Summary: A nice short hike in a pleasant forest, followed by some very nice views from the summit.
It was one of those "will it, won't it rain?" days. Lots of clouds, and I should probably have got out a little earlier for the sun breaks. But as it was, the rain started slowly coming down after I parked up my car. Then the rain got gradually heavier as I ascended. Well, in for a penny?
The hike is quite sheltered, I'd say roughly 80% of it is in forest. And the path is very pleasant and well maintained, making it a good choice for a rainy day or a pleasant alternative to a planned Connemara expedition.
I had underestimated this hike somewhat; I had the idea that the summit trig would have been clearly marked on the main walkers path through the forest. It isn't! You'll need to use your judgement on when to veer off the main path and follow a rough path through forest and brush to find your way firstly to Finbars castle in ruins, and then to the summit trig on Queen Maeve's grave. My GPS came in handy, but a little common sense should also do the trick when conditions are clearer. As mentioned by previous contributors, the views from the top are very pleasant indeed, even on this cloudy day. I'll be back here in better weather to enjoy views into Connemara as well as parts of Mayo. Archaelogically the site provides some nice points of interest, which are also detailed in previous contributions for Knockmaa so I'll not repeat. On the way down, my track goes up to the signposted "Hilltop View" which also gives a nice vantage point to look over the lovely green fields and quiet farmlands this side of Galway. The walk on the way down is truly enjoyable for those who like their trees, the hills populated with oaks, willows, elms and poplars.
Overall, I feel this walk has a quaint charm and a unique character often lacking in walks of a much higher altitude and length. If you're lucky to love close by, don't miss out on this lovely, and rather underrated in my option, walk.