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.
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.
Dramatic clouds enhance your photographs, but is this steam emission harmless? I don’t know.
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.
This picture was taken in March. The setting sun colored the tops of the bare trees and made them look like autumn foliage.
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The village mostly consisted of clochans – clusters of houses with a shared entrance and farmyard.
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.
Glenary with Long Hill and Laghtnafrankee mountain in background.
The view from the hillside over the valley. Carey Castle I recently wrote about is in the woods behind the cottage.
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.
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.
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.
Have a wonderful January!