Dodder Valley 031222

Facilities


This parkrun located in the south west suburbs of Dublin is accessible by city buses which operate regularly in the area. Bus would be the advised method of transport because although there is a car park at the park it is small and fills up quickly. The park is also right next to local houses so very easy for local residents to get to. The website states that there are toilets available though I didn’t find them myself.

Course


The course is entirely paved. However due to those infamous wet leaves that you hear about on rail lines, the path can be slippy at this time of year, so watch your step. The course is two laps with a short out and back at the start to form a lollipop shape. The course is not flat but the hills are not that onerous, though I believe that the route I completed was a temporary route while a playground in the park is renovated. The park itself is nice, with a lot of features to encourage local nature, an interesting bridge and nice views of the Dublin mountains.

Coffee


The park is a little distant from a local high street, but there are options at Tallaght.

X Factor


I like the focus on nature in the park and the attempts to preserve habitats. The river alongside the park is also a nice feature.

Fethard Town 121122

Facilities


This location has ample parking for those choosing to drive. Fethard Town is serviced by a bus but please check timetables to ensure arrival before the start. There are no toilets available at this run.

Course


This run is made up of three laps around the playing fields and adjacent agricultural field. The surface is a mixture of paving and light gravel. It is mostly flat and although there are some 90 degree turns the path is wide, so this may be a good location to attempt a PB. The location is remote, being on the outskirts of the town which makes for a peaceful run.

Coffee


The town has some nice looking cafes. Unfortunately I didn’t get to sample them all, but was happy with my choice.

X Factor


There is a lot of history in Fethard, it being a medieval town. On the way to the park you go through an old city gate which, amazingly, still has the marks of the wickerwork used to build the arch on the plaster 500 years or so after it was built.

Limepark Playing Fields 221022

Facilities

This is a rural parkrun and is served by a local bus but the most advisable mode of transport would be a car and there is ample car parking space at the venue. The venue is the site of two pitches and there are temporary toilets which I believe are accessible to parkrunners.

Course

This run takes place over a small geographical area and the route involves several switchbacks and different loops to make the most of the space. Because of this it may not be the best place to attempt a PB despite the relative flatness of the course. The surface is mostly grass, great for sore knees, and the remainder is coarse gravel. The route is relatively complicated but is well sign posted and marshals are on hand to guide you in the right direction.

Coffee

Coffee is had at a cafe in the nearby village where a decent breakfast can also be found.

X Factor

As always I like to see local organisations sharing facilities for the good of the public and this community support is on display here. Also, for fans of Game of Thrones, the Dark Hedges are very close to this venue so a small detour can be made to go and see those.

Illaunmanagh 300722

Facilities

This parkrun is accessible from Ennis and Limerick with a frequent service on the 343 bus. This form of transport is advisable to help cut down on emissions. Cycling is also a great option. For those who have to drive, there is a good sized car park near the start line. This car park is at the rugby club, where there are changing facilities and toilets.

Course

This run is made up of what I call a lollipop course: an out an back with a loop at the end. The route is a mixture of light gravel and paving and is fairly flat. The run goes along by the Shannon Estuary so there are nice views to be had along the route. It is also very quiet, which is always pleasant and is surprising given this run is close to the town.

Coffee

Coffee and breakfast can be had at the cafe at the local GAA club, a short walk from the car park at the rugby club.

X Factor

This parkrun makes use of facilities which already exist at the local rugby club and it is great to see this cooperation between clubs. Shannon has an interesting history and architecture being a recently planned town, very much a product of the 20th century and the dominance of the automobile.

Derrynoid 200822

Facilities

This parkrun is located in rural County Tyrone and so is not accessible by public transport. There is also limited parking so it would be advisable to arrive early to get a space. Note that car parked around the old college building must depart by 10:45. Cycling is always an option for those that live close by. There are no toilet or changing facilities at this parkrun.

Course

This run is made up of three laps of a simple loop course. It goes anti-clockwise, so just keep turning left. The surface is almost entirely light gravel. There is a reasonable incline towards the end of the lap, and since you have to do it three times there is a good bit of climbing altogether on this run. Climbing the hill is energy sapping so pace yourself going up there. The run takes place in a mature forest and it is lovely to run there. I am a big fan of forest runs. The trees are cooling in the Summer and provide shelter in the Winter.

Coffee

Being a rural parkrun there is no cafe nearby, but the local village has some cafes where breakfast and coffee can be had.

X Factor

As I said above, I am a big fan of forest runs, and this is a great example. It is really nice to run here. While running here I was also struck by the amount of parkruns in Ulster. There are many locations there and still new ones appearing. I would love to see a map of density of parkruns by population. I’m sure the figures for Ulster would be very high, again testament to the popularity of parkrun.

Tramore Valley 160722

Facilities


This parkrun on the south side of Cork city is accessible by public transport from the city centre and although there is a sizeable car park at the park public transport is always advised. That or cycling which is always a great option. There are toilets on site but no changing facilities.

Course


The course is made up if one loop around the perimeter of the park done twice. It is a broad open path so plenty of room for other park users, and it is almost entirely paved. The park doesn’t have any gardens but at the top of the hill in the middle of the park there is a good view over the city. There is also a fairly unusual feature at the amenity centre in the park. A teddy bear walk, which essentially consists of many old teddy bears hanging on the fence and watching you as you walk/run by. A sweet or a scary concept depending on your point of view

Coffee


I unfortunately didn’t have time to check the coffee scene after this run but I believe the park connects to Douglas village where there are many caf├ęs to be found.

