The Gearagh near Macroom is the remains of the only ancient post glacial alluvial forest in Western Europe. It was formed at the end of the last Ice Age and consists of a vast area of submerged islands that once supported a rich woodland flora.
It gets its name from “An Gaoire”, the wooden river. In 1987 the area was declared a statutory nature reserve. The islands, for the most part, are covered by the waters of the Lee Hydro-electrical scheme. However, during dry periods numerous rare species of plants can be encountered e.g. mud worth, which is only found in one other location outside the Gearagh. This area is also of interest to bird watchers with both summer and winter migrants – from October onwards migratory birds arrive in large flocks.
The Gearagh is a haven of peace and tranquillity and provides ideal opportunities for off road walking. There is a particularly popular Gearagh Loop which is approximately 6.5KM in length.