The Three Sisters – The Barrow, The Nore and The Suir three mythical rivers on our doorstep. Lots of legends and history attached to all three and fantastic cycling route alongside all three. I only read recently in John Keane’s ‘Hidden Kilkenny’ of the Thatched Villages of South Kilkenny and cycling through them yesterday was like a journey back in time. Easy imagine an era when all houses were thatched; The villages are located in a curve in the River Suir that juts into Waterford. It really is unspoiled, a parallel universe where time has stood still. Remarkably John Keane mentions that the area even has a dialect that exists nowhere else and a form of English going back to Elizabethan times.
One of the cottages is the birthplace of Bob O Keeffe, after whom the Leinster SHC Cup is named.
It’s a fascinating enclave, off the beaten track; there aren’t as many of the thatched cottages still in existence as in times past and the remaining ones are in varying condition. But these are the real thing – these are not fake folk villages but a living breathing community. The River Suir is an important source for the reeds used to thatch the cottages and in times past, a plentiful source of salmon. Salmon fishing has been banned for the past three years and one local man I spoke to wasn’t to pleased with that!
I continued on towards Waterford, stopping at the impressive ruins of Grannagh Castle before heading onto Kilmacow, Slieverue and Glenmore with stunning views of the Barrow and Nore combined. Nice climbs to Glenmore and across to Mullinavat and onto Pilltown, my starting point.
The Hidden Ireland waiting to be explored on our doorstep.