History & Hillwalking in the Galtees (7.4.2022)

Having missed out on an invite to Mitchelstown Castle- burnt in 1922 by the I.R.A.-We headed for King’s Yard. The shadow of the majestic castle would just about have reached said yard. (The stone of the demolished castle was reused to build Mount Mellary Abbey, Co. Waterford)
Michael Lydon was our well informed leader and Jane as sweeper personified diplomacy for those of us who tarried on the way. Against prediction the weather was kind and the route offered variety and acceptable challenge.

Pat C, sensitive to landscape, pointed out the faint outlines of potato ridges on high ground, reminding us of when a huge population forced the poor to till very marginal land to survive.

The inequality of one local family owning 100,000 acres and hungry tenants trying to live on
single digit holdings, helped explain why where we walked was a hot bed of agrarian
unrest, resistance and repression.
With the sun shining and with the best of company it was possible not to advert to such
awful times. Personal burdens could be temporarily parked and the beautiful
surroundings enjoyed.
As we returned to the car park, we met 40 Transition Year young men and their
teachers heading on a camping expedition. Long may youth endure.
Reaching the Firgrove Hotel, the style on view was impressive and the Confirmation
family groups were also making the effort!
After final farewells and “Thank yous” to Clare, Michael, Jane & the RTAl for yet another
enjoyable outing it was time to head home. The one hour traffic jam two miles out from
the tunnel must have upset many. We who had tramped in the Galtees were so chilled
out we elevated the stoppage to a minor highlight of the day.
Seán Ö Callanáin