Elevation: 1,729 feet
Note: If you wanted to find the geographical heart of all Ireland, working your way towards the absolute center of the country, you would inevitably arrive at the beautiful medieval town of Kinnitty. After just a momentary glimpse of this landscape it truly seems as if the countryside itself has become aware of it’s central placement as the green-beating-heart of Ireland, producing a stellar Celtic scene absolutely worthy of this title. Kinnitty Mountain, along with the old forest that runs along it’s lower valley, sits just a half mile to the north-west of tranquil Kinnitty. Hikers can pick up the main trail into this gorgeous scene at one of the prettiest entry points in the world, behind Kinnitty Castle, built in the year 1209. The Castle remains fully functional, with fine dining, an accessible outer courtyard, and stables where horses are kept and trained on the mountain throughout the day. Headed towards the trail it feels as if you’ve walked into an epic fable, or a medieval saga. The trail begins just behind the stables beyond a small trickling stream. A stone-circle will appear on your right, just 20 yards away from the path. It is a picturesque scene, with a barn-house at the edge of the looming Wood. Unfortunately, the stone circle is not authentic, and was created by a previous owner of the estate some years ago, but it’s aesthetic effect is certainly complimentary. Continuing past the sign that reads ‘Kinnitty Forest’ just beyond the circle, the trail begins to climb. With the British incursion of Ireland beginning in the 12th century, the British Royals illustrious Navy and it’s ships, as well the occupying manors and hamlets abroad, which were built in support of the Crowns `expansion’, deforested Ireland almost entirely. The upside to to this is that the remaining trees that make up Kinnitty Forest are like the regal survivors of a once beautiful era, refusing to vanish. They loom over the trail protectively with a beautiful bright milky color that shines against the glades. Continuing above the tree line, the trail begins to circle the Mountain, just to the right. In the open air and Sun, Fairy Foxgloves and Clovers appear in bright clusters. If you look down, at an elevation of roughly 1600 feet, in the most landlocked trail in all of Ireland, you will discover Seashells mingled with the stones!. How these shells came to rest at the top of a mountain is just one of many wonderful discussions you might have while strolling through this fantastic Celtic scene. The loop continues for roughly 4.5 miles before returning to the Castle grounds. There are alternate trails that continue several miles to the north-east, into the Sleive Bloom Mountain Range, if you wish to continue the experience. Kinnitty Forest trail is truly the sacred heart of all Ireland, and in every possible way. It is a priceless glimpse into the way things once were, of a quieter more peaceful time that still lingers in the hills of this Celtic place. It is my hope that whoever reads this review, and takes it to heart, will one day experience it for themselves.