Curraghchase Forest Park
One of my favorite places to visit in the winter months is Curraghchase Forest Park.
Curraghchase Forest Park is the woodland estate and lakes around the shell of the 18th century Curraghchase House, in County Limerick, home of poet Aubrey de Vere. It is now open as a state forest and park.
Originally, the name of the estate was Curragh (meaning bog) before it was changed to Curragh Chase by Sir Aubrey de Vere. Aubrey Thomas de Vere a poet and author, was born at Curragh Chase in 1814. Curragh Chase was acquired in 1957 by the Forestry Division and in the 1970s was established as a forest park.
There are several special areas of conservation in the park and Coillte is currently involved in restoring native woodlands to important sites in the park. There are 313 hectares of mixed woodland, 8km of multi-purpose way-marked trails. There are a number of looped way marked trails in the park to suit all visitors. They vary from the multi-access trails suitable for wheelchair users and family walkers to the longer Curragh and Glenisca trails suitable for those looking for more demanding walking and cycling.
Visitors to the park can also enjoy some other well-known Limerick attractions, such as the turrets and towers of the 19th century castle built by the Earl of Limerick. The little Kiltulla church nearby is said to date from the 9th or 10th centuries. Northwest of Curraghchase House is the ancient Killeen church.
There are also two children’s playgrounds, picnic and barbeque facilities.
Curraghchase Forest Park: Gallery
King John’s Castle, Limerick
Back in January this year I took a weekend trip to Limerick on the river Shannon, to King Johns Castle located at the high street end of the town.
The Castle is a 13th-century construction located on King’s Island in Limerick, next to the River Shannon. Although the site dates back to 922 when the Vikings lived on the Island, the castle itself was built on the orders of King John in 1200. The walls, towers and fortifications remain today and are visitor attractions.
The remains of a Viking settlement were uncovered during archaeological excavations at the site in 1900
If you are passing this part of the world the Castle is well worth a visit as is a walk around Limerick city itself. You can go on a loop river walk that lets you see every part of the city from the river bank. There are many pubs and coffee stops along the way all with a great view of the river.
The arrival of the Anglo-Normans to the area in 1172 changed everything. Domhnall Mór Ó Briain burned the city to the ground in 1174 in a bid to keep it from the hands of the new invaders. After he died in 1194, the Anglo-Normans finally captured the area in 1195 under King John. In 1197, local legend claims Limerick was given its first charter and its first Mayor, Adam Sarvant. A castle, built on the orders of King John and bearing his name, was completed around 1210.
The castle was built on the boundary of the River Shannon in order to protect the city from the west and from any rebellion by Norman lords to the east and south. Under the general peace imposed by the Norman rule, Limerick prospered as both a port and a trading center, partly due to the castle acting as a watchdog on any cargo passing through the port of Limerick.
The town of Limerick became so wealthy during this era King John set up a mint in the North West corner of the castle, with pennies and half pennies from this time available to see in Limerick museum today. A 1574 document prepared for the Spanish ambassador attests to its wealth:
Irish Passage Tombs
Located on the side of Duntryleague Hill, County Limerick and the westerly extension of Slievenamuc hill is a passage tomb. The Tomb was constructed for Olioll Olum, one of the early Kings of Munster.
The name Duntryleague is derived from Dún-Trí-Liag, meaning the fort of three pillar stones. Diarmuid and Gráinne are also said to have rested here in their flight from the angry Fionn Mac CumhaillWell.
The route through the forest leading to the burial ground is accessible and leads to this amazing rock structure of the tomb. There is one enormous rock slab resting steadily across a number of famous cairns which measures approximately 25m north -south and 22m east-west. Continuing on from the cairn you come across many natural viewing points which extend over the terrain of west Limerick.
Olioll Olum, was a King of Munster, who died in 234, he is said to have been progenitor of most of the great families of the south of Ireland. He married Sabia, daughter of Con of the Hundred Battles, ruler of the north of Ireland.
He willed that after his death the sovereignty of Munster should vest alternately in the descendants of his son Eoghan Mor (the Eugenians, or Eoganachts, occupying the southern part of Munster), and those of his son Cormac Cas (the Dalcassians, occupying the northern part of the same province).
The images below include some landscapes of the surrounding mountains, this is not a bad place to be laid to rest.
Gallery of a Passage Tomb
Sunday evening and it’s time for one final walk of the weekend.
I love to find a long lane to walk down then stop for a while, rest against a gate and just take in some views of the Irish country side.
These images are of the Galtee Mountains in counties Limerick and South Tipperary, just before the sun set.
I have included a poem below.
By John Montague
The sounds of Ireland,
that restless whispering
you never get away
from, seeping out of
low bushes and grass,
heatherbells and fern,
wrinkling bog pools,
scraping tree branches,
light hunting cloud,
sound hounding sight,
a hand ceaselessly
combing and stroking
the landscape, till
the valley gleams
like the pile upon
a mountain pony’s coat..
Its the weekend so why not find a long country trail to walk, take some time to sit down a look at the views.
Clear your mind and relax……