For nature lovers, Portumna Forest Park is heaven! It’s on the northern shore of Lough Derg, with a great range of tree-lined and lakeside trails to choose from. Why not bring a picnic as an extra treat!
Cycling is the best way to see the forest – after all, it covers almost 600 hectares (1,500 acres), which would take a long time on foot! On a bike, you’ll see many more of the coniferous and broadleaf trees, both native and exotic. You can choose whichever trail suits you best: the Bonaveen Cycling and Walking Trail, the Forest Friendly Family Cycling Trail, or the Woodland Cycling and Walking Trail. If you prefer a relaxing walk, you could take the Rinmaher Walking Trail instead.
For the finest view of this gorgeous area, you can visit the viewing tower along the nature trail, from where you’ll get a spectacular bird’s eye view of the forest, lake and lakeshore.
The forest is rich in fauna: it’s home to sixteen species of wild mammals – the smallest is the pygmy shrew; the largest is the fallow deer. Red squirrels, stoats, badgers and foxes also scoot through the trees. If you keep your beady eyes peeled, you might spot an otter or an elusive pine marten.
Portumna Forest Park is also a haven for birdwatchers with 85 different breeds of bird. See magnificent mute swans gliding across the lake. The tiny goldcrest is a joy to behold. The lake and the shore are official sanctuaries – you can view wildfowl in the thousands from some of the observation points.
‘The Landing place of the Oak’
The name Portumna derives from the Irish ‘Port Omna’, meaning ‘the landing place of the oak’. You can see centuries-old knarred oaks, majestic beeches which dominate the skyline, giant evergreens from Western North America, colourful larches from Europe and Japan, blue Atlas cedar from Africa, maples from Canada and Europe, and many native tree species. The main conifer species are Scots pine, larch and Norway spruce.