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
Carrauntoohil (/ˌkærənˈtuːl/, Irish: Corrán Tuathail) is the highest peak on the island of Ireland. Located in County Kerry, it is 1,038 metres (3,406 feet) high and is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range. The ridge northward leads to Ireland’s second-highest peak, Beenkeragh at 1,010 m (3,310 ft), while the ridge westward leads to the third-highest peak, Caher at 1,001 m (3,284 ft). Carrauntoohil overlooks three bowl-shaped valleys, each with its own lakes. To the east is Hag’s Glen or Coomcallee (Com Caillí, “hollow of the Cailleach”), to the west is Coomloughra (Com Luachra, “hollow of the rushes”) and to the south is Curragh More (Currach Mór, “great marsh”).
Carrauntoohil is classed as a Furth by the Scottish Mountaineering Club, i.e. a mountain greater than 3,000 ft (910 m) high that is outside (or furth of) Scotland, which is why it is sometimes referred to as one of the Irish Munros.
A Panoramic image of the county Tipperary mountain slievenamon, We had a lot of Snow locally last Sunday and today Friday the only snow to be found was at the top of the mountain. Its a little Hard to present Panoramic images on a blog like this one, so I hope that you will click on the image to get the full size version.
This view is from the road at the bottom of the path used to walk to the top on the mountain, the path is up-hill all the way and as such while its not a long walk its a demanding one. When you get to the top however the views are well worth the energy and time spent 🙂
Flying above a layer of mountain tops
Blue snow clouds, deep blue, yellow and white
It looks like the snow-coated hills,
are covered in snowdrifts and gaps,
where the winter heather peeks through,
Walking with carefully so you Don’t fall
down into the drifts.
It was just before dusk
When he started his climb
The path grew narrow
So the dog went ahead
It grew rocky and steep
But the old man kept up
Not knowing the dog
Had slowed his pace
The old man thought back
To his very first climb
That summer evening
Of his twelfth year
All alone on the mountain
A heaven full of stars
A rock for his pillow
He talked to the moon
He asked many questions
He called his ancestors by name
The heavens answered him
With many signs and sounds
That were later explained to him
By the tribal Medicine Man
A man who came to play
A very important part in his life
He became a warrior that year
He learned much from his family
The tribal customs and traditions
Were ingrained in his soul
He was a good listener
And was comfortable with words
He was accepted by the coucil
At a very young age
He had the strength of his father
The patience of his mother
The intelligence of his grandmother
And the wisdom of his grandfather
He learned how to guide
Not only himself but others
He had become all things
To all of those around him
He was a good chief
But his days were dwindling
His mind kept going back
Over all the things he had done
No regrets, no what ifs
Knowing he did his best
But things were changing
It was the dawn of a new era
The old man reached the ledge
Where he had stood many times
Since being that boy of twelve
And he was still awed
By the beauty of the heavens
The stars seemed so close
You could reach out and touch them
And that night, he did
Carrauntoohil (/ˌkærənˈtuːl/, Irish: Corrán Tuathail)
The highest peak on the island of Ireland. Located in County Kerry, Ireland it is 1,038 metres (3,406 ft) high and is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range. The ridge northward leads to Ireland’s second-highest peak, Beenkeragh (1,010 m), while the ridge westward leads to the third-highest peak, Caher (1,001 m). Carrauntoohil overlooks three bowl-shaped valleys, each with its own lakes. To the east is Hag’s Glen or Coomcallee (Com Caillí, “hollow of the Cailleach”), to the west is Coomloughra (Com Luachra, “hollow of the rushes”) and to the south is Curragh More (Currach Mór, “great marsh”).
The summit of Carrauntoohil
Carrauntoohil is classed as a Furth by the Scottish Mountaineering Club, i.e. a mountain greater than three thousand feet high that is outside (or furth of) Scotland, which is why it is sometimes referred to as one of the Irish Munros.
The Macgillycuddy’s Reeks also contains many loughs of which lough callee is just one, the image above was taken last week while approaching the devils ladder route up to carrauntoohil Mountain peek. The morning was misty yet lots of wonderful light was finding its way on the the green slopes and the deep water of the lough, the mountain top is some distance above this level and hidden in the mist ……
The last Sunset of May 2016
The last days of May 2016, here in Ireland have been blessed with prefect springtime weather, bright and warm until well into the evening time, so yesterday evening when we both got home around 6pm we decided to pack a small meal and get outside to walk up our local mountain of Slievenamon, county tipperary.
It was a perfect evening and the views from the top of the mountain were just stunning in the evening sun. On getting to the top we eat our food and just enjoyed walking around the summit, taking in the 380deg view of the landscape below.
This was a perfect way the end the Month of May 2016 🙂 🙂
Slievenamon, county Tipperary : The last Sunset of May 2016, Gallery
A simple old story this one but filled with such a simple truth.
