galway.net logo Directory: Portumna Forest Park


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Address: Portumna
GPS (Lat,Lon): 53.084,-8.2423 ± 100m
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Portumna Forest Park is adjacent to Portumna on the northern shore of Lough Derg.

The name Portumna derives from the Irish Port Omna, meaning the landing place of the oak tree. Portumna Forest Park was acquired in 1948 and covers almost 600 hectares (1,500 acres). It was formerly owned by the Clanrickarde family.

Within the park there is an old abbey that dates back to the 15th century. The castle nearby on which considerable restoration work has been carried out dates back to the 17th century and was the seat of the Earl of Clanrickarde. An earlier castle was located on the lakeshore, east of the harbour, while yet another was constructed in the late 18th century where the main car park is now located.

Facilities: At Portumna Forest Park there are forest and lakeside walks, car park, toilet facilities and observation points. There is a viewing tower along the nature trail where one can get a bird's eye view of the forest, lake and lakeshore. Adjacent to the Park is a marina giving access to the Shannon waterway system.

Habitat: The park is easily accessible by water and road. The forest is mainly coniferous but also contains a wide variety of broadleaved trees, both native and exotic. In addition to woodlands there are wide open spaces, green fields, scrub, marsh, water and numerous off-shore islands. This inter mix of forest, open area, water and islands gives a wide choice of habitat to support a great variety of flora and fauna.

Tree Species: The main conifer species are Scots pine, larch and Norway spruce. There are knarred old oaks which have been here for centuries, majestic beeches which dominate the skyline, giant evergreens from Western North America, colourful larches from Europe and Japan, blue Atlas cedar from Africa, maples from Canada and Europe and practically all of the native tree species, including our two native conifers yew and juniper. The latter is widespread throughout the area, but only in the prostrate and shrub form.

Biodiversity: Fauna - Sixteen species of wild mammals reside within the Forest Park, of which the smallest is the pigmy shrew. The largest and most conspicuous is the fallow deer of which there is a large herd within the forest. Less conspicuous is the otter and probably the most elusive mammal of all is the pine marten (known locally as 'the cat'), a native tree-dweller which, until recently, was on the verge of extinction. The red squirrel, stoat, badger and fox may also be encountered. Bird life abounds in and around the Forest Park and 85 different types breed here, while many others pass through. The mute swan may be seen on the lake while the tiny goldcrest is a permanent resident of the forest. The lake and the shore are official sanctuaries and here wildfowl in the thousands can be viewed from some of the observation points within the forest.

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