Comeragh Mountains

comeragh

Today we will do a bit of hill walking as most of us have consumed those extra calories between the Christmas and New Year day 😉 Comeragh Mountains is a good place to start since you have already seen them from the top of beautiful Slievenamon. Here she is, my favorite mountain, as seen from the ascent to the Long Hill of the Comeraghs. First of all we will find the source of peculiar clouds that look so nice in the photographs, so let’s walk towards Slievenamon and have a closer look.

slievenamon

I always blamed Bulmers for the clouds – or Magners, as the product is called outside of Ireland. Famous Irish Cider brewery and the cloud maker, a timber company Medite, are situated in close proximity. Now the justice is restored thanks to the reader who pointed out my mistake.

bulmers

bulmers

Dramatic clouds enhance your photographs, but is this steam emission harmless? I don’t know.

comeragh

The Comeraghs are formed by twelve mountains and various hills. They are located between Clonmel, Ballymacarbry, Dungarvan and Rathgormack. The highest point is at 792m ( 2,598 ft). In the photograph below you see the foothills of the Comeraghs from Clonmel side of the mountains. The upper part of the hills is wrapped in a tick cloud.

comeragh

This picture was taken in March. The setting sun colored the tops of the bare trees and made them look like autumn foliage.

comeragh

You are standing on the top of Scrouthea Hill – Cnoc a Chomortais. To get there you walked from Clonmel town all the way up, catching your breath and feeling lightheaded. Well, you can also drive most of the way. If it is an August Bank Holiday, another thousand people are walking up the hill beside you, partaking in the annual tradition of The Holy Year Cross Walk. The Holy Year Cross was erected in 1950. The original timber cross was carried by fifteen strong men.

I hope you already recognised the mountain in background 🙂

comeragh

From here you will walk south.  The picture gives impression of a rather flat surface. In fact, the descent and the following ascent are quite steep. All the brown-colored area is infamous Comeragh bog.  It is wet all the year round.

comeragh

In summer, the bog turns purple with the blooming heather.

 

 

Before you continue uphill to the crest of the Long Hill, walk off the main path to visit the abandoned farmstead that used to be a home to the Ireland family.

comeraghs

The Ireland family farmstead is the most tranquil place I have ever visited.  You will spend at least an hour around the farmstead reflecting and meditating, taking photographs and enjoying the beauty and serenity. Only a hiking club party might disturb your peace, but this seldom happens. A lone hiker will more likely wait until you leave, and come down later.

comeragh

comeragh

comeragh

After walking through the bog you will appreciate the flat, firm and dry land and silky grass of this oasis.  How sad it is that the family had to desert their home and fields as they had given up the struggle to work the land.

By the way, the Ireland children had to climb the hill to attend the school in Clonmel.

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Leaving the oasis you continue uphill through the bog to the summit of the Long Hill ( just for a spectacular view), keep walking south until you reach Lachtnafrankee mountain, and then a steep ascent takes you to Glenary river valley.

Across the river, there are remains of Glenary village. This was a street with the houses on the riverside and the fields on the hillside.

Glenary

The village mostly consisted of clochans – clusters of houses with a shared entrance and farmyard.

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It is difficult to believe that the last inhabitant left the village in the 1960s. His house had thatched roof and red door. It only took a few decades for the Nature to consume the buildings so that some of them literally disappeared.

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glenary

Glenary with Long Hill and Laghtnafrankee mountain in background.

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gorse

The view from the hillside over the valley. Carey Castle I recently wrote about is in the woods behind the cottage.

comeragh

To return to the Cross you climb a steep and muddy track – you will need your Wellies for that. A herd of cattle walk in the deep mud twice a day, which doesn’t improve the surface of the track. This is the view from the top. The Cross is on your left, but it is not visible from here.

comeragh

These photographs are 8-10 years old. I have no time to return to the Glenary Valley, but I visit Carey Castle every year.

It was a long walk but we only covered a tiny part of the mountains.

map

 

I am taking a break, and hope you will be in a good form to continue hiking in the Comeraghs in two weeks from now. Meanwhile, I will repost some of my old stuff from 2014.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful January!

158 comments

    1. Oh Marje, I knew I was not alone 🙂 More walks will follow in a couple of weeks, but right now I am taking a break 🙂 Happy New Year to you and your family!

  1. I just want to live here. that’s it. I want to press my fingers through the film of the screen and pop the bubble and step through and LIVE IN YOUR PICTURES.