Folktales and Fables : The North Wind and the Sun
The North Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger, when a traveler came along wrapped in a warm cloak. They agreed that the one who first succeeded in making the traveler take his cloak off should be considered stronger than the other.Then the North Wind blew as hard as he could, but the more he blew the more closely did the traveler fold his cloak around him; and at last the North Wind gave up the attempt. Then the Sun shined out warmly, and immediately the traveler took off his cloak.
And so the North Wind was obliged to confess that the Sun was the stronger of the two.
The story concerns a competition between the North wind and the Sun to decide which is the stronger of the two. The challenge was to make a passing traveler remove his cloak. However hard the North Wind blew, the traveler only wrapped his cloak tighter to keep warm, but when the Sun shone, the traveler was overcome with heat and soon took his cloak off.
The fable was well known in Ancient Greece; Athenaeus recorded that Hieronymus of Rhodes, in his Historical Notes, quotes an epigram of Sophocles against Euripides which parodies the story of Helios and Boreas. It relates how Sophocles had his cloak stolen by a boy to whom he had made love. Euripides joked that he had had that boy too and it did not cost him anything. Sophocles’ reply satirises the adulteries of Euripides: “It was the Sun, and not a boy, whose heat stripped me naked; as for you, Euripides, when you were kissing someone else’s wife the North Wind screwed you. You are unwise, you who sow in another’s field, to accuse Eros of being a snatch-thief.”
The Latin version of the fable first appears centuries later in Avianus as De Vento et Sole (Of the wind and the sun, Fable 4), early versions in English and Johann Gottfried Herder’s poetic version in German (Wind und Sonne) also give it as such. It is only in mid-Victorian times that the title “The North Wind and the Sun” begins to be used. In fact the Avianus poem refers to the characters as Boreas and Phoebus, the gods of the north wind and the sun, and it is under the title Phébus et Borée that it appears in La Fontaine’s Fables (VI.3).
Victorian versions give the moral as “Persuasion is better than force”, but it has been put in different ways at other times. In the Barlow edition of 1667, Aphra Behn teaches the Stoic lesson that there should be moderation in everything: “In every passion moderation choose,/For all extremes do bad effects produce”, while La Fontaine’s conclusion is that “Gentleness does more than violence” (Fables VI.3). In the 18th century, Herder comes to the theological conclusion that, while superior force leaves us cold, the warmth of Christ’s love dispels it, and Walter Crane’s limerick version of 1887 gives a psychological interpretation, “True strength is not bluster”. Most of these examples draw a moral lesson, but La Fontaine hints at the political application that is present also in Avianus’ conclusion: “They cannot win who start with threats”. There is evidence that this reading has had an explicit influence on the diplomacy of modern times: in South Korea’s Sunshine Policy, for instance, or Japanese relations with the military regime in Burma.
The Last afternoon of March 2016
This afternoon is bright and sunny
between the mountain clouds,
Springtime is in the air,
The weather is mild on this late March afternoon,
the breath of April is rising fast,
I am alone on the quiet mountain top
looking down on an old untried illusion
Some shadows sit on the green landscape below
memory’s rise from their sleep,
The crows fly above while others rest
on the stone walls of this mountain side,
In the air as hunting birds call
the fast hover of the kestrels wings.
During a recent walk up to the top of our Local Mountain (Slievenamon, county Tipperary), I came across many great examples of the art of Rock Balancing, Sadly whoever it was that had spent so much time putting these sculptures together had already left so I could not get any pictures of them working so creatively.
I still got lots of images and just wanted to share them here as a record of such great acts of creativity. The thing that impressed me the most was not so much each sculpture ( Although each was great to see ! ) but the number of them and what better location for them than the roof of the world , the very top of Slievenamon the spiritual home for anyone from county Tipperary.
Slievenamon (Irish: Sliabh na mBan, [ˈʃlʲiəw n̪ˠə ˈmˠanˠ], “mountain of the women”)
Rising as a huge heathery dome amid gentle green countryside, Slievenamon’s profile naturally attracts the eye. This is an easy mountain with with a broad and clear track leading all the way to the summit cairn.
On fine days there are extensive views, taking in all the best walking areas in the South East of Ireland.
Slievenamon is a mountain of history and mystery of lore and legends. Its name means the ‘Mountain of the Women’ and the story is told how all the fairest women raced to the top to claim the hand of the warrior, Fionn Mac Cumhail. Fionn secretly fancied Grainne, the daughter of the High King of Ireland, so he advised her how to win the race!
Although it looks like a solitary height, Slievenamon is surrounded by a series of lower heathery humps. Some of these, like the main summit, are crowned by ancient burial Cairns. The highest cairn is said to mark the entrance to the mysterious Celtic underworld.
