Neil Munro (1864 – 1930) was born in Inveraray and worked as a journalist on various Scottish newspapers. He wrote a number of historical novels but is best known for his humorous stories about the fictional Clyde puffer the Vital Spark and her captain Para Handy, written under the pen name of Hugh Foulis.
Although Neil Munro didn’t emigrate any further than Glasgow, his background (his grandmother was from a Gaelic-speaking part of the Highlands) would have given him an insight into emigration and what it felt like to be an exile. This poem is written more from the perspective of someone who stayed behind.
Are you not weary in your distant places,
Far, far from Scotland of the mist and storm,
In drowsy airs, the sun-smite on your faces,
The days so long and warm?
When all around you lie the strange fields sleeping,
The dreary woods where no fond memories roam,
Do not your sad hearts over seas come leaping
To the highlands and the lowlands of your Home?
Wild cries the Winter, loud through all our valleys
The midnights roar, the grey noons echo back;
About the scalloped coasts the eager galleys
Beat for kind harbours from horizons black:
We tread the miry roads, the rain-drenched heather,
We are the men, we battle, we endure!
God’s pity for you people in your weather
Of swooning winds, calm seas, and skies demure!
Let torrents pour then, let the great winds rally,
Snow-silence fall, or lightning blast the pine;
That light of Home shines warmly in the valley,
And, exiled son of Scotland, it is thine.
Far have you wandered over seas of longing,
And now you drowse, and now you well may weep,
When all the recollections come a-thronging
Of this old country where your fathers sleep.
They sleep, but still the hearth is warmly glowing,
While the wild Winter blusters round their land:
That light of Home, the wind so bitter blowing
Look, look and listen, do you understand?
Love, strength, and tempest-oh, come back and share them!
Here is the cottage, here the open door;
Fond are our hearts although we do not bare them,
– They’re yours, and you are ours for evermore.
Patrick Henry Pearse (also known as Pádraig or Pádraic Pearse; Irish: Pádraig Anraí Mac Piarais; An Piarsach) was born in Dublin on the 10th of November 1879 and he died in Kilmainham Gaol(Jail), county Dublin on the 3rd of May 1916. He was primarily an Irish teacher but was also a great barrister, poet, writer and original Irish nationalist. He was one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in 1916. Following his execution along with fifteen others, Pearse came to be seen by many as the embodiment of the rebellion.
Patrick Pearse’s Cottage at Ros Muc, county Galway in the heart of the Conamara Gaeltacht, ( an Irish speaking and strongly Irish cultural area) was used by Patrick Pearse (1879 – 1916), while he spent time teaching and marking students papers.
The cottage and its interior, although burned during the War of Independence, has been perfectly reconstructed and contains an exhibition and a number of momentous of Pearse’s life.
The cottage was Pearse’s summer residence between 1903 and 1915. It was also as a summer school for his pupils from St Enda’s in Dublin where he worked during the main Academic year.
The historic cottage, has been developed as a national monument and tourist attraction as part of the 1916 centenary commemorations; and is a key ‘discovery point’ on the Wild Atlantic Way route.
I was lucky enough to visit the cottage last week and enjoyed my time here very much, the staff helped greatly when it came to understanding the life of this great Irish man and his time spent here.
If your in county Galway, you just have to call in and spend some valuable time here !
Pearse’s Cottage (Teach an Phiarsaigh), County Galway, Gallery
This time last week during a weeks holiday to both counties Sligo and Mayo, in the norths west of Ireland, we hiked up Croagh Patrick or “The reek” as locals know of it. This mountain is one of Irelands Highest peeks and is most famous for being climbed by pilgrims on Reek Sunday every year, which is the last Sunday of each July. On this Sunday, thousands of pilgrims climb Croagh Patrick in honor of Saint Patrick who, according to tradition, fasted and prayed on the summit for forty days in the year 441.
It has been a personal aim to walk the peeks of a list of mountains in Ireland for a couple of years and “The Reek” is just one of these mountains to hike in the next couple of years.
The weather on the day was perfect and we started our walk about Midday having driven some 80km to the main car park used to start the hike. The start of the walk is good, being flat for a while and then only slowly rising in level, so you get a little time to warmup before the main slopes higher up the mountain side. Once you hike the first slopes the path levels off for a while until you come to the bottom of the main peek.
I really enjoyed this hike, its hard – no getting away from that fact but when you do finally get to the top the views are amazing, you can see most of county Mayo and well into county Sligo from here. there is a step that surrounds a small chapel that you can sit on to eat and have something to drink. We rested here for about 10 mins before walking around the top of the peek.
