If the great outdoors is your thing, there are plenty of options for you around Killarney National Park. Just a stone’s throw from one of the busiest tourist routes in the Killarney area is a lovely trail that is perfect for a lively walk or an interesting trail run. The presence of some tyre tracks in the winter mud suggests a few mountain bikes have braved the ups and downs of the trails as well. Let’s take a dip in to the Blue Pool.
This is a trail that lives in the shadow of its more illustrious neighbours in the Muckross area of the Killarney National Park. The trail starts only a stone’s throw away from one entrance to the Park that leads into Muckross Abbey. It is also en route to the base of Mangerton Mountain and just off the main road towards Muckross House and Gardens. Here, minding its own business, are the Cloghareen and Blue Pool Nature Trails. These are two separate trails but the area is commonly known as ‘The Blue Pool’. You will pass the nearby art gallery of the same name just before you reach the trail.
The trail starts quite close to the Mucrkoss Park Hotel on the main N71 Killarney to Kenmare Road. Take the left turn immediately after the entrance to the hotel. Below is the MapMyFitness route I logged on a recent visit – you can see the start and finish points are quite close to the hotel.
In the busy summer months, you may need to park near the hotel and walk the few metres up the road to the start of the trail. At the start of the trail, there is some room for parking one or two cars. Be careful not to block the entrance. You may also be able to park on the side of the road at the entrance.
As you park, have a look across the road – there’s a good chance you’ll spot some of the native Red Deer grazing or relaxing on their very own grassy knoll.
It is almost impossible to get lost on any part of this trail, but if you are that way inclined, fear not. The route is very well sign posted and has helpful signs at regular intervals to assist those of a wandering nature.
Included also is a trail for the visually impaired which is generally maintained in good order any time I’ve visited.
As mentioned above, there are two separate trails here so take your pick. They are of similar length and the trails overlap at points so you can do a mix and match of both. For me, the Blue Pool has some more interesting aspects and is a bit more fun if you’re doing a run. For the Blue Pool trail, take a left over the stream crossings and head into the woods. The trail is undulating and can be muddy underfoot in the winter or after some heavy rainfall. So leave the dancing shoes at home. If you are running, you will need to use your brakes on some of the downhill sections!
The blue pool itself is just off the main trail so watch out for those helpful signs.
There a few different spots to rest at the edge of the pool – it’s a great spot for a picnic during the summer months.
There is a picnic bench near the entrance if you’re more of table and chairs type.
From here you have a few options – you can return to the main trail and continue around the loop. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can wander through the path in the trees to join up with the main path again. There are a few areas to stray off the main track here and there. In all cases, you are never more than a few minutes off the trail, so no need to send up a flare and call out the rescue teams just yet…
the start of the end
Before you know it, you’ll be arriving back to the starting point. For the doubters, those ever-present signposts will confirm it for you in writing. If you’re on a run, you may want to continue and do the other trail or even do another lap (or two). Or maybe you just want to nip down to the hotel for some refreshments, or get back on the road to visit some of the more well trodden paths in the neighbourhood. Either way, I think you will have enjoyed dipping your toe in to the trails of the Blue Pool.