Rothar Routes

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

Posts tagged ‘1798 Rebellion’

All in a Morning’s Cycle

Headed out this morning for Tullow with the intention of taking in a training session of a visiting county but that didn’t materialise. But the journey proved rewarding in other ways!

Travelling by bike makes it so much better for sight seeing, stopping and observing and today was a short route that packed in a lot of interesting views and history!

The first stopping point was at Grangeford to photograph the memorial to the 2006 World Ploughing Championships held on the Nolan farm. I remember it well. It was combined with the National Ploughing Championships which drew massive crowds as always.

Not much further down the road is a very important location in Irish history. How often do we pass Leamaneh Graveyard at Castlemore without realising the significant history attached with this area? For it is was along this road that Fr John Murphy ‘of old Kilcormac’ was captured by yeomen in 1798 and to then face a barbaric death and treatment after a military court-martial. Fr Murphy was ordained n secret during the Penal times and went to Seville for further studied. On his return he took part in the United Irishman rebellion in 1798. His last journey in County Carlow was after the Battle of Kilcumney (on the road to Goresbridge from Bagenalstown). The rebels were surrounded and outnumbered and eventually retreated in the direction of the Scullogue Gap. Fr Murphy branched off on a different route that took him through Kiloughternane, Ballymurphy, Rosedelig. He celebrated his last mass in Myshall before moving on towards Castlemore, Tullow where he was captured by yeomen. Brought to Tullow, courtmartialed and executed. His body was subject to horrific mutilation with his head placed on a spike on a railing and his body burned. He is immortalised in the ballad of Boolavogue:

‘And the yeos at Tullow took Fr. Murphy
And burnt his body upon the rack
God grant you glory, brave Fr.Murphy
And open heaven to all your men
The cause that called you may call tomorrow
In another fight for the green again’

Continued into Tullow, crossing the Slaney, Carlow’s second river and turning left in the square just before the statue of Fr Murphy. This road passes out by Fr Leo Park, which had been my initial destination, but I continued on out along the lovely quiet road through Ballymurphy and on to the Hacketstown road. A left turn took me back down to the Slaney

and back in the Carlow direction. Taking a right turn at Killerig for Castledermot I diverted to Ducketts Grove. Whether you approach Ducketts Grove from Castledermot side or Carlow side the Castle dominates the landscape. One can only imagine what to must have been like in its heyday. The family home of the Ducketts who held a mere 20,000 acres in the 18th and 19th century. Unfortunately it was destroyed by fire in 1933 and fell into ruins. It was acquired by Carlow County Council some years ago and they have done extensive works on developing the gardens and the centre as a visitor attraction.

I was on the home leg now with one final stop off point – Europe’s largest Dolmen at Browneshill. The capstone weighs in at a considerable 100 tonnes! How did they erect it? It’s now a major tourist attraction for visitors in the area.

Here is the link tot he route:

A nice spin on a Sunday morning.


Drummer’s Well

Drummerswell Narraghmore Co Kildare

Drummerswell Narraghmore Co Kildare

Nothing can match travelling bike; you get a great feel for an area and you get to see the little details that are never visible by car.

Cycling towards Narraghmore recently I spotted a memorial stone on the long straight up the hill, just after the athletic club. At first I thought it was a headstone for another tragic road accident but it wasn’t and the story posted on a board close by recounted a most interesting tale. I have reproduced below the detail on the board.

The Drummer’s Well, in Lipstown is of historic importance. It is situated by the side of the road near Lipstown House and has been unused for a long time, its history is not well known. Local historian Willie Kelly, late of Inchiquire previously recalled the history surrounding the Drummer’s Well.

The story surrounds the heroism of a 14 year old boy who sacrificed his life in the cause of ‘Irish Freedom’. The boy was the only son of an Englishman and an Irishwoman, and the family lived in England. He was scarcely more than an infant when his father, a sailor, was drowned at sea. As he grew up he listened avidly to his Mother as she told him of the trials and sufferings of the people of her native homeland under English rule. His Mother had been actively engaged in the Irish struggle in the West of Ireland before her marriage, but she had to flee the country to escape arrest and punishment. He heard stories from her about the methods used by the United Irishmen to send out messages to each other. One of the methods was by ‘Drum Beating’, this could be heard all around the countryside for miles around. At his insistence she bought him a toy drum. When he was eleven years old she taught him the drum beat signals that she herself had given during her active service in Ireland, but she did so only after pledging him to secrecy.

Two years later in 1797, the boy was drafted into the English army, where he was trained as a drummer. The following year the regiment to which he was attached was sent over to Ireland. In the 1798 rebellion he was with a company that was engaged in a battle around the Lipstown area. Greatly out numbered, the United Irishmen were preparing to retreat when the boy learned that the English soldiers were running out of ammunition. Thereupon he sent out this information on his drum. The message was received by the United Irishmen and they attacked fiercely and routed the English soldiers. However, the Captain in charge of the company was familiar with the drum beat signals and interpreted the information that was sent out. He shot the boy and his body was thrown in the ‘Well’. The United Irishmen learned of the boy’s name and home address from documents they found on his body but they did not disclose the information for fear it would be published in the English newspapers and focus attention on the boy’s mother.

Today the boy’s name is unknown in the locality but his memory is enshrined in the name ‘Drummer’s Well’.

Stone marking Drumerswell

Stone marking Drumerswell

%d bloggers like this: