The Ilen River Loop is one of the Fastnet Trails starting at the Lisheen trailhead. The easy route follows small roads with extensive views northwest over Kilcoe Castle at the head of Roaringwater Bay, over the Mizen and beyond. To the southeast views reach across Ringarogy Island to Baltimore and up the Ilen river towards Skibbereen.
We walked the route with friends on a clear, crisp but chilly November day, perfect to be out in cosy fleeces and hats. Kilcoe Castle, lovingly restored by Jeremy Irons was glowing, the oxblood render catching the clear light and emphasising its commanding position in the bay. Across the Ilen we could see as far as the beacon in Baltimore and the Fastnet Rock with the ivy-clad tower of the Aughadown burial ground showing just beyond the route.
There are several standing stones in fields (not marked on the OS maps) and a quay where we met a man who had the history of the old boat moored there. It was built in Scotland in the 1960s, he had bought it and sailed it here but the man he had sold it to had not maintained it and it is now decaying.
Retracing the route on the panhandle section of the loop we arrived back at St Comghall Church in Lisheen where there is ample parking and an information board about the other routes from this trailhead.
About the route
An easy loop walk on small roads with very little traffic and extensive views.