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Western Way
through Sheskin Forest .

This is a mayor trail that will take you across some of the wildest and remotest forests in the west of Ireland.  While it is possible to walk it in 8 – 10 hours, it may be wise to consider an overnight stop – camping enroute.


At a Glance

Location:                                 North Mayo close to Bellacorrick

Trail Start Point:                    Grid Ref. G 080 369

Length:                                   25km

Metres Climb                         50

Trail Finishing Point: Ballymonnelly Bridge (Grid Ref F939 216)

Trail Way Marking:               Yellow

OS Discovery Series:                         Map No 23


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From Crossmolina take the N59 to Bellacorrick.  Take the road to Bangor and after 4km turn right at Ballymonnelly Bridge.  Follow the bog road to the forest entrance.


Trail Description:

Sheskin Forest stretches from near Ballycastle south to Bellacorrick.  This forest is a large area of conifer forest established on the boglands of north Mayo.  The rolling hills in the northern section to Altderg Lough and the bogland in the southern section give the area its greatest asset – the expansive sky, which is constantly changing – this is Irelands Big Sky Country. 

The large area of the forest has no habitation and, apart from some forest tracks and the

Western Way
, is not easy to cross.  This gives the forest a “wilderness” feel and offers real solitude to the visitor. The area has many small lakes and rivers draining north into Killala Bay and South into the Knockmoyle National Nature Reserve.

Those who travel across the forest on the

Western Way
will come across some interesting tress and features such as the monkey puzzle at Sheskin Lodge, a former hunting lodge, and many old walls of former homesteads that indicate the level of habitation of this area of north Mayo in previous times.


Walkers and hikers should ensure that they have the clothing and footwear for difficult terrain, be equipped with a map and compass and know how to use them and have snacks and drinks.  Traversing this forest to Ballymonnelly bridge (Grid Ref F 939 216) is approximately a 25km trek in remote country and should not be undertaken lightly.

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Sheskin Forest Trail