The walk through Union Wood is approximately 5 kilometers in one direction and joins Ballisodare and Collooney via union Wood. It is a beautiful Woodland walk some of the walk brings you to a tranquil meandering section of the Ballisodare River. You can see all types of wildlife in the wood including deer and red squirrel.
The current route was funded by the Redz scheme. There are extensive paths through union wood and there is a beautiful boardwalk taking you to the top of union rock which is well worth a visit. Along the route a local family have generously created a book lending library and a haunted house which is worth a visit.
The walk from Ballisodare going to the Abbey passes St Fechin’s graveyard with a church in it. The walk is about 2 kilometers and you can get to the shore of Ballisodare Bay
Union Wood Video
St. Fechin’s Graveyard and Church
The graveyard has 198 surveyed graves, and numerous other graces marked by stones. In it the oldest dates from 1704 and the newest from the 1990s. There are some really interesting headstones there and it is worth a little visit.
Founded by St Fechin, in the 6th or 7th century and rebuilt in 1100s, St Fechin’s church in the graveyard is of great historic and archaeological interest. Over the entrance door you can see the heads of the 12 apostles although they are weathered nowadays. The graveyard and church were cleaned up in the mid 90s by local people and again in the last few years by local volunteers who completed a full survey of all the graves which you can find online. The graveyard is maintained by local volunteers who strim the graves and keep unwanted growth under control. They are always looking for volunteers.
The Augustinian Abbey dates from the 13th century and is now in the quarry although in the last 30 years it has been virtually destroyed by quarry activity and lack of attention.
At this site and around it there was a silver mine, mined by the monks and then later, in the late 1700’s a lead and zinc mine that only closed in the 1961. At one time it was one of the most productive lead and zinc mines in Europe.