Crotty’s Lake II

After a short break we continue our ascend to the lake. A beautiful view of the scenic valley between the cloud-clad Slievenamon and the Comeragh Mountains will follow you all the way up acquiring a map-like look as you climb higher.

In the picture below, you see the south end of the valley, a glimpse of Croughaun Hill on the right, and the Portlaw windmills in the skyline. What a view!

The bump on the top of this steep hill is The Ass’s Tail.  The Ass’s Ears (and the lake) are located right behind. Instead of struggling our way up, we will wisely follow the waymarks round the hill choosing the dry grass patches between the rocks and the sheep tracks to guide us through the heather.

There are three kinds of heather in the Comeraghs, of which only one is a real heather – Ling or Calluna vulgaris. The other two are Erica – Cross-leaved heath, and the Bell heather in the picture below. Erica have plump magenta-colored flowers.

I have read that heather can live for 30 years.

The Irish weather is not always dry and sunny. Be careful around the tiny streams emerging after the rain. The incline gets steeper here – slow down, stop and take a picture 😉

Nearly there! The last stretch is my favorite.

First you see a pair of pinnacles. That’s right, they are The Ass’s Ears.

Then the lake itself appears, and it is like magic, especially when you see a redhead fairy taking a selfie.

We walk along the lake, taking in the majestic beauty of the rugged cliffs.

We will hike closer to the pinnacles to see the Crotty’s Rock.

First we take a short hike up the steep slope on the right side of the lake to get some views.

When taking this picture, I was the only human being as far as I could see in any direction.

We continue walking along the slope, sometimes with nothing more but narrow sheep tracks to help us through the thick heather.

Sometimes we need to switchback or walk around the rocks.

That’s high! 😊

Higher 😊

Now you can see The Crotty’s Rock on the top of the pinnacle.

Another hike, this time to the left side of the lake. From here we can see the Crotty’s cave. To get there, he had to swim and use a rope to lower himself under the ground level.

The slope is very steep here, and the sheep tracks are narrow and boggy. Do the sheep ever fall off the rocks? Yes, they do.

I found some parts of the sheep skeleton – mandible and a part of the cranium.

More views.

I hope this part of the Comeragh mountains won’t change. People don’t want to drive to this lake. They want to hike there. Those who come to Ireland are not looking for luxuries. They see value in unspoiled natural scenery, a special kind of adventure. My opponents always mention the Mahon Falls, Co Waterford, as an example of successful tourist destination, but it is different, it is a former turf cutting site. Comeragh mountain lakes are precious gems, and any attempt to make them ‘touristy’ takes their value away.

Thank you for being such great walking buddies. Next time we will visit another beautiful lake.

  Have a wonderful week!


  1. Absolutely stunning Inese!
    You’ve gone far and wide and high for all of these pics.
    I too, hope this will never be an easy to get to tourist attraction. It WILL be spoiled then.
    I think I saw another fairy, a blue fairy!
    She didn’t want us to know she was there, so she turned the back of a sheep blue, to throw us off!
    Thank you for this! xoxo

    1. Thank you Resa! Our fairies know many tricks for sure.
      Since the pandemic began I haven’t been taking portraits or street. These days, I go for a walk and share what I see. Like, last week I saw an airplane with Canadian flag under the wings. It is a survey aircraft doing some job around River Suir. I thought of you X

      1. Sweet! It’s nice to be thought of! I understand about walking where one can. We are in lockdown here. I’ll go for a short one tomorrow!

    1. Thank you so much! I have been to Crotty’s lake many times, and most of the days I have it to myself – even the fairies don’t show up… The lake is my source of fresh air and solace. The other lake I am going to write about is different. The car park is usually full. I used to park elsewhere along the main road. Still, it is not a tourist destination, not a commercial, anyway.
      Hope you are enjoying the quiet month. Stay safe!

    1. Thank you so much! The dry ferns – bracken- have that lovely warm brown color in winter, plus all the shades of green. I so love this view.

  2. I like the Erica. They look quite small. I can only guess from the picture. However, the dried one can look so scary to me. They invoke some kind of phobia in me 🙂

    1. I agree with you. The dried ones don’t look friendly at all 😉 I think they are the heather. Erica is more delicate. There are many other plants in their tiny alpine form. They look like the miniatures of the familiar full-sized plants we know. Everything is tiny in the mountains. Sheep eat them before they can grow, I guess. 😊

  3. Another awesome adventure. Thank you so much Inese, your photographs as always are very inspiring.

  4. Stunningly beautiful scenery and I can see it wasn’t an easy walk! I never knew about the three kinds of heather! Thank you for the fascinating tour, Inese!

    1. Thank you so much! They are all called ‘heather’ locally, but in fact only one of them is a real heather – the bigger one, Calluna vulgaris, with the tiny pink/white flowers. The smallest is Erica tetralix. It grows in the bogs worldwide. Erica cinerea in my picture prefers drier hillside, where exactly I found it. There are some other rare species of Calluna and Erica, but these three are the most abundant.

  5. Beautiful scenery and I didn’t know there was 3 types of heather. Will look closely at them in the nurseries. The lake is so mysterious. My heart sank at sheeps falling off the rocks. I am all for Gaia untainted. Thanks for another walk. I enjoyed mysellf.

    1. Thank you, Joseph. Two of them are not technically heather, just called so. Look up Erica. Its flowers are bigger, and the green parts look more alpine.

      Oh they fall, of course. One wrong step is all it takes. The bones I found on the sheep track have nothing to do with accidents though.
      Thank you again for walking along.

  6. The mountain doesn’t look that high when looking at it from below, but what an amazing view from the heights! I love the unspoiled landscape and also hope that it remains undeveloped. I think the sheep like it this way too. A beautiful walk, Inese, with lovely photos. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Diana! Yes, the height is only a third of a mile 😊 The slope is quite steep though, especially closer to the top. Thanks goodness for the sheep tracks 😊

    1. Thank you so much, Andrea. You are so right about the moods. Every passing cloud and gust of wind change the look of the lake.

  7. Thanks for my Virtual Walk, Inese! And apropos “The Irish weather is not always dry and sunny”…more that there are lots of soft days??

    1. Thank you Sue! We customary joke about the weather here 😊 Great weather these days though. A blackbird sang for hours behind my window last evening.

    1. Thank you, Derrick. I couldn’t help taking pictures of those stems! It is amazing that the seemingly dead heather plant is actually alive and sprouts some tiny flowers and leaves. Tough life up there.
      The Ass’s Ears is the name used locally. There is a tail too 😊

    1. Thank you, Janet! So agree with you. We have enough places for our physical activities and business, but ‘places to paint’ are precious and should be left unspoiled.<3

    1. Thank you so much, Finola! There are many scenic trails around the Comeraghs, easy enough for almost anyone. Mahon Falls trail is wheelchair accessible. There are also some places that even an experienced rock climber will find tough. Versatile mountains, beautiful, well worth a visit.

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