Mysteries of Clonegam


This is one of the most peaceful views in the country. You are slowly driving uphill watching for pheasants and cars coming in the opposite direction, and when you finally reach the top of the hill you stop for a second to take in the view of the green fields dotted with ancient trees – a pastoral landscape rolling towards the Comeragh Mountains. Curraghmore Demesne, beautiful like a picture.


I parked my car at the Clonegam Church gate and used the stony steps to get on the other side of the wall. The whole herd of cows stopped grazing and stared at me. I crept along the wall and tried to blend with background. My target was too far away, and I didn’t want any cow companion to follow me. First I had to reach this group of trees encircled with stones.


If you enlarge this picture, you will see the object I was heading to in the distance.

I am getting closer.


Finally there. Good afternoon, Mother Brown!


No one really knows what Mother Brown is. She is not listed in the Archeology inventory, and majority think that she was made 300 years ago. Not me. I am sure that her presence right near the stone circle and the grove of beech trees, which make you think of druids, has a meaning. If you still believe that all of this – the Mother, the trees and the stones are a folly, you have never stood in the grove, and never looked in Mother Brown’s face.




Mother Brown looks down the valley at the Curraghmore House, the ancestral home of Lords Waterford. I will write about my visit to the house later in November.



I fight the temptation to touch Mother Brown. How can I be sure she won’t find it disrespectful. I also mumble my apologies when I am taking pictures of her. Wishing her well, I retire to the beech trees and step over the stone circle fighting my doubts that I might get it all wrong again. But suddenly I feel peace and know that I am not offending anyone by standing there. I pat the tree trunks and we have a small chat.


I take a few photographs from the grove.


There are many tree stumps at various stages of decay.



Some of them are quite recent.


I have a thing for beech trees. Not only are they majestic and beautiful, but they also feed an army of wild creatures. They are like an autonomic world, an entity that will function long after we are all gone.


In the picture below you see theΒ Clonegam church I have already written about.


As I was walking between this point and the church, many things happened.

First of all, I came across two sheep corpses of which I took pictures but won’t display them in this blog. I am afraid that the sheep died due to the complicated labor, and wild foxes and other predators finished the job. Sad.

Then I investigated the wall trying to figure out what was that sound that scared me on my visit last year. I didn’t find any answers on this side of the wall and decided to go to the graveyard again since it was still light. I have never forgotten that knocking sound. I know that at the steps of the church there is a footprint from goat, and it is haunted. Was that the sound of goat’s hooves clicking on the stone path?

To my surprise, the back gate was closed, and there was a small horse trailer standing at the front porch. I thought that was very strange. I kept walking towards the hole in the wall to climb over to my car when just behind my shoulder, someone said “huh” twice.

I jumped in the air and turned around. There was no one.

Slightly shaken, I walked faster, and then there was another ‘huh’. This time I realised it was coming from above. I lifted up my face in horror, and saw a group of goats looking down at me.



I was never so happy to see a goat…

The goats came running to the front gate where I stood. I think they were left in the graveyard to clear it of weeds, and thought I brought them some snacks to add to their boring diet. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any goat snacks with me.

As the front gate was closed, I tried to stick out my lens between the rails, but it didn’t work well and my pictures came out ‘framed’. Still, it was a fun photo session.




This one was a true sweetheart. He was standing and looking at me after all the other goats left. He pressed his forehead to the rails, and I was scratching his head and patting his back, and he loved it.


One of the Clonegam mysteries was solved.

inesemjphotographyΒ Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. I would love to visit this place, Inese. Mother Brown does seem to be linked with the stone circle and the ring of ancient beech trees and is to be held in high esteem. l loved your descriptions of her and your visit to that wonderful site. The beech is known as the Queen of the Forest, and the oak as the king. I can see why the beech is queen and not king, with her long smooth trunk and delicate foliage. Oaks are usually gnarled and rugged – definitely male. Lol
    The goats are adorable, and I’m glad you heard no knocking near the church on this occasion. I know you are susceptible to such things, but it must be scary when you are on your own.
    Lovely post, Inese, and somewhere else for me to add to our list of places to visit.

    1. Thank you so much, Millie! You should definitely visit Clonegam and Curraghmore on your next trip to Ireland.
      This Wednesday I was shooting an event on the other side of the hill, but it was freezing cold and I didn’t go to see the church as I previously planned. Yet, I got in trouble with a ghost again. All this area is definitely haunted. I will tell more about it later when I write about the Tannery and Mayfield House.

  2. Helloooooooooooooo! It’s been an age since I’ve been here. Way to face that fear…and the goat! I know such a moment would literally haunt me until I figured it out, too. And Mother Brown is fascinating. Her posture, her overlook…once more,the stuff of story. xxxxxxxxxxxx

  3. How wonderful. The countryside there is just beautiful.. I think that “huh” would have scared me too! Thank goodness for the goats. Another fab walk Inese! xx Have a great weekend xx

    1. Thank you so much :). I though somebody had been watching me all the way and finally made themselves known. These goats scared all air out of me, but man, how happy I was to see that it was just them πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, my heart just stopped beating for a second. I was walking under the crosses along the 2,5 m high wall. You can find more pictures of the place if you click on the link in the text. The place looks mysterious from the first moment you arrive πŸ™‚

  4. LOL… darned sneaky, mischievous goats! (But their faces are so lovely.)
    Inese, I love the mix of past, present, folklore, and mystical that you give us in your narratives. The photos are always breathtaking. These scenes calm my soul. Thank you for bringing us along on another adventure. Hugs!

