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.
The weather plots his journey
Town to town in dead of night
Fields dead and on a gurney
He comes in to make it right
A rainmaker, people call him
A psuedo-scammer others say
He sells himself as godlike
He comes quick and does not stay
He tells people what they wish for
He beats the storm in to their town
He seeds their minds with his tall stories
He promises more green than brown
Like an evangelistic angel
He beats the weather to the ground
He’s a salesman like no other
He picks their pockets with no sound
A rainmaker, just a scammer
He works the towns where nothing lives
He is an alchemist non-gratta
He always takes and never gives
He sells snake oil and concoctions
He is a shaman in disguise
He promises rain where none has fallen
There is more moisture in the farmers eyes
He takes credit for a rainfall
He promises gold where once was straw
He’s a rumplestiltskin with their feelings
He sells them only what they wish they saw
He may believe in what he tells them
He always puts his name out on a stake
But, can he truly make the skies open
That is a choice the desperate make
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.
On Wednesday I posted some picture showing the results of a Wildfire on the bog lands of Littleton in country Tipperary, having done so I just wanted to share some more images from another Bog land in county Waterford and share some of the history of these amazing places along with some details about the history of turf cutting in Ireland.
The Irish tradition of turf cutting
In the past, Irish people heated their homes and cooked their food using turf taken from from the bog as fuel. Turf was cut from the bog by hand, using a two-sided spade called a sleán. Entire families often helped to save the turf on the bog.
Saving the turf involved turning each sod of turf to ensure the sun and wind could help in the drying process. The turf was then placed upright or ‘footed’ for further drying. Footing the turf was a back-breaking job and involved placing five or six sods of turf upright and leaning against each other. Finally, the turf was brought home and stored in sheds or ricks.
In the midlands and the West of Ireland, the tradition of using turf or peat as fuel has continued in many homes.The turf is mainly cut by machine nowadays, but saving the turf still involves lots of work and requires good weather.
Ireland’s is currently in heat wave conditions with no big change on the horizon, so today I headed out for a walk and started to capture our local landscape in these conditions. Here in County Kilkenny we have not been affected quite as badly yet as in county Dublin but as you can see from these images the hedgerows and fields are starting to turn to a light brown and some of the trees are only just hanging on.
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.