Rothar Routes

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

Posts tagged ‘South Leinster Cycle Routes’

Brandon Hill

Towering over the River Barrow and the town of Graiguenamangh, Brandon Hill offers spectacular views of the Barrow Valley, the Blackstairs and as far south as the Saltee Islands and west to Sliabh na mBan. Often as i cycled alongside the river I had the notion to climb Brandon for the view down into St Mullins. Lat night I went one better and cycled most of the way to the top and pushed the bike over the last few hundred metres. It was worth it! Here is a little clip of the cycle.

How Can I Protect You In This Crazy World?

Basking in May sunshine, The Barrow Way can be seen in all it’s glory; this is no Theme Park, it’s nature at it’s finest. Appreciated by all who use it for it’s beauty and tranquility, it is a real national treasure. We are not endowed with vast areas of wilderness so this sliver of green along the Banks of The Barrow must be retained. It is Carlow’s number one natural attraction and must be protected.

Get out and enjoy it; there are so many sections to ramble along on a summers evening or on a lazy weekend beside a lazy river…..

Christy Dignam’s lyrics say it best…. ‘How Can I Protect You In This Crazy World’?

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Couldn’t resist going down south again this afternoon. Here is Clashganny to St Mullins but at 20 x speed!

The Faerie Queen


The Three Sisters

‘….three great rivers ran,
And many countries scowrd.

The first, the gentle Shure that making way
by sweet Clonmell, adorns rich Waterford:
The next, the stubborn Newre, whoe waters gray,
by faire Kilkenny and Rosseponte boord,
the third, the goodly Barow, which doth hoorde
Great heaps of Salmons in his deepe bosome:
All which long sundred, doe at last accord
To ioyne in one, ere to the sea they come,
So flowing all from one, all one at last become”.

The Faeire Queen by Edmound Spense


Winter Solstice at Knockroe

I included a visit to Knockroe Passage Tomb in my book ‘Cycling South Leinster’ on route no 28 – ‘Ollie Walshe Way’. South Kilkenny is a treasure trove of heritage sites, many of which are not sign posted, including this very important 3000BC Passage Tomb.

With today being December 21st, the Winter Solstice, I took a quick drive down to be present for when the light from the rising sun lights up the eastern Passage Tomb, as it has done since Pagan times. Of course the morning was cloudy and overcast but it did not take from the sense of occasion; the passing of the shortest day of the year; the birth of the sun. It is an occasion wrapped up in mystery and spiritual meaning.It is no surprise that the Christian Church aligned the birth of Jesus with the time of the winter solstice.

The early farmers fully understood the importance of the arrival of the sun and the potential for new growth and survival.

Those beliefs and associations are as important today as they were then. Man needs to live in harmony with the natural world.

Anyway it was a lovely visit this morning. A nice crowd gathered to celebrate and witness the occasion.

Eastern and Western Passage Tombs with solstice celebrators

A necklace of quartz stones surrounds the eastern Passage Tomb

Facing sunrise at Knockroe from above eastern Passage Tomb

Not as well known as Newgrange but there is always a nice gathering of locals and public at Knockroe

Stone decoration visible in the passage tomb – spirals on centre standing stone

Enormous amount of art work on the standing stones in the Passage Tomb

Gods Country!

Ballytiglea – Graiguenamangh – Ullard Loop

A blue sky heralded ideal conditions for a jaunt along the Barrow this morning; unfortunately by the time all the chores were completed it had clouded over somewhat. But then again there is no bad time for a jaunt along the River Barrow!

Today’s route was a short loop, just 19kms, starting at Ballytiglea Bridge. We – my 59 year old good friend Tommy Wogan (recently reacquainted with the benefits of cycling) and myself, continued on as far as Graiguenamanagh where we crossed the bridge and visited Duiske Abbey. Headed uphill along a quiet back road that passes the ruins of Ullard Church, not far from our starting point at Ballytiglea. The Church at Ullard was founded by St Fiacre in the sixth century, patron saint of Gardeners and Taxi Drivers! Fiacre was one of our great missionary saints who is revered in Meaux and Brie in France There is a handball alley created off the back of the Church! Ullard is a beautiful Church ruin, worth stopping at.

I would highly recommend this for an autumn cycle; the trees along the river are a feast of browns, yellows and reds. The Track was in good condition, though we did suffer a cloud burst and the surface became soft but passable.

The road out of Graigue climbs a little but the views over the river and towards the Blackstairs are immense.

Barrow and the Blackstairs

Cycling the Barrow Track

Ballykeenan Lock

Meandering River

Approaching Clashganny

Under the Beech Tree

Borris Lock

Boat Wreck

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