Suir Blueway

Blue Way of County Tipperary III

We have walked 11 kilometres and deserve a break. Today’s walk is only 1 km long. The season is Autumn.

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The Poulakerry Tower House is often called a castle, which is fine. There is no need to be over-specific when we speak about a 600 years old building that still stands and is lived in. You can also call it a keep.

The tower house was built by the Butler Fitzwilliams family to guard the crossing over the river, demand tolls, and who knows what else as they had a reputation of ‘robber barons’. During the Cromwellian invasion, the house was taken and its defenders killed. Majority of castles and keeps suffered from sieges and were left in ruins. Excellent location saved the Poulakerry tower house: it was repaired and used as a garrison. Over the centuries the house changed hands and was restored in the 1970s to become a family home.

The river makes an S-bend at the tower house. Peaceful fields lay on the north bank and the steep wooded slopes of the Comeragh Mountains rise on the south.

Robins here are fearless. You can stand pretty close with your camera and admire their Christmas Card cuteness.

Landscape House is another landmark. Built in the 1790-s as a part of the Mount Congreve Estate it was extended over the years. Somehow this property is associated with Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott, a British land agent, whose name became immortalized after he issued eviction orders to his tenants in Co Mayo. Nowadays evictions are not a novelty anymore, and no new words have been created… The Captain leased a farm in Tipperary, it is all I know. If I learn more about the ‘association’, I will update this post.

A legendary horse trainer and rider Phonsie (Alphonsus Septimus) O’Brian and his wife bought the house in the 1970’s after the sale of their Thomastown Castle property. You might also know their daughter’s company name – Lily O’Brien’s. Both the House and the chocolate & desserts company were sold in 2018.

This is the most beautiful stretch of the river.

The lower slopes of the Comeraghs adorned with yellow and red foliage.

Majestic Slievenamon stands on the opposite side of the river.

A couple of swans are glowing in the afternoon sun.

Not only the swans – myriads of mayflies are glowing like little lanterns (early September).

Another robin enjoying the warmth of sunlight.

The sun rolled behind the hill. Two egrets call it a day and depart for the trees.

Pied ( or Water) wagtail is a resident at the Poulaberry and Kilsheelan Bridge parts of the river.

We stop before the Garden and the bridge – more about these landmarks in my next blog post when we will walk to Gurteen de la Poer Castle you see under the bridge arch.

Thank you for reading and walking with me ❤

  Have a wonderful weekend!

Blue Way of County Tipperary II

We continue from Dove Hill Norman Tower, and I hope we make it to Poulakerry Tower House. The season is spring.

We see a glimpse of several ruins as we walk. River Suir was the main access route, and has been used by the early Christians, the Vikings, the Normans and everyone else over the centuries. The four-storey Dove Hill tower house has been changing keepers since it was erected in the 14th century. The Earl of Ormond is listed as the proprietor in 1640 when the tower was described as “a small castle wanting repaire“.

This is a closer look. The ivy-clad ruin stands right across the road from the Dove Hill Irish Design Centre.

Suir Blueway was officially launched in May 2019 and the path was paved in 2018. Before that the path looked like in the pictures below, and I loved it much more than its paved version. In fact, it makes me sad when I see all that paving, drainage or tree cutting in the wildlife habitats intended to accommodate our selfish wants. There are very little habitats left in Ireland, and very little wildlife.

Now and then we see an angler. River Suir is still rich in salmon and has the distinction of producing Ireland’s record rod-caught salmon that weighed 57 lb ( 25.9 kg) and was taken on a fly by Michael Maher in 1874. .

We walk some 2-3 kilometers and there is no other sound than the buzzing of bees and chirping of birds.

Then suddenly we hear a ‘white noise’ that grows louder as we walk – it is the sound of the rapids.

Nothing dramatic here, just the shallow water and the rocks, but the sound is impressive.

I take a slow shutter picture of the water.

River Suir is not deep along the Blueway. All the navigation takes place to the south of Carrick-on-Suir.

We walk another kilometre in solitude. There is MSD biotechnology company site somewhere at this stretch of the riverwalk, but they make themselves invisible, and they are a good employer anyway…

We pass so-called Glyn Castle – the house with a rich history built on the site of an ancient castle.

Waterford- Clonmel railway comes close to the river at this point.

More walking.

There are birds – robins, wrens, green finches.

Heron makes a comical takeoff.

The beautiful vistas of the green Irish countryside provide a lovely ending to our 6 km long walk.

Some more birds as we approach the outskirts of my favorite village.

We made it to the Poulakerry tower house!

In my next blog we are going to stay in the village of Kilsheelan and walk between the Poulakerry tower house and Gurteen Castle.

  Have a happy week!

Blue Way of County Tipperary I

Today we are off to the River Suir again, ready to start a glorious 21 km (14 mile) walk which I have completed in the past, not in a single go, though. I also recommend Treacy’s Blueway Bike Hire for those who prefer cycling…

Suir Blueway is a 53 km kayaking trail from Carrick-on-Suir to Cahir and a 21km walking and cycling trail from Carrick-on-Suir to Clonmel along the river Suir.

A few words about the history of the trail. The Greenways are built on the former railway lines. The Blueways are built on the former towpath for horse-drawn boats.

Carrick-on-Suir has a long history of river transport. From the mid-eighteenth century until the early 1900-s horse-drawn boats were a familiar sight. The boats were often towed in pairs with a team of twelve horses yoked together, four men in charge. An old photograph below is linked to the blog post you might enjoy reading. The photograph was taken from the Gashouse Bridge, Clonmel.

You will see a good few remarkable buildings and ruins along the walk. Davin’s tower in the opening picture is a folly built by Lord Waterford in 1820-s. It is overlooking the Davin’s salmon weir – the science of constructing such weirs was brought to Ireland by the Franciscans. 

I have arranged my pictures by location and season. In today’s blog we start out in Carrick-on-Suir, and the season is Summer.

River otter is a common resident. A family of otters live at Carrick-on-Suir marina which is quite a busy place. River otters usually enter water only to hunt or travel. These three otters looked like they were traveling with a purpose.

I hope these cute ducklings escaped the sharp teeth…

We might sit down and rest our feet. Some of the benches have plaques – “In memory” or “Donated by”.

Birds are always present – robins, wrens, stonechats, thrushes and finches. Highly territorial Kingfishers can be seen once in a while. I have never got a photograph.

Heron is hunting in the shallow water. I always smile at his prehistoric looks and unnecessary panic with which he takes off: he is in the middle of the river and we humans don’t fly. Tainted conscience of a predator? Guilty of eating little ducklings, may be? 😉

Swans don’t panic. They have a vegetarian diet and clean conscience. They move with dignity and mind their own business.

We are almost halfway to Kilsheelan at this point. Hope you enjoyed the walk.

The Carrick-on-Suir Clancy Brothers Art Festival takes place on the June bank holiday weekend each year. Here is an hour long concert for you to listen while you are getting ready for the next leg of our adventure.

See you soon!

 

Have a happy week!