Tomies Wood in Killarney is a fine spot for a stroll.
Located on the southwest side of Lough Leane, and sweeping down towards Muckross Lake and the incredible Killarney National Park, it’s arguably more frequented by locals than tourists.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s quiet – the car park here, although relatively new, packs out very quickly.
Below, you’ll find info on the Tomies Wood Walk, from a map of the trail to info on the stunning O’Sullivan’s Cascade.
Some quick need-to-knows about the Tomies Wood walk
Although a visit to Tomies Wood in Killarney is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.
There’s a car park at the head of the trail (here on Google Maps). On-site there is enough parking for approximately 28-30 cars, however, it’s extremely popular on weekends and on fine days and thus fills up fast.
3. Length and difficulty
There are a couple of variations of the Tomies Wood Walk. In this guide, we’re focusing on the loop which starts at the car park. It’s 6-6.5km and can take 1.5 to 2.5 hours, depending on pace. Difficulty wise, this is a nice and handy stroll but there are some inclines at the beginning.
4. Home to O’Sullivan’s Cascade
O’Sullivan’s Cascade is a bustling waterfall at the heart of Tomies Wood in Killarney. According to legend, O’Sullivan’s Cascade once flowed with whiskey – not water. The story goes that Fionn MacCumhaill, leader of the Fianna, lived around Tomies Mountain and O’Sullivan’s Cascade was his private supply
About Tomies Wood
You’d be forgiven for wondering who Tomie was and how he came by this woodland. ‘Tomie’ refers to a 735m high mountain on the shore of Lough Leane; the largest of the Killarney Lakes.
The scenic Tomies Wood walks take full advantage of this legendary story, as the trails weave their way through ancient woodland, crossing over and following along waterways that once flowed with the Chieftain’s whiskey.
An overview of the Tomies Wood walk
Park in the car park here on Google Maps. You’ll see the start of the trail once you’ve hopped out of the car.
Enter the trailhead and you’ll come to a split in the road soon enough – you can go right or left, but if you go right and tackle the trail anti-clockwise you’ll get some of the steep section of the walk out of the way.
Getting into the belly of the trail
If you take the right/anti-clockwise approach, you’ll soon be treated to breath-taking views out across the magnificent Lough Leane.
If you’re here on a clear day, you should be able to see Innisfallen Island and Ross Castle.
Keep on going, passing along bright gorse bushes, and you’ll eventually follow the path to the left through some lush forest.
O’Sullivan’s Cascade detour
Keep on tipping along the trail and you’ll come to a footbridge (the second one on this walk). It’s near here that you’ll need to take a little detour in to see O’Sullivan’s Cascade.
Now, a little warning here – there’s a few steps here that may not suit those with limited mobility. Be particularly careful after rain, when they can get slippy.
This is a worthy detour as the waterfall here is one of the most impressive in the county and much less known to tourists than nearby Torc Waterfall.
Returning to the start point
When you finish up at the waterfall, it’s time to make your way back to the Tomies Wood car park. It’s around a 40-minute walk from here, depending on pace.
Now, if this trail is too long for you, you can always take the 45-minute stroll from the car park to the waterfall (take the path to the left of the fork after leaving the car park).
Places to visit near Tomies Wood
One of the beauties of Tomies Wood is that it’s a short spin away from many of the best places to visit in Killarney.
Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from Tomies Wood (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).
1. The Gap of Dunloe (15-minute drive)
One of Ireland’s most breath-taking roads that winds its way between towering lough-side mountains, the Gap of Dunloe is worth walking or cycling along (or you can take one of the jaunting cars!).
2. Carrauntoohil (25-minute drive)
A well-known hiking destination, and the tallest mountain in Ireland at 3,407-feet, the Carrauntoohil hike is a tough but rewarding hike. Guided walks are available for inexperienced hikers.
3. The Ring of Kerry (start it from the woods)
With the wood walk under your belt, why not continue to explore the Ring of Kerry. just hit the N72 and aim for Killorglin – you’ll encounter beaches, forests and magnificent scenery along the way.
FAQs about Tomies Wood in Killarney
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘How long does it take?’ to ‘Is the walk hard?’.
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 Tomies Wood walk?
It depends on 1, pace and 2, whether you nip in to see O’Sullivan’s Cascade, but you’ll want to allow between 1.5 and 3.5 hours to complete it.
Is the Tomies Wood car park a nightmare?
It can be. This is a very popular spot for walks and the car park has been known to fill up quickly at weekends and on fine days.
Katherine is an food and travel writer with family-roots in Ireland. She enjoys hitting the road at every given opportunity, and can often be found with an atlas and notebook to hand planning the next big trip.