Knockmealdown mountains through the seasons II


On a cold winter morning, shortly before the sunrise, we are traveling from Newcastle across the eastern part of the Knockmealdowns. The images below show the change of the light as the sun makes its way up in the sky.











More sheep.

This road will take you to the Mount Melleray Abbey .   You see it in the distance with the Knocknafallia mountain (666.5 m) in background.

Mount Melleray

In my previous post, I wrote about the other way to cross the Knockmealdowns. What links these two roads? Both of them can lead you to the famous Cats Bar where you can get a nice lunch and spend a good time in the evening. Photographs taken over the years.

cats bar

cat's bar cat's bar

Also, both of them can eventually take you to Lismore, but that’s another story for another time.


Thank you for traveling across the Knockmealdown Mountains with me. If you are going to Ireland and travel from Tipperary to Waterford, try these two roads – R668 (R669) and ‘Unnamed’ road from Newcastle, Tipperary. Have a wonderful week!


  1. I was fascinated by the beauty of nature, untraveled areas where sheep nurse their lambs and the place to eat is the Cat’s Box. I would love to have a nice bowl of stew or hearty soup there. Thanks for showing us the sights, Inese. xo

          1. Yes, someday. . .
            I am taking a trip for first time in 40 years on an airplane to New Orleans then to see my college good friend, Patrice. She was my maid of honor in my wedding. 💐 She lives half year in Michigan and half year in Mississippi. (North to stay away from hurricanes and south so she’s not cold in winter.)
            I’ve been to lots of places by car, Florida, New England, etc. Just excited to be in the air 🛫 and will take photos of the French Quarters. 🎺🎷 I know you will understand and know I’m not bragging! 😊💕

  2. Lovely winter scenery, Inese, you captured the changing light perfectly. You also captured the attention of some inquisitive sheep – what delightful creatures they are. It seems Cat’s Bar’d the place to head. I’ve made a note of that one. Such a beautiful area, but I doubt we’ll get there at dawn 🙂

    1. Thank you Millie. I just can’t help taking photos of sheep 🙂 Two days ago I had a shoot in the Comeraghs and all these cute sheep literally lined the road and I just had to stop. I just cannot drive past a sheep 🙂

  3. What a delight, Inese. I get such a kick out of the sheep. I don’t know why they amuse me so, but they are adorable. Great catch of the mama and lamb. Thanks for taking us along for this drive. Hugs.

  4. Just….oooooooooooh, I had to keep poking my husband to say, “Look at this! Don’t you want to come here? Let’s go here!” “It looks cold.” “You like the cold!” I love the touch of snowy frost on the mountains. Just…wow!

    1. Thank you Janet! 🙂 The Cats bar is a minute drive from the grotto, after you leave the Melleray Abbey which I wish you visit too. Location alone will lift your spirits 🙂

    1. Thank you! 🙂 People always stop to take pictures of the lamb. Sometimes I see a car approaching from behind and think – oh they will get annoyed by me, I have to run. But they just stop and start taking pictures too 🙂

  5. I love those sheep faces! But if I even get over to Ireland – after driving in England – I am not driving on any roads in Ireland. With an Irish driver, maybe. ; )

    1. Sure I was talking to them 🙂 I always talk to animals and birds when I take pictures of them. It is why they look at me and stay still 🙂
      No, there were no cats 😦 But the interior is lovely old style, and the food is good.

  6. You’re making me wishful of not finding a car. I’ve yet to see any of Ireland except the airport. 🙂

  7. The framing and exposure of your images are flawless. It seems to come naturally to you. Some of those look like paintings. Now I am going to remember Knockmealdown Mountains for a long time. I was once an owner of a Leopard Kitten for a brief period of two days before it was assasinated by the neighbourhood dog. Guess I might be permitted to enter The Cat’s Bar if I were to pass by that road.

    1. Thank you so much! The morning colors are so different. We left before the sunset and it was one hour drive. The light was changing at every minute and every turn. The pictures are four years old. Last year I did an attempt to drive there again but the road was flooded.
      I love the bar a lot because we ate there when my daughter was visiting in 2012. It is very traditional and cozy there.

    1. Of course you do. So much more to see. I went to the Ring of Kerry the other day. Haven’t been there ages, but got inspired by your travels and went. Visited a donkey sanctuary on the way. It was a great day.

    1. Thank you Brian! The Cats is a great place, great location.
      I am already thinking on how to make the post scary. Should I go and take a dive? Don’t know 😉

  8. Beautiful images as usual! I love the sheep shots – do not see many around here. They look like such calm animals and very interested in what you are doing. I really liked the one where they are all just standing there looking at you. What a great place to take images!

    1. Thank you! Indeed, the sheep are standing and looking at you for a while, and then all of a sudden they run away like possessed. Takes them some time to make a decision 😉

  9. Although I am not planning a trip to Ireland in the near future, I so very much enjoyed this visit to the Knockmealdown Mountains, Inese. Your photos of the endless mountain vistas and changing light, the sheep, the Abbey, the town and the Cats Bar were a real treat. I found the fourth photo especially attractive, with the three short-legged sheep in a profile beside the bare tree.

    1. Thank you Jet. That was a very interesting place, with all those stone walls and crooked trees, and of course, sheep. The short grass was covered with frost, and everything looked surreal in the dim morning light.My friend and I took a load of pictures there.

  10. When one considers how narrow Ireland’s roads are to begin with, a narrow mountain road would be little more than a path! It was quite a shock to go from expansive North American freeways to hugging the hedges on the (wrong/right) side of the road in Ireland. The scenery however was worth it, for sure, for sure.

    1. Thank you for joining the ride. There is no left or right side – you just drive in the middle, and if (God forbid) someone is heading your way, you have to pull over onto a passing space, if any, or just onto the grass to let each other pass.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I am happy to post about Tipperary for you any time 🙂 Right now I am planning a drive across the Knockmealdowns by a narrow mountain road. Will see how this goes 🙂

  11. My cat Sylvester and I approve of the Cats Bar! LOL!! I don’t drink but I do love the Puss in Boots figure in front. Every time I hear the word Newcastle I always think of the nursery rhyme Carrying Coals to Newcastle.

    1. Sorry Cindy, I checked the picture. Yes, this is a real palm, but they are not common and found mostly around the castles and special gardens, while the Cabbage palm is a regular front yard tree.

  12. I appreciated the drive! What a beautiful part of the world you live in. I’d love to revisit Ireland and travel down the R668 and R669 and definitely stop at Cats for a pint 🙂

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