Rothar Routes

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

Posts from the ‘Hill Walking’ category

Ballycumber Loop

One of my favourite walking destinations is just over the border in Tinahely, County Wicklow. The Tinahely Walkers Initiative have turned the village, of 2020 County Senior Football Finalists, into a bit of a walking Mecca. Full credit is due to those who banged heads together to arrange a series of looped walks in the area. It obviously took a lot of collaboration between landowners, who granted access, the local walking group, Wicklow County Council and the Heritage Council to develop the walks. Its a tremendous addition to the range of activities and locations for outdoor activity in the Garden County. Hopefully we will see similar initiatives in Carlow.

Short video taken along the Ballycumber Loop

There are three loops starting at the end of Mangans Lane: (1) Mangan Loop 9kms; (2) Ballycumber Loop 14kms; Kyle Loop 20kms. In addition there is the Railway Walk which links the village with the beautiful Tomnafinnoge Woods Loop.

Today, on National Walk Day, we chose the middle loop – the Ballycumber Loop. We couldn’t have got a better afternoon for a walk. This route is a stunner, a lot of it is on grass in the early stages, some on forest trails and part of it across the heather and fern filled open mountainside.

Big Sky country
The going is soft in places!
Magical walking surface!
Delighted to sit beside this memorial stone to Luke O Toole, first full time secretary of the GAA. Amazing to think that the area has also produced Hugh O Byrne of Rathdangan who served as GAA President and Jim Bolger of Clonmore who is current Chairman of Leinster Council.
Ballycumber Walking Loop

Devils Bit

I have to thank my father for passing on a love for all things Irish – our games, our culture and our heritage. Travelling along in the car we were entertained with quizes, ’20 questions’, ‘animal, mineral or vegetable’, geography and history!

We scanned the horizon for landmarks – who would see the sea first… ‘what’s that landmark over there’ and one that always caught my attention, as we drove south to Kerry on our summer holidays, was the Devils Bit!

View from the top of the Devils Bit looking south east towards The Blackstairs

Legend had it that the Devil himself (or was it Babs…!) bit a chunk out of the mountain and spat it out to form the Rock of Cashel! We were mesmerised by this stories and the journeys passed quickly.

Tipp’s Uluru!

Its taken a long time but I finally made it to walk up the Devils Bit today and what a day for it, blue skies and amazing scenery in all directions. I would highly recommend it as an easy hill walk and a great way to get an introduction to our hills and mountains.

It was also the location of a famous mass meeting in 1832 against the tithes, paid by Catholics to support the Protestant clergy and over 50,000 people are estimated to have attended to hear Daniel O Connell speak and for a symbolic burying of the tithes.

On the way up to the cross you pass Cardens Folly, a tower built by a local landlord, John Rutter Carden.

Cardens Folly

There is a nice Looped walk which takes about an hour to complete, it’s a steep rise at the start up to the cross and back down through the forest returning by the same path to the car park. I went back up as I wanted to walk to the top of the actual Devils Bit and it was well worth the effort!

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