The Nire Valley

The Nire Valley
The Heart of the Comeragh Mountains.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Mid-winter's tale.- Visit Bronze age site at sunset on Mid winter.

Sunset Dec 21st
 At Newgrange a select few will get to observe sunrise on midwinter's morning, even fewer are luck enough to see the experience on a cloud free morning.  Newgrange is not the only site where such an ancient alignments occurs, they happen in various locations all over Ireland and one such place is Tooreen in the Nire Valley. 
21st December is the shortest day of the year with only a few hours of sunlight, but even 4,000 years ago they knew that the days would soon lengthen and grow warm. They knew because they constructed a stone circle that alighted with sunset on mid-winter that indicated when they reached the shortest day of the year. 
Would you like to visit the Tooreen stone circles on Saturday 21st December 2013?
Nire & Comeragh Guided Walks are leading a walk that evening to the site, join us as we celebrate a four thousand year old tradition in our twenty-first century world. We will take in both the stone-circle and the nearby burial site which is even more spectacular, because of the trees in the forest sunset cannot been seen from the stone circle anymore, we will go to the burial site and observe sunset from this monument.

Note because of the topography sunset is a little earlier here than elsewhere, we have to be in place at about 15:20 hrs, but it may not get dark for another 30 ins. If you are interested email me at

Stone Circle - Tooreen

In history's footsteps - walk to Liam Lynch Memorial.

Route taken by Gen Liam Lynch 10th April 1923.
The Nire Valley Bogtrotters Sunday walk on 24th November will follow, roughly, the route taken by General Liam Lynch on the 10th April 1924, the day he was killed, bringing an effective end to the Irish Civil War. After reaching the Liam Lynch Memorial tower we will pick up the Munster Way and follow it back to our cars parked near Newcastle.  
The Nire Valley walking club is the Nire Valley Bogtrotters, we walk every other Sunday from September to June, we walk, mainly, in the Comeragh Mountains. We also organise the Comeragh Bogtrot in March and are involved in the Nire Valley Autumn Walking festival in October. If you are interested in joining us send me an email to -

Gen Liam Lynch Memorial Tower.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Follow your calf.

Could you be tempted to climb a hill to follow a calf? You might be, especially if that calf was on Knocksheegowna peak, part of Knockanaffrin ridge. Local lore tells us a "fairy calf" rises out of the waters of  Loch Mohra and sits on top of Knocksheegowna, the calf has a way to lure you up to the peak, it looks like a quite, well bred animal it would compliment your herd, all you have to do is climb to the top and take it. Only problem is it will take you before you take it, for the fairies will take you to their world. You were warned, after all Knocksheegowna means "fairy calf hill".

This is not the only magical bovine to be found in the Nire or the Comeragh Mountains. The Glas Gaiibhneach is said to have visited Glenanore. The story of the Glas Gaibhneach, as collected in the Ordnance Letters of John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry (1839) goes as follows. 

In the northern part of this Parish of Kilnaboy is a Townland called Teeskagh and near it a mountain called Slieve na Glaisé, the mountain of the celebrated cow called Glas Ghoibhneach, said to have belonged to the smith, Lon Mac Loimhtha, the first that ever made edged weapons in Ireland. He was a Tuatha De Danann by nation, and lived in a cave in this mountain unknown to all the Scoti except the few who lived in his immediate vicinity.

 Lon was for many years supported by his invaluable cow called Glas Gaibhneach which used to graze not far from his forge on the mountain of Sliabh na Glaise which abounds in most beautiful rills and luxuriant pasturage. This cow he stole from Spain, but after having settled with her in various parts he came at length to the resolution of spending his life here, as being secure from enemies by the remoteness and natural fastness and then inaccessible situation of the place, and as he had found no other retired spot in Ireland sufficiently fertile to feed the Glas but this. This cow would fill with her milk any vessel, be it never so large, into which she was milked, and it became a saying in the neighbourhood that no vessel could be found which the Glas would not fill at one milking. At last two women laid a wager on this point, one insisting that no vessel, be it never so large, could be found in Ireland which the smith’s cow would not fill, and the other that there could. The bets being placed in secure hands, the latter lady went to her barn and took out a sieve which she took to Slieve na Glaise, and into which, by consent of Lon Mac Liomhtha, she milked the cow. And behold! the milk, passing through the bottom of the sieve and even overflowing it, fell to the ground and divided into seven rivulets called Seacht Srotha na t-Aéscaíghe, the Seven Streams of the overflowing. Taescach, i.e., the overflowing, is now the name of a Townland lying to the west of Slieve na Glaise. Clear streams of water now run through the channels then formed by the copious floods of the milk of the Glas, and one of them forms in winter a remarkable waterfall. On the east side of Slieve na Glaise is a small valley in which is shewn a spot called Leaba na Glaise in which this cow is said to have slept every night and near it another spot called the bed of her calf. The hoofs of this cow were reversed by which her pursuers (for many sought to take her away by force) were always deceived in the course she took, and the impressions of her feet are shewn to this day in the rocks in many parts of the country around Slieve na Glaise.

Next time you see a calf, don't rush after it.

Knocanafrinn Ridge.