, the Glenstal Woods Walk will probably take you around 4 hours to complete.
While there aren’t a lot of steep inclines (it’s a woodland walk, after all!), the long length means that the Glenstal Woods Walk falls into the ‘moderate’ category. It’s tough going in parts and good walking shoes, snacks, water and a fully charged phone are all necessary.
About Glenstal Woods
Located at the western end of the Slieve Felim Mountains in County Limerick and combining over 1800 hectares of forest, upland, heath and bog, the Glenstal Woods are rich in flora and fauna and its natural beauty makes for a lovely escape from the city.
With the main tree species in the woodlands being Norway and Sitka Spruce, if you’re lucky enough to walk these woods in the summer you’ll be hit by a kaleidoscope of colour from the rhododendrons found at the end of the walk!
It’s also a popular birdwatching spot so keep your eye out for all sorts of birdlife, with the Hen Harrier bird of prey particularly visible in the skies above.
The Glenstal Woods walk
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Length: 15km
- Time: 4 hours
- Format: Loop
Kick off from the entrance at the car park and, along the way, follow the waymarks with the purple arrow on a yellow background.
You’ll start off on the surfaced road and it slowly ascends towards Meentolla where, after 1km, you’ll reach a crossroads where you’ll then veer right.
Following this, the trail ascends gently through the leafy woodlands for 1km before levelling out and giving stunning views into north Limerick and south Tipperary.
Reaching its highest point
After a short descent into Gleno, it then ascends again for another 2km to reach its highest point at 350m. From here, you’ll be treated to some gorgeous views of the distant Keeper Hill to the north.
Shortly afterwards it swings south, circling the Slieve Felim Mountains and joins the long-distance Slieve Felim Way (43km!) – denoted with the distinctive yellow arrows and walking man.
The Glenstal Woods Walk loop actually overlaps with the Way on its return to the trailhead.
Following a solid 4km stretch along the forested southern shoulder of Slieve Felim, the loop descends into more natural woodland where, in the summer, you’ll meet those spectacular purple rhododendrons, forming a colouful finale to the walk.
Descend back down into the gravel car park to finish.
Things to do near Glenstal Woods
One of the beauties of the Glenstal Woods walk is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Limerick.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Glenstal!
1. Glenstal Abbey (10-minute drive)
Though Glenstal Abbey looks a lot older than it actually is, it’s still an impressive and elegant building that’s located just a short 10-minute drive west of Glenstal Woods. However, it’s the picturesque grounds of Glenstal Abbey that are the real reason to visit!
2. Clare Glens (10-minute drive)
With a scenic red sandstone gorge through which the Clare River flows while showcasing several waterfalls, the Clare Glens are another gorgeous part of the region that’s not far at all from Glenstal Woods. Straddling the Limerick and Tipperary border, Clare Glens are just a 10-minute drive away and the 3.4km loop trail is the best way to see this lovely spot.
3. 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 Glenstal Woods, the Keeper Hill Trek is pretty strenuous so make sure you’re well-equipped before taking it on!
4. Limerick City (30-minute drive)
Half an hour west of Glenstal Woods lies lively Limerick City and it’s full of cracking pubs and restaurants for you to get stuck into a post-walk pint and feed! From JJ Bowles to Katie Daly’s Heritage Pub, there are loads to choose from (and the city’s nice for a little riverside stroll too).
FAQs about the Glenstal walk
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is the walk tough?’ to ‘Where can I find a map?’.
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.
Is the Glenstal Woods walk hard?
Yes. This is a moderately difficult trail that’s 15km and that takes around 4 hours to completely. Make sure to pack snacks and a fully charged phone.
Where do you park for Glenstal Woods?
There’s a little bit of parking right at the trail head – just follow the signs for the Slieve Felim Way after leaving the nearby village of Murroe.