As you can see these images below are mostly taken at the top, when I finally go to open my bag and get my camera out. As I said you truly feel on top of the world here, this point is some 764 metres (2,507 ft) above sea level, not the highest mountain in the country by about 250 meters but here you start your walk at sea level so it could well be the highest distance you have to walk to get to the top…..
I will let these images do the rest of the talking for me other than to say , this is one of the most enjoyable walks of my life and I cannot wait to walk more Irish mountains in the months yo come ..
Croagh Patrick, County Mayo, A gallery
Shadows fall on the Valley
Day is done and the sun
Is slowly fading out of sight
I can hear, oh, so clear
A call that echoes in the night
Yes, I hear sweet and clear
The call of the faraway hills
There’s no rest on the Valley
There’s no rest for a restless soul
That just was born to roam
Who can say, maybe way out there
My heart may find a home
And I hear sweet and clear
The call of the faraway hills
There are trails I’ve never seen
And my dreams are getting old
And beyond the sunset
There are brand new paths
When a new dream or two
May just be one star away
I must obey the call of the faraway hills
Bay Lough is the famous Corrie Lake in the side of Knockaunabulloga, part of the Knockmealdown Mountain range.
Bay Lough and its surrounds is a strong favourite with hill walkers and recreational walkers of all sorts. The walk to the lake from the car park is not too difficult and suitable for family outings. On any fine day you will see hundreds of walkers making the trip to the lake and walking to its furthest point (it is only possible to walk about half way around, the photo to your left is taken at the most distant point to which you can walk).
The name Bay Lough (or Baylough) is only tentatively connected to the lake. It is thought the name derives from an Anglicisation of the Irish word ‘bealach’ (pronounced ‘ba-lock’) which means ‘pass’ or ‘way’. Those mapping the area, who would have been English, no doubt presumed the word ‘bealach’ referred to the lough in the mountain. You’ll find this type of mistaken Anglicisation of place names all around Ireland for the same reason.
Bay Lough is located close to the hightest point of the pass in the Knockmealdown Mountains from Waterford to Tipperary and was along the regular roadway used for this journey. It is thought this path dates back to St. Declan, who travelled from Ardmore to Cashel along the route. You can still walk along St. Declan’s Way also known as Rian Bó Phadraig. It is popular with hikers who want to experience the historical heritage as well as the beauty of the area. The road from the car park to the lake, which can be continued past the lake and on to Mount Anglesby, was in fact the main road from Cappoquin and Lismore to Clogheen before the current road, going by the Vee, was constructed in the early nineteenth century. This old road is known locally as ‘the Soldiers Path’ and is now a forestry path. It is part of a number of spectacular walks around Bay Lough, see the Walks page for more information on these.
This area is a wonderful (and totally free) resource for locals and visitors alike. Should you wish to visit the lake it is most easily accessible from a car park on the Waterford side of the lake – this is the Loc8 Code for the lake –YZS-26-53G – just be aware that you can only drive as far as this Parking Area.
The lake has a strong historical significance both in South Tipperary and West Waterford. In local folklore it is famed as the lake to which Petticoat Loose was banished for all time, ordered to empty it with a thimble.
It is also widely held that the lake is ‘bottomless’ and that it is not possible to swim across it, despite its rather modest proportions.
Kilcooley abbey is located near the town of Thurles in county Tipperary, it was founded by the Cistercians in 1182AD when the lands were granted to them by Donal Mor O’Brien. It became one of the three great Abbeys in the local area, the other two being Jerpoint and Holy Cross.
It would have been in use at least until the dissolution of Abbeys in the 1500’s and it now sits hidden away on the lands of the Kilcooley estate.
I always love visiting this abbey as its one of the most peaceful of places you could wish of, surrounded by woodlands and farms, very little sound from the modern world penetrates the field its located in. As such you can sense the times when this abbey was first lived in and used on a daily basis as a refuge and place of worship for the Cistercian monks who would have lived here.
If there are such things a Ghosts then how could they not be found still living within and around the grounds of this great Abbey.
As the name implies the Meeting of the waters is where Killarney’s famous lakes converge. The Upper lake, Middle Lake (also known as Muckross Lake) and Lower Lake (Lough Leane) all come together at this beautiful spot. It is a little haven of tranquility and can only be reached by foot or bicycle. Also found in this area are Dinis cottage and “The Old Weir Bridge”.
The easiest way to reach the spot is by walking along the well signposted path from Muckross House for approximately 5km or if you don’t feel that energetic then approx one mile beyond Torc Waterfall (direction Kenmare) there is a parking spot on the right hand side of the road. Dinis cottage is signposted from here and the cottage and “the meetings of the waters” is a 15 minute walk from here. Its definitely worth the walk on a fine day.