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Accommodation

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Accommodation along the way can take many forms and all vary in price and offer different facilities to walkers along the way which is why we would suggest to anyone who is planning to walk or cycle the trail to visit one of the following links : 

 

DiscoverIreland.ie, which is operated by Failte Ireland, features comprehensive information and listings for accommodation, activities, events, tourist attractions and Irish holiday special offers.

BandbIreland.com, which lists many B & B's, with its easy navigation and now offering user's a handy app, is another site which is well worth checking out...

 

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Public transport

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At Portumna;  Bus Eireann and Kearns Transport serve Dublin and Galway twice daily and a Local bus service serves the principal towns in the region at weekends.

At Aughrim; Buses go every half hour to Dublin and Galway and further links to anywhere in Ireland can be reached from those points by Bus Eireann and City Link.

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Clonbrock / Fohenagh

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The place - name Fohenagh is derived from the Irish word fothannan meaning thistle  - the village of the thistles. The Normans described the area as “ all waste and no man inhabited it.’’

Clonbrock and the Dillon family was amongst the first of the Anglo- Norman families to settle in Connaught.

In 1580 Thomas Dillon, Chief Justice of Connaught, purchased 3,000 acres of land   from Teige O Kelly .

At the time of  Griffeths Valuation in 1870 the Clonbrock estate in Ahascragh, Co. Galway amounted to 28,000 acres of land

Clonbrock House, now, in ruin as a result of a fire in 1984, was built by Robert Dillon, afterwards Ist. Lord Clonbrock and completed in 1788. It was designed by William Leeson replacing the old castle which remained intact until 1807 when it was destroyed by fire that resulted from a fireworks display on the estate to celebrate the birth of the 2nd. Lord Clonbrock’s son and heir.

Clonbrock estate was one of the best managed in the country,  largely due to the fact that the Dillons were the most resident of all Irish landlords and were hardly known in London. Fortunately the estate papers were bought by the National Library 1977 and the collection illustrates the very best management practice of any large estate in the nineteenth and twentieth century Ireland.

During Famine times Lord Clonbrock was described as one of the more considerate landlords maintaining a good tenant relations on his estates.

All this was to change however with Lord Clonbrock’s refusal to sell his land under the terms of the Land Act of 1903. The United Irish League started extreme agitation on the estate and forced him to sell. Six years later, and by 1914 most of the lands was in the hands of his tenants.

Robert Dillon died in 1925 without issue and the title became extinct and the mansion passed on to his sister Ethel Dillon. She in turn passed it on to her grand- nephew, Sir Luke Dillon Mahon and he sold the remainder of the estate in the 1970’s.

Photographic studio owned by Luke Gerald Dillon, 4th. Baron of Clonbrock and his wife Augusta who were keen photographers and built a studio and dark room at Clonbrock. They left a lasting legacy containing a collection of portraits of three generations of the Dillon family of  Clonbrock. The collection was acquired by the National Library of Ireland in 1977 and contains a collection of all aspects of life on the estate as well as photographs of the house itself, the servants, tenants and estate workers and community events involving the family.   

 

Thomas Coen was born in 1779 near Clonbrock House in a place known as the Island and as “ Coen Park’’ He was the very first name on the register of the newly built Maynooth College built for the education of Catholic priests in Ireland. He later became Catholic Bishop of Clonfert and became embroiled in controversy when John Wesley Methodist and the Evangelical Movement targeted Catholic children, setting up a school at Killure, in order to bring about their conversion to Protestantism.

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Killure

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Killure or “ church of the yew’’ is a small village on the fourth stage of the Beara Breifne / Hymany  Ways from Portumna to Balygar to meet the next stage of the journey northwards to meet with the Suck Valley Way.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that St. Ciaran once  considered  building his seven churches here, instead of Clonmacnoise.

Had it not been for the chance encounter by workmen of a red haired lady while building the second  church which caused them to flee the site and changed the course of monastic history in Ireland forever.

However, their eminent departure might have more to do with the fact that St. Ciaran got a more lucrative deal in Clonmacnoise.

 The surrounds of the unfinished church was used as an infant  burial ground with stones from the church used as markers for their graves including a holy water font, worn smooth by worshippers through the ages.

The three storeyed building, known locally as Killure castle, is a Tower House  dating from the 15th. to 17th. century

A standing stone, which folklore says may have sacrificial origons, may date back to the Bronze Age can be seen at Cappagh Bridge. It is a squat granite boulder, roughly D shaped in plan with a notable chiselled groove across the top. An “ axehead ‘’ was found nearby.