X Factor


This parkrun has an interesting history, having been set up very early in the life of parkrun in Ireland it was quickly cancelled due to traffic problems I understand. Six long years later after much negotiations with the local council and the event is back up and running again. This shows the great tenacity of the organisers and parkrun enthusiasts thank them for bringing back the event which is also a great facility for the local people who don’t have a lot of alternative parkruns nearby.

Achill Greenway 220122

Facilities

This parkrun is located in the rural west of Ireland, meaning public transport is not really an option for getting here. One alternative for the more energetic, however, is to travel to Westport, well connected by trains and buses, on a Friday and then cycle to Achill on Saturday morning. It’s a long cycle but the cycling infrastructure is pretty good with a dedicated ‘Greenway’ route. Street parking is available close to the start line for those choosing to drive. There are no public toilets but the local GAA clubhouse may be open for parkrunners.

Course

This is an out and back course on the Greenway. Given the Greenway’s history as a rail line I was expecting a pancake flat course, but interestingly there is a slight hump in the middle of the course. The incline is very gradual but is definitely there. The surface is mostly paved or light gravel and makes for easy running. I was here on a dry and calm day which made for pleasant conditions. I’d recommend checking the forecast before attending; I imagine it would be a much different experience on a wild day. The scenery on the route is beautiful and is a great distraction.

Coffee

There are a few coffee options in the local village, with a cafe and some shops.

X Factor

When thinking about what makes this parkrun special it is hard not to think immediately of the location and scenery. The history of the Greenway is of interest, and if one walks from the start of the parkrun towards the village the remains of the old railway terminus and rail yard can be seen. It’s enjoyable to imagine an old steam engine roll into place at the platform when soaking in the views of the bay and mountains.

Pobalscoil na Trionoide 251221

Facilities

This parkrun has plenty of parking spaces for those who choose to drive to this run on the outskirts of Youghal town. Public transport will get you to Youghal, but as the run is located on the outskirts of the town there will be a walk of roughly 1.5 miles to the run, which can be a useful way to warm up. There are toilets at the run, but no changing facilities.

Course

This run is made up of a four lap course in a lollipop shape, with an out and back section to the loop. There is sizeable ascent from the far end of the loop back to the start of the lap, which as always doesn’t look that bad until you actually have to run up there four times. The course is entirely paved, but with a large step at the end of the paving in places be careful when overtaking or cornering.

Coffee

I attended this run on a special event day, so I’m not sure what the normal coffee situation is. I believe that there is a cafe on site.

X Factor

The most memorable part of this run for me was the fact that it was on Christmas Day. The benefits of running extend over the physical and mental realms and parkrun facilitates access to those benefits for people of all ages and abilities. The fact that there was a run on this day is testament to the good that parkrun brings to people’s lives.

Garvagh Forest 111221

Facilities

Car is probably the best option for getting to this parkrun, as no public transport services get into the village of Garvagh in time for the run. For parking, there is a small car park at the forest but if that fills up there is parking available at the nearby St. Paul’s church or Jim Watts sports centre. The parkrun is easily accessible for anyone living in Garvagh, being close to the village centre. There are no toilets or changing facilities at this parkrun, but there is a public toilet in the village.

Course

This course couldn’t be easier to follow, made up of two outer loops around the forest followed by a smaller inner loop. There are signposts showing where to go anywhere the forest paths overlap. There is a decent ascent on this run, which I didn’t realise until I was at the far end of the lap where there is a fairly steep downhill section. Climbing is very gradual. The surface is all forest trails, mostly consisting of light gravel. The course goes through the forest so the course is surrounded by trees at all times, which I always like. The trees provide shelter from the wind and rain in the winter and the sunshine in the summer.

Coffee

The village of Garvagh has two cafes where parkrunners can go to get breakfast or coffee. While there, if you have a sweet tooth, try out a fifteen, a cake local to Ulster.

X Factor

As always, I am fascinated by the local stories that you come across on parkrun tourist adventures. There is a pyramid near the entrance of Garvagh forest which was built by the first Lord Garvagh, George Canning, after a grand tour of Egypt. He had intended to be buried there but later had a change of heart and ordered the entrance of the pyramid closed. It is unused to this day, but remains a striking feature, a hidden gem in the middle of a rural forest.

Crawfordsburn Country 041221

Facilities

For those driving to this parkrun there is ample car parking space in this rural park. Public transport is an option, with the Belfast to Bangor train line running through the park. Allow some time for walking from the station to the start, however. Toilets are available at the visitor centre next to the run start but there are no changing facilities

Course

This is a really fun course. It starts off in the open park on paved paths and goes along by the shoreline until coming back inland and through the woods of the park on trail paths. The variety certainly keeps you guessing and there isn’t a lot of time to zone out, with lots of twists and turns you will have to stay alert. There are many paths that cross over and lay close to each other in the park. If you are unsure of the route, run next to a local. This is a hilly course, with some fairly punishing climbs; make sure to reserve sone energy for these. With views of the sea, mature woods and streams this is a very pretty park.

Coffee

Post run coffee is had in the visitor centre where there are many breakfast and sweet options.

X Factor

This parkrun had to be appreciated for the beauty of the location which is sublime. There are also great amenities close by. If you have time I would suggest walking/running the coastal route from the park to Bangor. Some great views to be had and witness the power of nature with the waves crashing against the shore.