Tain Way Carlingford
Ireland's Ancient East - The Táin Way overlooking Carlingford across to the Mourne Mountains

THE TÁIN WAY - County Louth's Premier Walking Route

Ireland's Ancient East Táin Way is the main walking route in County Louth attracting walkers from near and far. Walking along the trails of the epic Irish saga "Táin Bó Cúalinge" through the Cooley Mountains and along the shores of Carlinford Lough.

The Cooley Peninsula is a place steeped in the mythology and legends of Ireland's Ancient East and the setting for much of the epic tale known as "The Cattle Raid of Cooley", which tells of a battle between Queen Meabh of Connacht and the champion Cú Chulainn of the Red Branch Knights from the Kingdom of Ulster over the Brown Bull of Cooley.

Apart from the many legends that abound and echo throughout the Cooley Mountains in Ireland's Ancient East about Setanta (Cú Chualainn) and Foinn McCumhail, there are lots of pre-historic sites including mountain top cairns, passage graves, portal tombs, wedge and court tombs. There are early Christian monastic ruins and relics from the medieval era namely the well preserved walled town of Carlingford. Like all places off the beaten track, the Cooley Peninsula has become a popular place to escape to.

Táin Way overview:  

Táin Way Map Guide OSI 36 Louth

The Táin Way route is a 40km long circular trail that can be walked comfortably in two days. The Táin Way starts and finishes in one of three locations; the heritage town of Carlingford (which has a wide range of accommodation), Omeath on the shoreline of Carlingford Lough (which has hotel and self catering accommodation) and in Ravensdale at the Lumpers Pub (parking, overnight camping and shower facilities available to walkers).
From Carlingford the Táin Way itself provides wonderful views of the Mournes, before dipping to sea level at the town of Omeath. It then rises steeply on narrow roads and tracks through open country to a pass by Clermont in the midst of the mountains with more spectacular views of Carlingford Lough, the Cooley Mountains, Slieve Gullion and Camlough Mountain in South Armagh.
The Táin Way descends to Ravensdale through the beautiful Ravensdale Woods where there are forest trails and accommodation close by in Carrickdale (hotel). From Ravensdale the Táin Way takes the walker high onto another spur of the Cooleys at Ballymakellett, with good views back along the Irish Sea coast, before descending into a long valley. The Táin Way crosses the valley of Glenmore and climbs onto the southern ridge of Sliabh Foy on an ancient grassy track. From there it is downhill all the way back into Carlingford. 

Maps and Guidebooks: OSI Discovery Series Sheet 36 for County Louth and The Táin Way Map Guide (EastWest Mapping) are available in the Carlingford Tourist Office.

Description of the Táin Way beginning and ending in Carlingford, County Louth (irishtrails.ie).

Táin Way Section 1

Grade:  Moderate 

Walking Route Terrain: About 6.5 km road, 3.5 km forest track/path. Steep climb out of Carlingford; section on R173 a busy road so care required; remainder of road quiet but some very narrow with no space for walkers on verges

Standard of Marking: Good

Maps and Guidebooks: OSI Discovery Series Sheet 36. TheTáin Way Map Guide EastWest Mapping

Surrounding Landscape: The landscape along this section includes Slieve Foye forest and forest tracks. It also offers views across Carlingford Lough to Rostrevor, Kilbroney and Warrenpoint.

Heritage: Carlingford developed as a trading-cum-fishing port dating back to c.12th century. The Dominican Friary dates back to 1305. King John's Castle was commissioned by Hugh de Lacy in 1190. St Judes Shrine was developed from a site in Lille, France in 1903. The famous Cluain Carpet from the Cattle Raid of Cooley is located after approximately 9km along the route.

Parking:  At start: On street in Carlingford or in car park on main road At end: Limited space for cars at Tullaghomeath Bridge

Táin Way Carlingford Louth

Táin Way Section 1

Grade: Moderate

Walking Route Terrain: About 5 km road, 5 km forest track. Long steep climb after leaving Tullaghomeath Bridge; all road on ascent and mainly forest track on descent

Standard of Marking: Good

Maps and Guidebooks: OSI Discovery Series Sheet 36. TheTáin Way Map Guide EastWest Mapping

Surrounding Landscape: Landscape features include the River Colptha and flora and fauna such as bracken and cross leaved heather.

Heritage: Clermont Carn is a neolithic burial cairn. Ravensdale forest once belonged to the Earl of Clermont whose house was burned down during the emergence of the Irish Free State in the early 1920's.

Parking: At Start: Limited space for cars at Tullaghomeath Bridge. At End: Limited space for cars at Ravensdale Woods entrance 

Annaverna Mountain Ravensdale and Dundalk Bay.jpg

Táin Way Section 3

Grade: Moderate

Walking Route Terrain: About 4.5 km road, about 3.5 km forest road, about 2 km path/grass/open field/grassy track. Most of road through Ravensdale has footpath, the road up from Lumpers Pub very quiet; grass can be slippery descending when wet on steady descent

Maps and Guidebooks: OSI Discovery Series Sheet 36. TheTáin Way Map Guide EastWest Mapping

Directions to trailhead : The M1 is the motorway connecting the cities of Dublin and Belfast. Leave the M1 at Junction 18 – and join the R173 in the direction of Ballymascanlan and Carlingford. After 15km watch as the R173 turns (signposted Carlingford) – a further 3km takes you to the village. The Tourist Office is in the Old Railway Station beside the main car park on your left (opposite the harbour).

Please note Dogs are not permitted on farmland or Mountains.

Táin Way MAP for Section 1 - Carlingford to Two Mile River Car Park

Táin Way MAP for Section 2 -  Two Mile River Car Park to Greers Quay

Táin Way MAP for Section 3 - Clermont (Ravensdale Forest Entrance) to Currahill Bridge Forest Entrance

Táin Way MAP for Section 4 - Ballymakellett to Aghameen Crossroads

Táin Way MAP for Section 5 - Glenmore to Carlingford  

Táin Way from Ravensdale to Carlingford at Glenmore

Contact details for Cooley Peninsula Tourism

Address: Carlingford Tourist Office, Carlingford, Co. Louth
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: +353 (0) 42 9373033
Website: carlingfordandcooleypeninsula.ie 

Visit our Fáilte Ireland Approved Accommodation pages for accommodation in Carlingford, Omeath, Ballymascanlon, Carrickdale, Ravensdale and close by, there are lots of accommodation options to meet your requirements while walking the Táin Way.

Hotels in Carlingford, Ballymascanlon, Carrickdale and Omeath.

Guest Houses and Bed & Breakfasts in Carlingford and nearby.

Carlingford Self Catering Accommodation, Carlingford Hostel accommodation and Caravan & Camping Park close to Carlingford

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Irelands Ancient East Carlingford Cooley Peninsula

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