Getting out in the fresh air and exploring our natural and built heritage is a great way to relieve the stress of living with the threat of our invisible enemy, the coronavirus! Especially with no football or hurling games or training to keep us Gaels occupied!
Carlow has so much to offer; around every turn or over every hedge row is a sight to behold or a site to explore! It’s amazing what you can visit in a couple of hours.
An exciting project is underway in Drummond, St Mullins. Efforts are underway to preserve and protect the only raised bog left in Carlow and the South East at Drummin.
I recall reading about this some time ago on the St Mullins Amenity & Recreational Tourism Group (SMART) website and a recent visit to the Abbeyleix Bog Walk prompted renewed interest in visiting and finding out a little more about the Drummin Project.
“Raised bogs are discreet, raised, dome-shaped masses of peat occupying former lakes or shallow depressions in the landscape. Their principal supply of water and nutrients is from rainfall and the substrate is acid peat soil, which can be up to 12 metres deep. Raised bogs are characterised by low-growing, open vegetation dominated by mosses, sedges and heathers, all of which are adapted to waterlogged, acidic and exposed conditions.
The majority of the Red Bog was acquired by the Bernstorf family, Berkeley House, New Ross, whose objective was its preservation and protection. To this end, Drummin Bog Committee was formed and received grant assistance from the Heritage Council’s Biodiversity Grant Scheme in 2015.
The grant was used to improve access, cut and remove coniferous and birch trees and dam internal drains to allow the Bog to begin to re-establish its biodiversity. Plans for the near future include the building of a pathway to provide safe access to the Bog as a local attraction and amenity for all to enjoy”.
Another website worth looking at to find out more about this wonderful project is The Drummin Bog Project.
I did a little more research and came across this magical piece of local folklore which is available on the Dúchas, The Schools Collection website:
Long ago two giants from Kilcrut started fighting in Doran’s bog. They kept on till both sank into the soft soil and were buried in the bog. Passers by the bog assert that, on a moonlight night, the shadows of the giants can be seen in the bog lunging at each other, and on a dark night weird noises are heard from the bog.
In Drummond lived a giant 6ft 8 ins. in height and he weighed 24 stones. It was no bother to him to carry a weight of 5 cut. He used to attend fairs and earn money by performing feats of strength. One day as he was driving a lady to New Ross he was held up by Highwaymen. The giant sprang from the car, seized the leader of the robbers by the neck & kept a grip on him till he collapsed. The other robbers flew away in terror & never again was the Drummond giant interfered with on the public road.
Colonel Egan who fought with Sarsfield at the Boyne, Limerick, Athlone & Aughrim returned broken – hearted to his native district after the Treaty of Limerick. He is buried in Cloneygoose cemetery and a great tombstone marks his grave. Colonel Cloney, the hero of the “Three Bullet Gate” at the Battle of Ross in ’98 resided in Courtnellan for some time – he is buried in St Mullins.
Art McMurrogh is one of our local heroes. He was poisoned in New Ross by a British Spy. When the van of his funeral cortage was entering the gates of St Mullins cemetery the end of was only leaving New Ross – it was 14 miles long.
Bloody Cromwell passed thro’ Borris after his destruction of Wexford & is said to have left a few of his soldiers behind on the rich lands of Ballytiglea.
About 20 years ago a wicked old man called “Patches” used to frighten school children on their way home.
A similar character was “Sabages”. This latter brandished a penknife. Of course the children were terefied of him. In Spahill lived an old Wizard called O’Neill.
One day a man from Scorth attached him. O’Neill turned him into a goat.
Isn’t that just class!
When that far south I ventured over to another important but little know site – Templemoling Cemetery which is obviously associated with St Moling. It’s a very peaceful and spiritual setting; this old cemetery has an interesting rock which supposedly features the footprint of St Finnian! It’s always superbly maintained with the outer hedge trimmed back and the grass regularly cut.
I was delighted to include this reference to St Finnian as on my cycle along the Columbanus trail last Autumn, I visited Clonard, Co. Meath where St Finnian founded one of the most important monasteries in Europe in the 6th Century. A great source of information is often the local parish website and the Myshall / Drumphea Parish site is particularly good with lots of information about the history of the Parish.
The story about the Giant fighting in the Bog came from the old national schools dotted across the parishes of the country, many of them sadly long since disused and now in ruins, just like the one at Rathnageeragh: