Welcome to Lee Valley-The Gearagh

Welcome to Lee Valley-The Gearagh

The Gearagh

The third part of our 'Welcome to Lee Valley' series is based in 'The Gearagh', which is a submerged glacial plain and nature reserve based in the Upper Lee Valley..



This wonderful area is the only ancient post glacial alluvial forest in Western Europe. 



The Gearagh gets it's name for 'An Gaoire' the wooden river.  Originally a dense Oak Forest which is thought to have existed since the end of the last Ice Age around 8,000 BC.  Now, it is much diminished due to the construction of two hydro-electric dams in 1954, which were built to provide electricity to the nearby Cork City.  The plain was flooded and many trees were felled transforming it into a proverbial wetland.  


 Nature and Wildlife Reserve

Despite the flooding, today 'The Gearagh' is home to a rare diversity of wildlife and some rare plant species.   More than 300 acres of alluvial islands covered in ancient woodlands and interconnecting streams that run in several directions make up this extraordinary area which in 1987 was declared a statutory nature reserve under the protection of the Wildlife Act.  It is also designated a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention and has the international protection as a EU Special Area of Conservation.  There is also much discussion around the possibility of it becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  


Exploring The Gearagh 

There is much to see and do in The Gearagh and it's surrounding areas.  In Spring and Summer it makes for a beautiful and tranquil walking trail.  The full circuit of the nature reserve is about 6km. 

It is the perfect place for birdwatchers and nature lovers.  The whooper swan, kingfisher and otter are all known to make an appearance.

It is also a haven for photographers and artists alike.  The beauty of the area has captured the eye of many.

After you're Gearagh adventure, the nearby market town of Macroom has many amenities and accommodation to enjoy.  You can also visit us here at Lee Valley Ireland, in the village of Inchigeela!     


gearagh map of lee valley

Map of The Lee Valley, Ireland (Arrow Shows Location of The Gearagh)


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