Dunmore Wood, just outside the village of Durrow in Co. Laois, is part of the beautiful Leafy Loop trail. The Loop in it's entirety is 23 km long, and Dunmore Wood is just one, of the many gems along the route. It is a stand alone section of woodland, so can be accessed easily and enjoyed, without having to trek any other part of the trail

Pathway to the riverside walk.
The carpark at Dunmore Wood.

I took the trail, from the carpark that leads to the riverbank walk, which was swathed in morning sunshine. The array of vivid and vibrant colours on display was simply stunning. Countless shades of green, copper, yellow, and gold, beneath an almost cloudless deep blue sky.

The riverside walkway.
Along the riverbank.
Autumnal colours.

The beautiful colours were mirrored in the calm moving waters of the river Nore. As I walked along the riverbank, there was a continuous snowfall of leaves, falling from the canopy above. Surprisingly, the sound of the falling leaves, was quite audible, as they fell through branches and foliage.

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

- George Eliot

The riverside walk is roughly one mile long, and then the trail sweeps sharply to the left, bringing the walker along the route, parallel to the river. Having turned the corner, it was as if you had entered a different day. This section of the walk was largely shaded from the early morning sun, and the overnight frost had not thawed. It was darker and colder, but none the less transfixing. The vibrance of the sunlit colours of the riverbank were only evident, where shafts of sunlight had managed to penetrate.

The River Nore.
Reflective colours.

The riverside walk is roughly one mile long, and then the trail sweeps sharply to the left, bringing the walker along the route, parallel to the river. Having turned the corner, it was as if you had entered a different day. This section of the walk was largely shaded from the early morning sun, and the overnight frost had not thawed. It was darker and colder, but none the less transfixing. The vibrance of the sunlit colours of the riverbank were only evident, where shafts of sunlight had managed to penetrate.

Frost on the shaded side of the wood.

Frost is the greatest artist in our clime - he paints in nature and describes in rime.

— Thomas Hood
Frosty morning @ Dunmore Wood

It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it. John Burroughs

— John Burroughs
Frost and sun.
Sunlit rime.

The tints of autumn...a mighty flower garden blossoming under the spell of the enchanter, frost.

— John Greenleaf Whittier
The thaw approaches.
Rime covered foliage.
Along the pathway.
The forest's colours emerge in the sunlight.

Autumn is a wonderful time to do this walk. The track was exceedingly well maintained, as the grass and hedgerows were thoughtfully trimmed back, and signposting was exceptional.The route is long, varied and interesting. It is flat, except for a short steep climb at 18km, but the view makes it all worthwhile. All the descents are gradual. But the exceptional feature of this walk is there is so little road walking for such a long walk. Mother Nature put on a great show. A must for any Walking Group.

— Review from Irish Trails
Early morning sun.
Autumn colours.

The Leafy Loop around Durrow is a good 5.5 to 6.5 hours of a 13.2 mile or 22 km walk. it climbs to 100m at The Ballagh and will require good health and good boots. The good news is that it is worth it - it's a glorious walk through forests, by rivers, up hills to oversee the valley and down into the charming village of Durrow itself.

— EveryTrail.ie
Sunlight rime and colours.
Light and colour - frost and shade.

The highly rated Durrow Loops will take you along quiet country lanes, river bank, forestry paths, woodland tracks and hill paths. As you encircle the village of Durrow you will pass through mixed broadleaf and conifer woods, across farmland and along rivers, passing the ruins of Dunmore House. The walks offer great views of the Laois countryside and the diverse habitats will showcase a wealth of flora and fauna along the way.

— Laois Tourism
The rising sun.
Dunmore Wood, Durrow.

In Rambles in Eirinn, his popular 1902 account of traversing Ireland, William Bulfin described Durrow as “a gem in the basin of the Nore”. An attractive 17th century village, drawing sustenance from rich agricultural hinterlands, Durrow has recovered much of this former charm since gridlock traffic was redirected to the M8. A visit is again an appealing prospect, and this has drawn me to complete one of two expansive looped walks that combine to describe a perfect 360-degree circuit of this Georgian-era settlement.

— The Irish Times
Illumination begins.
Autumnal colours.

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