Clonmel

Cannon Hill

cannon hill

We are rounding up our calorie-burning Comeragh hike. Before we are done, I want to share this post about a small but very important part of Comeragh Mountains –  Cannon Hill,  one of beloved places  of Clonmel people  ( I have already written about Carey Castle, St. Patrick’s Well and some other local favorites).

We take the left turn up a narrow road just before the Carey Castle sign, and start our walk along the side of Cannon Hill. There are two roads, the upper one is wider, and there is a nice space for parking. A couple of years ago I came here to assess the old farmhouse ruins for a photo session. I had only one hour, but there was the man with his dogs, and he started a conversation that lasted 40 minutes 🙂 He introduced himself as Richard, and it came out he is a father-in-law of my former colleague, but the most important, he is Clonmel history enthusiast, it is why I forgot about time and listened to the stories about his ancestors and historical events I have never heard about before.  The funnies part is that recently I came across an article where another man mentioned his long conversation with Richard that took place in exactly the same spot 🙂 So, if you want to learn more about history of  Clonmel, hang around Cannon Hill.

The best part of Cannon Hill is the views we enjoy as we walk.

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Cannon Hill

This is Kilmacomma Hill. It looks like a huge green sleeping bear. In background you see Galtee mountains some 20 miles away.

The fertile land between Comeragh, Galtee and Knockmealdown Mountains is traditionally called Golden Vale.

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Knockmealdown mountains to the west of the Comeraghs.

Cannon Hill is a great place to walk a dog. Or two. This is us returning from that photo session.

Cannon Hill

The ruins of an old farmhouse are easy accessible in the winter time, but overgrown with the weeds in summer.

I already shared this photograph as a part of my project two years ago.

It takes about half an hour to get here from the car park, and even our dogs are tired.

This is another walk around the Cannon Hill, and another model 🙂

Local fauna can include Deer, but my only picture of a fawn sleeping in the grass is lost in a hard drive crash. I photographed this herd of cows, and discovered the fawn in background. All that is left from that shoot is this big lad with gorgeous albino eyelashes.

And of course, there are sheep. It is Ireland 🙂

It takes a couple of hours to explore all the paths.

Cannon Hill

These are two versions of the same song – different accent ;). Tom Healy and Brian Coll sing about all the places I have mentioned in my blog, so you can learn how to pronounce the Irish names 🙂

 

 

 

Thank you for taking this simple local walk. Treasures are often closer than we know.

www.inesemjphotography.com  Have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

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

Bulmers! Or Magners, as the product is called outside of Ireland. Famous Irish Cider brewery is situated right next to Slievenamon. It also produces clouds 😦 Just look at the next image.

bulmers

It is not always that bad though, but some days are worse than the others.

bulmers

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

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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.

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

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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 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 with Long Hill and Laghtnafrankee mountain in background.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

Slievenamon

slievenamon

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.

slievenamon

slievenamon

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.

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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.

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slievenamon

slievenamon

slievenamon

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

Closer to the summit, it is cold and misty.

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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.

slievenamon

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

slievenamon

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

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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!

Seasons and horses

This post was written in May 2015, but something new came up, and the post was left in draft until I found it this week, and rewrote it, and added some new pictures to fit the season. The opening photograph was taken in Kilmokea Country Manor House, the best place for event photography around here.

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The real horses belong to Kildalton Agricultural college. The college offers 18 courses, including Farm Management, Horsemanship, and my favorite Plant Identification & Use. I took the pictures in spring – the time of rejuvenation of life.

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ireland

ireland

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This Wisteria grows in beautiful College park.

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I am not sure if the rapeseed field is a college property, but it lays right across the road.

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Short Irish summer is not worth to mention 🙂

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You wouldn’t notice a difference between July and October anyway 🙂

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This horse is posing in front of a cottage in Connemara in the end of October.

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These two snack on hay in the paddock at the foot of Slievenamon mountain in December.

The last leaves are still hanging on.

Sometimes an occasional sun beam breaks through the fog…

… but  ‘Winter turns all the Summer’s love to grey… Winter takes what the Summer had to say’

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Seasons come and go.

I took pictures of a semi-wild horse in winter. These are less fortunate – hairy horses with narrow eyes live outdoors most of the year.

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This post is supposed to be about horses, as the title says, but you know how it is with the internet – many titles are misleading, and many contents cannot be trusted.

The truth is that there are other farm animals grazing on the mountain slopes. Like cows. Some of them spend nights under the roof in a warm shed, but some stay outdoors for almost a year. The ‘wild’ cows grow a coat to stay warm.

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These cows live at the foot of the Comeragh mountains in Clonmel, and walk up and down the steep slope every day.

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There are also sheep in the mountains, white dots. They look so very lonely in this picture, taken in the middle of February.