I Choose The Mountain
Poem by howard simon
The low lands call
I am tempted to answer
They are offering me a free dwelling
Without having to conquer
The massive mountain makes its move
Beckoning me to ascend
A much more difficult path
To get up the slippery bend
I cannot choose both
I have a choice to make
I must be wise
This will determine my fate
I choose, I choose the mountain
With all its stress and strain
Because only by climbing
Can I rise above the plane
I choose the mountain
And I will never stop climbing
I choose the mountain
And I shall forever be ascending
I choose the mountain
Before the mountain, by the grace of nature
I was allowed to realize “Oh!I am only a child!”
tendered by spruce and birds.
I saw without my usual defenses
and endless thinking.
I know anything or everything
coming between me and creation.
– Myochi Roko Sherry Chayat, 1990
Slievenamon, County Tipperary
Monday morning and what better way to start a new week than a walk through the hills above the town of Clonmel , county Tipperary.
This old walk goes over the foot hills just below the Comeragh mountains and into county Waterford and offers some of the best views in the South of Ireland, I share some of it here with one of my most loved Mountain Poems by Douglas Fraser, written in 1968.
Freedom of the Hills
By: Douglas Fraser – 1968
Mine is the freedom of the tranquil hills
When vagrant breezes bend the sinewy grass,
While sunshine on the widespread landscape spills
And light as down the fleet cloud-shadowed pass.
Mine, still, that freedom when the storm-clouds race,
Cracking their whips against defiant crags
And mists swirl boiling up from inky space
To vanish on the instant, torn to rags.
Snow and mist in the Mountains.
When winter grips the mountains in a vice,
Silently stifling with its pall of snow,
Checking the streams, draping the rocks in ice,
Still to their mantled summits I would go.
Sun-drenched, I sense the message they impart;
Storm-lashed, I hear it sing through every vein;
Among the snows it whispers to my heart
“Here is your freedom. Taste – and come again.”
Yesterday I took sometime off a went for a long Walk around the Foot hills of Slievenamon, County Tipperary.
It was a wet and misty day with fog hugging the slopes and hanging above the rivers that flow at regular intervals from this mountain side. It felt like the Fall is very close and I cannot wait for the wonderful Browns and Golds to start. Heather and Bracken will soon turn golden brown along with the trees.
The great thing about this mountain is there is always something happening all the year around, maybe we will get some Snow again this year!
As September calls on Slievenamon – Tipperary – Gallery
Li Po – Alone Looking at The Mountain
All the birds have flown up and gone;
lonely clouds float leisurely by.
We never tire of looking at each other –
Only the mountain and I.
The mountain of Slievenamon is about 15km from home, in Tipperary and just across the county border from county Kilkenny. Its Elevation is 721 meters and on a clear day offers good views of a large part of the south east of Ireland, including down to Hook-head on the Wexford coastline.
The pictures below are taken on a walk up to the top two weekends ago, it was a very foggy Sunday morning at the top as you can see. The mist only added to the wonderful feeling of being up there even though none of the best views where possible.
The Walk up Slievenamon a Gallery
Molly is our 10 year old golden retriever she has been on many walks on the Irish mountains, I just love her along-side me while walking and look at the views.
She will often, take a rest to look at the views just in the same way I will, here she is talking a seat at the foot of Slievenamon, county Tipperary, after the long walk to top.
Slievenamon the mountain is covered with different type of megalithic remains going back many thousands of years and a lot of these areas remain undocumented.
It was in spring 2012 however while I was walking up the path that rises to the top of the mountain, about half way up I noticed this new monument. I have passed it a few time since and its a bit of a mystery.
If anyone can help with the symbols it would be very much welcomed….
Sometimes in life you cannot help but stop in order to admire the abilities that some people hold and have inside themselves.
Last week I came across two of those people and one of those moments. A couple of weeks ago I posted about slievenamon a local mountain that is located about 8km from our home, I wanted to produce a series of posts over time that cover the area of this mountain. I started this project by doing a walk to the top during the week and after sitting down for a little rest got out my camera to photograph the views below.
I had already quickly said hello to two other walkers sitting down on the cairn at the top but at that stage was just happy to find my own spot and get some energy back. As I started getting some images the two of them passed by me again and we started talking about the weather and the views, it was then for the first time I noticed that one of the walkers was blind and the other his friend was attached to him with a cord.
The walk up Slievenamon takes about two hours and uses a strait path up from the village of Killcash below, it’s not a simple walk its rocky and you have to keep your eyes open every step.
For every step these two took the leader had to pass on information about the conditions, rocky or if the ground was level, how close to the edge of the path they stood and if the ground was solid or likely to move under foot. A lot of the path can slip under foot as its just loose stone.
I don’t think I need to say to much about how this experience made me stop and think, Its just one of those moments you will never forget and I wanted to share it here as I think it could inspire anyone who thinks they cannot do something – We can do anything if we truly want to !!!
Gallery of images
During the Summer last year, I was lucky enough to be walking up Slievenamon, county Tipperary while some Para-glider’s were taking off from the side of the mountain. I spent a good long time with these people and got some great photos during the afternoon, here are just two of the many I got….