Rothar Routes

Cycle routes & pilgrim journeys in Ireland and Europe …..

Archive for ‘July, 2018’

The Pattern at St Mullins

Pilgrimage is back in fashion.Over 300,000 obtained the Credencial upon completion of the Camino Santiago in 2017, the ancient pilgrimage routes across Spain to the tomb of St James.

 

 

Old pilgrimage routes are being revived across Europe as people try to find a greater meaning in life or maybe just go for a long walk!

The Pattern at St Mullins is a 1300 hundred year old tradition linked to St Moling and St James. It is linked ot St James because the date is set on the Sunday before July 25th, the feast day of St James.I wonder was it ever a starting point for the Camino?

Each year thousands gather here to commemorate St Moling and to visit the graves of this picturesque graveyard and monastic site. The pilgrimage starts with the blessing of the water of the well with pilgrims drinking the water which reputedly has been responsible for many cures down the centuries. The water from the well flows through the mill race that Moling dug out over a period of 7 years Mass is then celebrated at the penal altar in the centre of the graveyard. During the time of the Penal Laws, celebration of mass was outlawed and had to be celebrated in secret and a lookout would have been placed on the nearby motte.

St Moling has attracted pilgrims here for hundreds of years to the monastery he founded in the 7th century; it is Carlow’s Clonmacnoise – the Book of Moling can be seen ion Trinity College, Dublin alongside the more famous Book of Kells.

The graveyard holds many famous remains, from St Moling himself, to Art Kavanagh, King of Leinster who was buried here in 1417 having been poisoned in New Ross. There are many graves associated with 1798 including General Thomas Cloney who died at the age of 24.

With the revival in pilgrimage across Europe, there is surely great scope to develop a Carlow pilgrimage route considering the number of really ancient and important ecclesiastical sites across the county associated with St Moling, Columbanus, St Fiacre, St Laserian and others.

Well worth a visit.

Standing Stones of County Carlow

In a week where significant new archaeological finds have been made in Newgrange i thought it appropriate to post this.

The words of Clannad’s hauntingly beautiful ‘Newgrange’ always come to mind when I pass the many examples of Standing Stones, (also known as Gallauns or Menhirs), that dot our little County: ‘The druids lived here once they said, forgotten is the race that no one knows…’. What these stones represent is lost in time.

A legacy of the Celts, they remain a mystery to us today – were they markers of some sort, burial or ritual sites?

100 Rathglass Ogham Stone

I have numbered the photos to identify them according to their listing in the brilliant ‘Archaeological Inventory of County Carlow. Two of these cary ogham inscriptions; ogham being an early form of writing consisting of lines and notches carved into stone and represent the oldest form of writing in Ireland.

They are an important part of our heritage and we are indebted to the landowners who have protected them and maintain that link with an ancient and mysterious celtic past.

100 Rathglass Standing Stones. A pair of standing stones

515 Patrickswell Ogham Stone

105 Williamstown Gallaun Standing Stone

104 Tombeagh Standing Stone

101 Tankardstown Standing Stone

98 Rathgeran Standing Stone

97 Leighlinbridge Standing Stone

87 Craans Ardattin Standing Stone

81 B Ballyellin & Tomdarragh Standing Stone. I spotted this in a garden – not sure it is authentic!

81 Ballyellin & Tomdarragh Standing Stone

79 Ardristan Standing Stone

78 Aghade Holed Stone 2018-04-15

78 Aghade Cloch a Phoill

 

 

Brandon Hill

Towering over the River Barrow and the town of Graiguenamangh, Brandon Hill offers spectacular views of the Barrow Valley, the Blackstairs and as far south as the Saltee Islands and west to Sliabh na mBan. Often as i cycled alongside the river I had the notion to climb Brandon for the view down into St Mullins. Lat night I went one better and cycled most of the way to the top and pushed the bike over the last few hundred metres. It was worth it! Here is a little clip of the cycle.

‘The most beautiful riverside walk in these islands’

“The most beautiful riverside walk in these islands” according to the writer and broadcaster, the late Dick Warner. Yesterday it was at its magnificent best. The traffic along the route and on the water was the busiest I’ve ever seen. Waterways Ireland have appealed the decision to refuse planning for a hard core cycle path along the river; it having been rejected by Local Authorities on environmental grounds.

I met a very large group of walkers from Dublin and Meath yesterday and chatting to them as I passed they were unanimous that walking on grass is so much better than a hard surface. They all hope the status quo remains.

Here is another very practical reason why converting the Barrow Way to a shared cycle path is a non runner. You can see on the video below just how difficult and dangerous it will be to accommodate mass cycling and walkers on a shared path.

 

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