Before Christmas, I want to squeeze in a blog about the most beautiful mountain in Co. Tipperary – Sliabh na mBan, or Slievenamon. In the ancient times, when the slopes of the mountain were covered with forest of hazel, beech, oak and alder, young giant warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill went out hunting deer. It is when he met Sadhbh, the daughter of the magician Dearg,  in a form of a white doe. Sadhbh was turned into a deer by a druid Fear Doirich – Dark Man – whom she refused to marry.

The forest is long gone, but the magic remains. Slievenamon has a troubled history, and who knows, may be the Dark Man is to blame.

When driving from Clonmel to Waterford and back, Slievenamon is always in your sight. Seasons change, but Slievenamon doesn’t.



The only change is an occasional layer of snow on the top.

There are a few cute little villages at the foot of Slievenamon. Kilcash is the one from where Slievenamon can be climbed. Another place to visit in Kilcash is Medieval church and graveyard, and the ruins of the Butler Castle behind it.

kilcash church

kilcash graveyard

Standing in the graveyard, I look at the path I am going to take to reach the summit.


For a fit local resident climbing Slievenamon is a piece of cake, and it takes less than 50 minutes ( elevation 2,365 ft, climb 1500 ft ). People walk there with their dogs.  I have been to the summit only once, when I was much younger. Since then I was only able to make it to the stone wall half way to the summit. The good news – you won’t get lost because there is a distinct track.





Waterford bridge is 40 km away, but I can clearly see it.

Closer to the summit, it is cold and misty.


The ‘false summit’ – rather flat, with a pile of rocks (cairn) in the middle ( I am standing on it). Some people pick up a rock at the foot of the mountain and take it to the cairn to add to the pile. I was barely able to take myself up there… The cairn marks an entrance to the underworld, they say. Who knows. A less distinct path takes me a few meters higher to the real summit. Unfortunately I have lost the photograph. There is a waist-high standing stone up there.


On the other side of the valley there are beautiful Comeragh Mountains. I will write about them in January.


Always nice to see  a friendly face. Walking down the mountain does not take that long.


And here is a famous Irish song Slievenamon for you to enjoy.

I share a link to the blog Walking in Sonoma County…mostly , and also to La Audacia de Aquiles mythology blog. Please visit and follow 🙂 I will be back with more historical facts and myths about this beautiful mountain.

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a wonderful weekend!


  1. What a wonderful walk you had, the views from the top are just stunning! Wish I could climb into a time machine and see how it must have looked covered with forest…😄

      1. You’re welcome! No, not really. Berlin is situated on a former swamp so it’s quite flat around here. But there’s a little hill we call “Kreuzberg”, maybe I should go up there soon and take a picture for you, leafless trees will make the view from up there easier 😄

  2. What a view! I find that picture of the path heading up the mountain so enticing, I want to walk up there right now 🙂 speaking of which, I’m heading to Galway for a family get-together in August and I’m planning to make a proper trip of it – expect to hear a whole lot more from me over the next few months!

    1. Thank you! I would be happy to go to Galway myself 🙂 If you have this marvelous opportunity, please visit Connemara. Later this winter I will do a post about Connemara. Have a glorious New Year! xx

      1. Please do! I just did a quick google and now I need to find a way of climbing into my computer screen…

  3. I really enjoyed learning about Slievenamon, Inese. Your photos and descriptions make it easy to see why this is a revered place. And the video/song was really great — a tribute to this beautiful mountain. It’s a great thing to have a mountain to love, thanks for sharing this one.

  4. I enjoyed hearing the story about Sadhbh. Irish mythology is fascinating, and I thank you for opening my eyes to the tales of your country. Slievenamon is beautiful, and the surrounding views and landmarks are rich in history. Thank you for the beautiful photos, history, and Gaelic music. I feel as if I’ve been to a mini vacation. Peace and ❤

    1. Thank you so much! I am so happy to hear you are charmed with our mythology 🙂 So am I 🙂 Slievenamon attracts me like a magnet, even though I am not in condition to take a decent hike anymore – I mean decent, without losing my dignity and camping every two minutes 😉 But that door to the underworld on the summit keeps me dreaming 🙂 ❤

  5. You live in such a beautiful area! I definitely have Ireland on my bucket list. Have a very Merry Christmas! I look forward to your future posts!

  6. Even without the swathe of ancient forest, Slievenamon is an imposing and mysterious feature on the landscape. I read a novel about Fionn mac Cumhaill many years ago, although his name was the English version, Finn McCool. The story of his the woman he loved being turned into a deer is very poignant. We saw quite a lot of this area when we came to Ireland, and it’s beautiful.
    Well done with climbing up the mountain as high as you did. The climb was worth it, if only to get those amazing photos of the wonderful green land.
    Lovely post, Inese. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Millie! I want to go there again, one more time, with no rush, with long breaks 🙂
      Fionn had a good few wives after he lost his beloved Sadhbh. There are many stories. I have to look up, was it her who gave him the son, Oisin, the poet, or was it some other woman. So many stories, and so little time.
      Thank you again!