    You’re awesome, is my point. The epic sweep here…oh, my heart sighed. 🙂 xxxxxxxx

    1. Thank you so much, dear friend! There are so many places and worlds where we would prefer to live :)… Some of them are found in the books, some -on canvases. Three days ago one of such worlds lost its creator. My heart is broken. James C Christensen, a wonderful man and inspired artist, died. I barely recovered from the sad news about Cynthia Jobin, and now him. This year of Monkey took too many lives, it is devastating. Hope 2017 is different. xxxxxxxx

  2. Happy new year, Inese. Your photos are wonderful. In this post alone, I’m at a loss to choose a favourite! It occurs to me: you should make movies. You capture the kinds of scenes that helped make certain Merchant and Ivory movies — gorgeous.

    1. Thank you so much, Cynthia! In a couple of weeks I will resume my Comeragh series and share some newer photographs. These mountains are beautiful, and mostly accessible.

  3. These gorgeous photos make me nostalgic for a place I’ve never been–the ancestral home of my O’Neill and Sheehan grandparents. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful country with the rest of us. Keep up the great work!

  4. I feel so much healthier after that bracing walk Inese, thank you 🙂 Gorgeous images, I love the patchwork hill behind the town – it is just the image of the town I have in my head for a new story I’m writing!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the walk, Andrea. It is what we need after all those pies and desserts 🙂
      The town is Clonmel, and if you look it up in my Tags, you might find more pictures. I am not sure about snow though 🙂

  5. I continue to find it an exhilarating sight, all that open space and those views in Ireland. It makes me realise how built-up it has become in the SE of England in comparison. It’s a shame about some of those small villages though. It looks so pretty where that village had once been, but I’m guessing that it must have been such hard work to scrape a living from the land and to live in relative isolation.
    By the way, does that steam smell of cider? If it does, I’m sure it’s not harming anyone’s health or damaging the environment 😉
    Enjoy your break, Inese, and thank you for all your lovely posts throughout 2016 where you took your blogging friends on such wondrous walks.

  6. This was a delightful ramble. When I read your posts I often think of how very sad the Irish immigrants to America must have been to leave all that beauty behind.

  7. There’s something to be said when the land reclaims an abandoned house. I often feel as if no room is ever empty when nature has entered. Even a leaf on a floor moves in the wind.

    I thoroughly enjoyed walking with you for awhile and listening to your tales of the Ireland family and the steam clouds. There’s always something to be gleaned from your eloquence and photographs.

    Enjoy your time away. I’ll look forward to your 2014 posts!

    1. Thank you so much Rose! In Ireland, green stuff grows 365days a year 🙂 It is no problem for thorns and brambles to grow through the walls and make them crumble. I am surprised about the Ireland family house though. There is no greenery on the mountain slope, the walls just succumbed to the elements, or may be the house was purposely demolished. The only thing I know is that they abandoned the farm when the father of the family was hired for a job in Kilkenny in the 1960s. xx

  8. Those kids were good students, climbing that hill just to get math class or whatever at the end of it all. It’s not much of an incentive. Incidentally, thank you in particular for the picture of the cider brewery. I’d always wondered where clouds came from.

    1. Yes, and especially if they had nuns who hit them with a ruler. The hill is very steep and the school is another mile away from the hill foot. The Ireland family kids were exceptional students indeed.
      I had no idea about the origin of clouds until I reached the parking lot and started taking pictures. Couldn’t believe my eyes.

    1. Thank you! I too like that picture, the patches on the slopes. Snow is not something ordinary around here 🙂
      I used to live in Carrick on Suir, the Clancy Brothers are originally from Carrick, and there is an annual music festival held in their memory.

    1. A thick fog prevented me from going to the mountains today, as it was planned. Will wait for a better opportunity. I have three destinations in mind to complete my Comeragh series, six posts altogether. Glad you feel refreshed 🙂 My pounds are very stubborn, they don’t want to leave me.

  9. Beautiful peaceful photos, Inese. I fell in love with the rich green though all the land looks incredibly lush and vibrant. I can imagine the peace you describe around the old Ireland family home. Thanks for the lovely walk. ❤

    1. Thank you Diana! The Ireland family had a beautiful farm, but it was opened to all the elements, and the wind and rain washed away all the fertile soil. It was a battle against the Nature, and the Nature won. I bet their children were happy to move to Clonmel – it was too hard for them to walk up the steep hill on the way home from school. The Glenary village families spoke Irish, and their children went to school in a village nearby, but the Irelands spoke English.

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