Slieve Bloom Mountains
The gentle rolling hills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains very near Ballyfin are among the most unspoilt and least explored areas in Ireland.
The area is made up of forests, blanket bog of a type unique to Ireland, interspersed with hidden valleys of great character, and interest to the nature lover. The natural colours of the landscape are remarkable in any season. Much of the higher reaches of the mountains have been designated as an Environmentally Protected Area for special preservation as an amenity for generations to come.
It is said that you can see half the counties in Ireland from the top of the Slieve Blooms. Alternatively wander around the foothills of the mountains, visiting the quaint villages, taking your time to stop along the way. These are places where people will take the time to talk to you, where tourists are not so common and where the locals will have a genuine interest in you.
"..the area is "rarely explored" by those on their first visit to Ireland and therefore is "wonderfully free of tour buses and souvenir stalls" Lonely Planet
The Slieve Bloom Mountains are a hill walker’s paradise. The mountains are not so high as to be dangerous, yet are not so low that they can still provide a challenge to every grade of walker. There is a wide choice of looped walks, long distance way-marked walks or simply take to the hills with a good guide who will tailor make the walk for you.
The quiet roads and forestry trails and the range of gentle and challenging slopes of the Slieve Blooms also make the mountains a cyclists paradise.
John Scully is a native of Tullamore and now lives in Clonaslee at the foot of the Slieve Blooms and has been leading walks for four decades. He is a qualified guide from mountaineering Ireland and regularly leads walks with the Slieve Bloom walking club. In addition he has studied and become an expert of the flora and fauna of the mountains. He has an extensive knowledge of the fascinating geography and history of the local area. John enjoys sharing with others his enthusiasm and knowledge about the human and natural history of the Slieve Bloom region and tailor makes wonderful walks for guests of Ballyfin.