  7. I love walks that take me up onto high ground with wonderful views, although there are no mountains where I live, just the South Downs, which should really be called the South Ups! It takes me slightly longer climbing them these days, although I have a long-legged son to keep up with, and I’m not one to be beaten easily.
    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas, Inese, and a New Year filled with peace and blessings.

  8. I love the 17 photographs, what an astounding selection of natural beauty with warmth in a fuzzy, furry sheep and coldness in the mountains with snow. I enjoyed the most, Inese the patchwork quilt of green shapes made by fields with walls. 🙂
    Hope to be back before Christmas but time at work is long, after work many little tasks left to do. . .
    Hope you have a wonderful and special family time over the holidays. I count our friendship as a blessing. Thank you for your gifts of beauty and light. ❤

      1. I am not sure if there will be peace within our fun, wild celebration but the gift of Light will fill our hearts. ❤
        This was such a lovely response, Inese. Thank you (returned)! Merry Christmas!

  9. How beautiful, Inese! The song sounds like your pictures look! You make me wonder where my Irish ancestors hailed from. All I know is that they came in the mid/late 1800’s. And… I adore your friendly faced sheep! 😀

  10. A distinct path? And quite wide at that. I will do this hill. Seriously? Lovely, lovely pictures and post. Oh and as aye, the wee bit on the dark side with the cemetery. All the reasons I love stopping by xxxxx

    1. The path is naturally made by all the feet that walked along it for centuries, but it also serves as a stream bed when it is raining. It is the only path, I have never seen anyone walking off it but sheep. I hope to go there again in spring, to take pictures of the minuscule alpine plants. xxxx

        1. The flowers on the mountain top are an inch tall, probably pollinated by ants. A little bit of heather here and there – that is all. And it is very cold on the summit. You have a beautiful scenery where you live. I hope to see more pictures from your hikes, just be very careful in the future 🙂 xxxxxx

  11. Excellent post, and t’s always a treat to hear a beautiful Irish ballad like “Slievenamon”….especially when sung by a lass with such a lovely voice. Because of the setting in Co. Tipperary, I was half-expecting a rendition of “It’s A Long WayTo Tipperary,” but I’m glad you chose “Slievenamon,” as I hadn’t heard it before.

    1. Thank you so much! I think I have already shared A Long Way – I often write about County Tipperary. Glad the Slievenamon song is new for you and you like it 🙂

    1. No, he didn’t shoot her, he married her, and she gave him a son, but the Dark Man found her and took her away, this time forever. Fionn has been married several times, and there is a story about each of his marriages 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Mike. You are always so very kind and generous with your comments. This mountain has quite a history both mythological and real. I will write another post, but first I have to walk to the top again, for more pictures 🙂

  12. I like the mythical story that goes with the place as this one. It makes you wonder about the place and how people came up with the story. The long waking path up the hill reminds me of the similar looking around Moher cliff. Love the picture of friendly face 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! 🙂 Yes, you are so right, the walk to the cliffs of Moher is quite steep. Now they have rebuilt the place, and made a couple of stairs of concrete steps for the easier access.
      Slievenamon is really steep. To get to the top I have to stop after every few steps to catch my breath. Too steep, and 721m elevation is quite high. Instead of one hour, I would make it two, with frequent breaks.

  13. Beautiful history and photos to go along with them. I love the yellow of that field and the first photo of the graveyard was my favorite. Have a thing for graveyards. I hope you are well Ines.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Joseph. I too have a thing for graveyards. My grandmother used to give me a tour through the local graveyard, with all the stories of life and death included. Fifty years later, I still visit these graves of complete strangers, and I am feeling like – oh, hi, you are still here, I wonder how are you doing, I have never forgotten you 🙂

      1. Yes I imagine the lives they had but was upset once seeing the grave of a 3 day old. That was sad but now with my philosophies I am able to feel the sadness and leave it at the graveyard

    1. Thank you so much! The mountain itself is bald, there is little to see most of the time. In early summer you can find some inch-high alpine plants here and there, but the views are breathtaking.

    1. Yes, the cross is very impressive, because of the size. Unfortunately the castle was undergoing repairs, and I was not able to take a picture. May be next spring 🙂 Thank you so much for your interest, Christy.

  14. The original names have almost a special power in them… Thank you Inese, I think in Slievenamon as a kind of mountain with ancient ghosts crossing it, ghosts of forests, words, spells and legends.

    1. Thank you so much! There are many legends related to the mountain. The name means ” mountain of woman” in Gaelic. I will write more some day, but first I have to climb it one more time 🙂

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