Island Wood


2½ km south of Newmarket on a tertiary road.

Site Description

Island  wood or Coill an Oileann is named after a townland of the same name. This name may have its origins in the fact that the townland of Island lies between the river Dalua and one of its tributaries the Rampart stream.

Island wood was once part of the Manor of Newmarket which was owned by Sir Richard Aldworth. Sir Richard's grand nephew inherited the manor and married Elizabeth St Leger of Doneraile who was the only Freemason woman. Across the Dalua river from Island wood is Castlemcauliffe, home of the Mc Auliffes, Chieftains of Clanawley who owned all of the north western corner of Co Cork from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century.

On arrival at the Island wood the visitor has the choice of taking the riverside walk by the footbridge or going right into the larger parking area and picnic site by the river. The river walk brings you along the bank of the Dalua passing magnificent oaks and some young Norway spruce interspersed with birch and sallies. It then  enters a stand of mature Norway spruce with an understorey of ash, birch and alder which provides the perfect haven for wildlife. On passing a barrier and rounding a bend on the river you then enter a picnic site and car park. From here you can return by the forest road to the first car park, a round trip of 2 Km's or you could be more adventurous and continue right up to Shrelane wood. On the way up you walk through young oak and ash saplings and then alongside a mature stand of beech on a steep slope to the river. Stop at the first road junction and take in the river and valley below with its oak woodland and lush green fields in the background. It was here that O'Sullivan Bere and his followers rested on the second night of their epic march to Leitrim in 1602.Further up the road is a "dry" bridge. This underpass was constructed to provide access for farm animals and machinery to the fields and the "Inches" by the river. This walk connects with the second car park and continues right up to Shrelane wood. Here is to be found Maolin's cave. Maolin is reputed to be a daughter of the Mc Auliffe's of Clanawley and was the goddess of fertility. Feile Luanasa was celebrated every year near Maolin's cave in times past.
This upper part of the wood is mainly mature broadleaf and conifer woodland, a perfect haven for bird, animal and plant life.

As well as 4 ½ Km's of forest road there is a further 3 km's of forest track to whet the appetite of the keen walker.

Island Wood Features

Car Parking, Picnic Site, Walking Trails,

How do I get there?

From Newmarket town take a narrow tertiary road past the Roman Catholic Church, travel up and over a hill to the second road junction to your right. Take this road on your right and continue a further ½ Km to a small car park. You may park here or you could take a further right into the wood and continue on a forest road for 0.8 Km to a larger car park and picnic site.

Get directions to this site


No of car spaces:20
map legend

Contact Info

Contact name:Pat Mungovan