    1. Thank you so much, Teagan! I am happy you like these walks. There are places where the myth and reality get so blended that it is easier to just enjoy the moment rather than try to comprehend it πŸ™‚ Hugs.

    1. Thank you so much, Marje! That goat was something else πŸ˜‰ Glad you find this walk entertaining. It is one of my favorite places to be, and a source of many of my adventures πŸ™‚

  5. I’m truly fascinated by your little trips and explorations. πŸ™‚ You come across the most interesting objects and curious animals. Beautiful captures as always.

  6. Your blogs always amaze me! Absolutely entertaining and the photos are great! I love the goat pictures and found it funny how all the cows looked at you as you tried to be inconspicuous. Of course the landscape is totally beautiful. Wish I was there.

    1. Thank you Syd! It is difficult to blend in when you have to cross a field of grass πŸ™‚ I don’t know what I would do if the cows ran behind me. There is a stone wall all around the pasture. I would probably have to cling to Mother Brown’s lap πŸ™‚

  7. Wonderful Ireland, I have never been so thank you for showing us some of the more gorgeous parts of it. I thought Mother Brown was quite amazing but loved the dear goats, especially the one who wanted some attention. ( I hated the ear tags though).

  8. The account read like a pilgrimage. It is tranquil, picturesque, pristine and surreal. The grove of trees standing guard on the downs, and the goats among the graves beckoning the lone visitor add up to the aura of mysterious Mother Brown. Are you sure those caprine beings you met were real?

    1. Thank you so much! No, I am not sure at all. The haunted goat footprint at the church steps is a serious source of concern. Everything in this place looks mysterious. I am going to be in the area in the end of December, so I will stop by again.

  9. Really a great post! The goats, however, are totally upstaging. What adorable creatures they are. Luv this part of the world, and TY, Inese for showing it!

      1. I love all animals! I told my hubby that I would love a pet goat if we weren’t in the city. He said goats were scary. Then I showed him pics of goats reacting to & with people. He fell in love! ❀

        1. They are not scary at all. Sweet and loving, like most of animals. Some old wild goats can have a diabolic look, but it is only a look. Just show them some love and see what happens. ❀

  10. What a magical experience Inese. Mother Brown watching over the field below. Goats grazing in a graveyard. Ancient beech grove. All of it sounds like a wonderful getaway. Thanks for taking us with you.

  11. What an interesting glade with Mother Brown sitting peacefully at its center watching over the valley. I enjoy the photos, Inese, as well as your reverence for the sacredness of the place. And thank goodness you were only hearing goats! They’re adorable.

    1. I feel like a magnet for all the local ghosts.
      The view is one of a kind. I will post more pictures some day. The mountains in background cast a blue shade way before the sunset, and the place looks darker in the pictures than it really is.

    1. Thank you! πŸ™‚ The shades of green are changing rapidly on this slope when the sun goes down behind the mountain.
      The Emerald Isle name is the first thing that comes to your mind when you land in the Dublin airport πŸ™‚

  12. Beautiful photographs and a tour once again. I think the photos of the goats framed looks amazing nevertheless. Mother brown could be a deity – a new deity albeit from Ireland’s past. Those goats making one think that there are ghost about. Up to their shenanigans again lol

    1. Thank you so much! πŸ™‚ I believe that Mother Brown is very old, erected by druids centuries ago. Her head had been broken off and later restored, but her features look ancient.
      These goats almost gave me a heart attack πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, she played a friendly joke on me, no doubt πŸ™‚
      There is a haunted goat footprint at the church entrance, which means that the goats I met could be just a phantom πŸ˜‰

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised! There is a stretch of road in New Zealand where they say never to pick up a hitch-hiker. If you do, and are happily driving along chatting, a glance at the feet and you will see goat’s hooves!

  13. Oh, I laughed so much when it came out it where goats!! πŸ˜‚ They’re truly sweet especially the one that let you pet him. The Mother Brown is extremely interesting! I love such things and stories! Such a lovely place!
    Wish you a beautiful weekend dear Inese! πŸ˜„ Much love! xxxxxxxx

    1. Thank you so much, Sarah! The goats scared me a lot πŸ™‚ I walked right under the crosses when it all happened, and almost got a heart attack. It is the second time I am scared out of my wits in Clonegam πŸ™‚ xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

      1. Then it might be better not to go there a third time! Please take good care of yourself, Inese! Better to visit places not known to be haunted πŸ˜‰ Lots of love! xxxxxxxxxxx

  14. Very interesting and exciting stories you had. You are so discipline not touching Mother Brown. I would have a strong urge to touch her as well. I am more afraid of knocking her head off and ruin everything.

    The story about you heard someone said ‘Huh’ is exciting and at the end is funny πŸ™‚ I could see myself going to say thank you to those goats πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, the goats scared me with their ‘huh’ but I was so glad that it wasn’t someone else πŸ™‚ I always get in trouble πŸ™‚
      Mother Brown’s head looks like it had been already knocked off centuries ago and put back on her shoulders again. I really wanted to be respectful, the same with the stone circle that looks very ancient. I could feel the centuries in the air.

  15. The goats were wanting their picture taken! Just the thing to see as i opened my reader–your lovely post. I felt I was right there, breathing the air and visiting Mother Brown.

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