The Esker Riada and its exposed face  is a series of ridges stretching from Dublin to Galway across the midlands. These geological features were created at the end of the last ice-age when silt, sand and gravel were deposited by rivers of glacial melt- water under the ice. “Eiscir’’is a mound or an elevation and this was the highway used by travellers going from east to west through the midland bogs of Ireland.

We are fortunate that this part of the glacier has survived as many have been lost due to gravel extraction, forestry and being levelled by farmers for tillage and grazing.

The eskers have developed an abundance of their own species of rich flora and wild flowers.

Cloonigny Castle, now in ruins, with its moated site, was occupied by “Shane De Moy’’ (O Kelly) in 1574.

It is surrounded by a well preserved moated site. It is defined by two banks with an intervening fosse. The inner bank is well preserved and there is a mound defined by a scarp and an external  fosse. Close by is a ringfort containing a souterain.  

Killure bog due to the ecological importance of its plants and animals Killure Bog was declared a Natural Heritage Area in 2003.

It consists of raised bog and cut over bog and part of it is afforested.

Raised bogs are valuable wetland habitats and are becoming increasingly rare in Ireland.  These bogs once formed extensive wetlands over much of the central  lowlands of Ireland. Over milennia, they were intrinsically linked with Irish culture, but for the most part, they were considered wastelands, to be converted to more productive purposes on a large scale such as the production of fuel and horticultural peat.

There are sports grounds  in nearby Ahascragh where both hurling and soccer are played.

A particular attraction in the area is the participation by enthusiasts in vintage rallies.

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Aughrim

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Unless a visitor was well versed in the history of the late 17th and 18th centuries he would find it  hard to believe that the communities of Aughrim traces its roots back to the bloody hills and  valleys that was once the scene of the battle of Aughrim, the fiercest fight ever fought in Ireland’s turbulent and bloody history. By visiting the Battle of Aughrim Interpretive Centre you can relive the scene of  the fateful events the Battle of Aughrim 1691 where over 7,000 people lost their lives

 An interesting landmark is a solitary whitethorn bush known as St Ruth’s Bush where St Ruth is supposed to have been killed. It is marked as a National Monument.

After visiting the Interpretive Centre, a leisurely stroll through the adjoining Park, with its various displays,  will help the visitor to visualise the people and events that made and shaped Aughrim’s past.

 The 7,000 who fell at Aughrim are commerated by 22 foot Celtic Cross close to the now in ruin O’ Kelly Castle.

On the 10th. January 1603- the day  after the Shannon the hazardous Shannon crossing, O’ Sullivan Beara’s famished and battle- weary  convoy had their passage blocked at Aughrim Hill by two troops of cavalry and five companies of soldiers under the command of Captain Henry Malby.

O’ Sullivan Beare’s convoy scattered at the sight of this well- organised army. However, in a remarkable battle speech, O’ Sullivan Beare rallied his troops to fight, though vastly outnumbered, Henry Malby and Richard Burke, his senior officer, were killed.

Demoralised, the crown forces retreated to a nearby garrison. Despite his remarkable victory, O’Sullivan Beare and his camp, many of whom were wounded, marched 20 miles into the night to avoid further attacks from surrounding garrisons.

Points Of Interest Along The Way :  Aughrim to Killure

1 A standing stone which may date back to the Bronze Age can be seen at Cappagh Bridge. It is a squat granite boulder, roughly D shaped in plan with a notable groove accroos the top. An “ axehead ‘’ was found nearby

2 Esker Riada and its exposed face  is a series of ridges stretching from Dublin to Galway across the midlands. These geological features were created at the end of the last ice-age when silt, sand and gravel were deposited by rivers of glacial melt- water under the ice. “Eiscir’’is a mound or an elevation and this was the highway used by travellers going from east to west through the midland bogs of Ireland.

The eskers have developed an abundance of their own species of rich flora and wild flowers.

3 Cloonigny Castle, now in ruins, with its moated site, was occupied by “Shane De Moy’’ (O Kelly) in 1574.

. Close by is a ringfort containing a souterain.  

4 Killure bog due to the ecological importance of its plants and animals Killure Bog was declared a Natural Heritage Area in 2003.

It consists of raised bog and cut over bog and part of it is afforested.

Raised bogs are valuable wetland habitats and are becoming increasingly rare in Ireland