The Trail

The Great Southern Trail (GST) is a unique 85km (52 miles) stretch of countryside in West Limerick/North Kerry.

It is the route taken by the Limerick – Tralee/Fenit railway line, which opened in stages between 1867 and 1887. Most of the route closed between 1975 and 1978 but remains the property of CIÉ ( the National Transport Company). Much of the development as a recreational amenity has been undertaken by the GST Ltd. which is a voluntary group assisted by various Local and State agencies.

Today the GST is suitable for off road walking and cycling along 36km of the Co. Limerick section of the route between Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale. In Co.Kerry a short stretch has been developed near the Lartigue Museum in Listowel and work has commenced on the Tralee-Fenit section.

We’ve provided a short list of the routes for you, each one with detailed information (length, climb, time to complete)
See the routes...

Trailheads

There are over twenty access points to the GST from various public roads; these facilitate locals and those who wish to do loop walks/cycles. Apart from the entrance at Rathkeale Trailhead all others are to the north of the N21.

Rathkeale

The old station is now the Palatine Museum and is accessed from the R518 roundabout just south of the N21 and near the Catholic Church (large spire)

Ardagh

The entrance is at the railway bridge on the local road L7001 which links the N21 with the R523. Parking is at the Community Centre 200m from the railway bridge.

Newcastle West

There are two entrances one at Bishop Court (off Bishop St., town centre) and the other near Gaelscoil Ó Dóghair/ Recycling Centre on the R521.

Barnagh

This is the summit of the GST and parking is at the N21 westbound lay-by with three options for exploration:
  • main trail west towards Abbeyfeale;
  • main trail east towards Newcastle West/Rathkeale;
  • Barnagh railway tunnel 1km directly from the lay-by

  • Templeglantine

    Parking at Halla Inse Bán on the local road L21006 (directly opposite the Church) ;the trail is 1km north along this local road.

    Devon Road

    At Devon Road Cross turn north off the N21/R515 junction and travel along the L7059 where Tullig Wood is clearly visible to the right.

    Abbeyfeale

    In the town centre turn right from the N21 onto the R524 (Athea road) where the old Station is on the right after 1km (adjacent to the 'Railway Bar').