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I used to hike for hours, but I have never seen different kinds of animals fight with each other. I mean, I have never seen a horse kick a sheep, or a cow attack a deer, or a sheep give chase to a rabbit. If it is not food, they let it be.

sheep

I wish all of us were wise enough to control our tendencies towards hate and aggression; towards being irritable, demanding and petulant. I wish we didn’t waste our time on being a smaller individual than we have the potential to be.

I also wish that all political leaders demonstrate the best in  judgment as they govern their countries, and never encourage their people to raise a hand against another human being, regardless of their race, political views, or anything else.

www.inesemjphotography.comHave a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! xx

Marlfield village, Clonmel

Marlfield village on the outskirts of Clonmel might be just a small dot on the map, but at least three most visited – and loved – places are there, and it is where I am going to take you this time. In the first picture, you see the St Patrick’s Well site as it looks after the major remodeling and landscaping that took place in the 1960s. The works were funded by the generous donations from the Mayor of Los Angeles Sam Yorty whose mother was native of Clonmel, Mr Arman Hammer and the Irish Israeli society from South California.

This is how the place looked 100 years ago. A large ash tree was growing at the side of the well that could be accessed by walking on the stones through the marshy land ( click on the image to see the source). To be honest, I do like the original look…

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Tear-shaped stone wall surrounds the well. The sight of ripples on the surface of the water both in the well and in the pool makes you look up and check if it is raining. The water is bubbling up from hundreds of tiny springs, and it is so clear that you can bring a cup with you and drink it right there.

St Patrick's Well

Spring water flows from the well through the hollowed stones. Similar medieval design is to be seen in St Brigid’s Well, Co Kildare.

St Patrick's Well

A simple sandstone cross is dated to the 5-8th century. The parish church was built in the 17th century, on the site of a much earlier monastic building –  some fragments of it are visible in the masonry of the walls.

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Inside the chapel there is an altar tomb of Nicholas White who died in 1622, and the White family Coat of Arms. The tomb was brought here in 1805, and there is no body inside it.

St Patricks Well

A flight of stone steps connects this mystical place with the rest of the world, and it is also great for taking photographs from different angles and vantage points.

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More images and stories about St Patrick’s Well in my blog from last year. 

This is the road between the holy well and the village. We will walk this road all the way down to the banks of River Suir.

Marlfield road

This picture was taken from another favorite place – Sandybanks. Well, a former favorite place, because a couple of years ago Clonmel City Council announced their decision to withdraw the summer Lifeguard Service from this very popular bathing spot. It was a shock to the locals when they learned that their favorite traditional bathing area ‘was not suitable for swimming’. Somehow they suspected that the decision had more to do with cutting costs than with the quality of the water.

River Suir

No bathing, so we just take a picture and walk back.

Just a minute walk from the Sandybanks there is an old church that is friendly shared between both Roman Catholics and Church of Ireland. Beautiful avenue of Horse Chestnut trees and the red door always attract photographers.

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Sometimes I walk around the graveyard and read gravestones, but the main reason is that I check on the old Yew tree.

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There is that tree, in the back of the graveyard. It takes three people to put their arms around it. I am coming to check on it once a year. It is quite scary to walk there – the reason why I converted the pictures to B&W 😉

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Marlfield church was built in 1818 on the site of the 12th century Cistercian Abbey. St Patrick’s Well and the church also belonged to the Abbey until it was dissolved in the 16th century. This beautiful window on the back wall of the Marlfield church is the only remnant of the original Abbey that was incorporated into the newer building.

Marlfield church

After the Siege of Clonmel in 1650 the lands of Marlfield, successfully farmed by Cistercian monks for centuries, were bought by the Bagwell family. Marlfield House was completed in 1785 by Colonell John Bagwell. The house was rebuilt after the fire in 1923. The central part of the house is used as an apartment complex, and there is also a conference hall that too can be rented.

Marlfield House

The magnificent conservatory was built by Richard Turner who designed the Botanic gardens in Belfast and Dublin.

Marlfield House

Last but not least favorite is Marlfield Lake. The lake covers six hectares in size, and the water is flowing into it from the St Patrick’s Well, where we began our tour.

Marlfield lake

Generations of local residents have been coming here and feeding generations of the waterfowl since the late 1700s when the lake was developed from a swamp by Stephen Moore.

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ducks

Many species are breeding here, some ducks I have never seen before. There are many swans. The cygnets are shy, but the older birds often start a fight.

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swans

swans

When a visitor with some bread shows up, have your cameras ready.

ducks

There is a tiny picnic area, but you have to keep in mind that the road along the lake is just a regular road, and it can be quite busy.

Marlfield

These photographs were taken over the years, in different seasons.

Thank you for visiting Marlfield village! Hope you enjoyed the walk.

inesemjphotographyHave a wonderful weekend!