Rothar Routes

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

Posts tagged ‘Carlow’

Carlow’s ‘Boyne Valley’ Revisited!

I love getting a Saturday afternoon to explore a bit of our historic and fascinating county. Today I went down South – again to the Rathanna, Ballymurphy area.

A phone call from Eamon Coleman a couple of months ago to tell me that he had cleared a path to the ancient rock art and holy water wells that are situated on his land had me planning to head down when football commitments allowed.

First port of call was Killoughternane

This single cell Church was built in the 5th Century by St Fortchern. There is a well across the road that has a really interesting history. It was forgotten about until 1880 when the land owner found a bottle with a message inside, written in a foreign language which when translated contained directions to the well! It must have attracted visitors from continental Europe at some point. This obviously created great excitement and the Well became a pilgrimage site with may cures attributed.

Subsequently a lady was cleaning out the well when she unearthed a mud encrusted item from the bottom of the well. It turned out to be a Chalice and Paten – probably hidden in penal times. The Chalice is now in St Andrews Church, Bagenalstown.

 

Headed over to Tinnecarrig Ballymurphy then to meet Eamon Coleman and view the rock art that is well hidden from view in an ancient overgrown graveyard on his land.

Its hard to make out the cups on this stone but if you look carefully you can see many deep cups peppered all over the surface. What did they signify? Who knows at this stage but its great see that rock art many thousands of years old is still present across the county.

Indeed you could say that this area is the Boyne Valley of the South as there are numerous examples close to the foothills of the Blackstairs!

One of the Holy Wells well hidden from view.

Holy wells or water fonts….

Time to head home but a short dash across to Rathgeran and Carlow’s finest example of rock art beckoned.

There are many more ancient heritage sites in this small area of the County – I often think we undersell what we have to offer…

 

Rathgeran

Heritage Week!

August 18 – Aug 26 is Heritage Week. There are thousands of events across the country and there a number in county Carlow too.

I never cease to be amazed by the number of heritage sites in the Count y, many are obscure, hidden away, little is known about them but they are important links with our past. Heritage Week is an opportunity to get out and about and maybe locate some of them and explore your local area.

During the year I visited quite an mont of sites and I have showcased them on the video below:

I hope to put up another post later in the week of other places of interest.

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

 

 

Carlow Camino Route

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Follow the link to the route maps!

The Carlow Way

I have spent a lot of time thinking about the Camino in Spain and about the beauty in our own County that is not recognised for what it is.

So I have mapped my own Carlow Camino. It is intended as a pilgrimage route – it visits many important ecclesiastical sites and honours our local saints who travelled to Europe and established famous monasteries across the continent.

I have cycled all of it and it is very achievable for anyone. The maps are designed with walkers in mind in 8 stages; cyclists of course will cover them much faster.

A large portion of it is off road – I wanted to enjoy nature and travel on traffic free paths. The roads I have used are mostly very very minor roads and all pleasant to walk or cycle.

I hope people will try it out – I know I will be doing it on fine summer days!

Been Camino!

Saint Mullins revisited

The ruins of the Ecclesiastical city of St Mullins as night closes in

The ruins of the Ecclesiastical city of St Mullins as night closes in

The ancient monastic settlement of St Mullins is truly the jewel in the crown of County Carlow.

Stunning natural beauty combined with it’s rich history does indeed mark it as a special place.

Stretching back to the legend of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and the Fianna and of course to the founding of the famed monastic site by St Mullins the area is of national significance and not appreciated enough by us Carlovians!

I called in today for a short visit just as light was fading; my words can never do it justice and it’s hard to truly capture the magic of the place with a few photos but here’s a few that record some of that important history!

The Cross of Moling

The Cross of Moling

 

Base of the Round Tower at St Mullins

Base of the Round Tower at St Mullins

 

 

Detail from the reverse side of the Cross of Moling

Detail from the reverse side of the Cross of Moling

 

St Mullins Monastic site

St Mullins Monastic site

Ballinalour Standing Stone

Ballinalour Standing Stone

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