The village of Durrow in Co. Laois is surrounded by an abundance of woodland walks. In fact, once upon a time Durrow was merely a clearing in the majestic oak forests which dominated the area. It’s former Irish name Darmhagh Ua nDuach – (the oak plain in the territory of Ui Duach) lends proof to this.
Nowadays, whilst the woodlands may not be as dominant as they once were, there is still a wealth of well developed and maintained walks and trails encompassing the village. Dunmore Wood, Cappponellan Wood, Knockatrina Wood, The Course Wood and Bishop’s Wood all lie in different directions, on Durrow’s outskirts. But the Leafy Loop Walk has linked them all together. This walk takes many different forms. From forestry paths, woodland tracks and hill paths to country lanes and picturesque river banks. The walker will ramble through mixed broadleaf and conifer woods that change beautifully and dramatically, through the cycle of seasons.
In late Spring one of the woodland’s greatest visual transformations occurs, with the arrival of swathes of bluebells, adding a rich complexity of colour and atmosphere, radiating from the forest floor.
In Knockatrina Wood, wild garlic vies in abundance for its place amongst the undergrowth and the wood is transformed into a sea of white and purple. However beautiful the woods appear, during a glorious blue sky day, the optimum time to capture the most stunning displays of colour, and an almost spiritual sense of other worldliness occurs as the evening sun sinks low in the sky, and streams of light and shadows paint the most captivating of scenes.
Taking either of the two entrances into Capponellan Wood, off the R639, you will, after a brief walk, arrive at a fork in the pathway.
Choose the right hand path and follow until you see a trail, through the wood, again to your right. follow this trail through the picturesque, almost other worldly woodlands, which are currently awash with swathes of bluebells.
“When we lose these woods, we lose our soul. Not simply as individuals, but as a people.”
Kevin Walker, These Moments Pass: Poems
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