Saturday night National League games are great! A big crowd in Netwatch Cullen Park to witness the opening game between Carlow and Wicklow which ended with honours even. That left Sunday free and a chance for a walk in the woods and plenty of fresh air! Christopher Somerville wrote a lovely book titled ‘Walking in Ireland’ with 50 walks scatttered across the country. Many of them featured in the Irish Independent and I was always taken with his beautiful sketch maps incorporating some lovely detail of things to watch out for.
The last time I was in Aghaviller was when I cycled through on an 80km loop out of Inistioge; I had a rest stop here and I was taken with the beautiful church ruins and Round Tower of this ancient site. Today I was out walking and I took the purple route through Castlemorris Woods which was a gentle 8kms with 170 metres of ascending.
It was a bit of an experiment today- I recently purchased a set of trekking poles to get my arms working more and assist with rehab. Although I’m still getting used to them they were great! I could really feel the benefit of the pushing action to activate my triceps and it’s a great way to get more from a walk than just leg exercise. The poles take pressure off the hips and knees. I’ll keep them in the car for future walks and handy for fending off any hungry dogs!
Every walk is different and while most of this route is encased in the forest, it’s a nice change of scenery, the surfaces are good and there’s a nice uphill pull in the middle section. This part of Kilkenny has some interesting heritage sites and makes for a good day out of you like to delve into our ancient past. Aghaviller has a terrific church ruin with a tricky staircase that you can climb to the roof which affords a fabulous view of the round tower.
Áth an Bhiolar (Field of the Watercress) was mentioned in the Annals of the Four Masters
I took Christopher’s suggestion on the way home and had a short stop off at Gáirdín an Ghorta, The Famine Garden. It’s so easy fly pass these little places and I was glad I did. The Great Famine was such a tragedy that decimated this country, sending millions to early graves or onto coffin ships looking for new beginnings in far off lands. Its a worthy memorial to our dark history.