Glenary River

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 ūüėČ 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 ūüė¶ 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.

comeragh

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.

comeragh

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

comeragh

You are standing on the top of Scrouthea Hill РCnoc 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 ūüôā

comeragh

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.

comeragh

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.

comeraghs

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.

comeragh

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

Glenary with Long Hill and Laghtnafrankee mountain in background.

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gorse

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

comeragh

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.

comeragh

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.

map

 

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!

Carey’s Castle: a hidden gem at the foot of the Comeraghs

carey castle

Just about a mile off the Clonmel to Dungarvan road, at the border between Tipperary and Waterford counties, stands the most loved and visited castle in the area.

The castle is located in the beautiful mixed woodlands close to the Glenary River, a tributary of the River Suir. Centuries ago the place was known as Glenabbey. It was a small monastic site that belonged to the Cistercian monastery in Innislounaght, Clonmel, but was abandoned in the 16th century as a result of the Dissolution of the Monasteries initiated by Henry VIII. The ruins of the old buildings and walls can still be seen.

After the monks moved out, the site was granted to Edward Gough, an alderman of Clonmel. There is no record that something remarkable had been happening in the site during the next 200 years, but in the beginning of the 19th century the Carey’s castle was built. At that time, the site was the property of¬†the Carey family, the wealthy schoolmasters who loved history. It is believed that they were the ones who built the castle, because it is a mixture of architectural¬†styles and eras. You see an ancient¬†Irish Round Tower, medieval Norman hall, Romanesque arches and Gothic windows. There was also a walled garden facing the river.

The Careys sold the site in the 1840s when they emigrated to Australia. The next owner was Colonel Nuttall Greene, who soon became bankrupt, and his property was sold off in the Estates Court. The site was abandoned and became derelict.

Carey castle

Carey castle

Carey castle

Carey castle

Carey castle

I always thought this building was an ice house, but now I know it is a chapel :). I love to receive feedback and learn new things.

Carey Castle

This is the other side of the chapel and the path that approaches the site from the east.

Carey castle

This is the path you would walk on from the parking lot after you take a right turn down the hill. The main path continues straight through the woods. It is also beautiful and worth to explore.

Carey castle

This is what you see when you walk down that path. In summer, the view is obscured by the tree branches.

Carey castle

Here the path makes a loop and returns to the woods. A different view from this point. On the right, you see the walled garden.

Carey castle

All the parts of the path are mystically beautiful. You see many ancient ruins who knows how old.

Carey castle

Glenary River is a treasure itself. Quite deep in some places, she even hosts fish. Local teenagers come for a swim in the icy-cold pool, just five minutes walk to the east from the castle.

I walk along the Glenary River out of the woods to the main road. It is quite dark here, and suddenly there is an opening between the trees, and the sheep appear like pale ghosts out of nowhere, startling me.

I hurry up, and in a couple of minutes the sun is shining again, and there are no ghosts anymore. Thistles and Foxgloves are stretching tall to get out of the thick wall of nettles guarding an old farmstead.

digitalis

I take some pictures of the gate and old roof, and walk to the parking lot.

Carey Castle is a unique place, open to everyone. How sad it is that people leave all their litter there after having picnics and walking their dogs. Once a year, a local Slovakian/Polish family hosts a Gulash Party in the castle grounds. A huge saucepan¬†of stew is cooked, and families with children stay in the site all the day, and some even over night, sleeping in the tents. Everyone can come if they are well-behaved ūüôā ¬†Before the party begins, the hosts are combing the area and picking up all the rubbish left there during the rest of the year. After the party, the place is tidied up again.

There is another Carey’s Castle in the world, a cave-like dwelling in the end of a magnificent trail¬†at¬†the South-West corner of Joshua Tree National Park, USA. Both sites are not officially recognized as tourist destinations, and remain ‘hidden gems’.

Thank you for visiting my favorite place!


Just to let you know. ¬†We have a wee¬†addition to¬†our family ūüôā

 


inese_mj_photography Have a wonderful weekend!