The Kerrykeel Walk is 5.6km in length and takes approximately one hour and ten minutes.
Start the walk at the Garda Barracks. From the Garda Barracks proceed up the Ranny Road passing The Old National School which opened in 1958. Although now closed, the school still hosts local events and the Country Markets are held there every Saturday.
From 200-400 meters one passes the scene of The Battle of Ranny on the right hand side. During this battle six men were killed.
At 400 meters our climb is almost at an end. Turn around and enjoy the panoramic view. Mulroy Bay (Photo 1) is straight ahead and Knockalla Mountain - “The Devil’s Backbone” (Photo 2) is on the right.
From here there is another climb of 100 meters then a walk along the plateau. The townlands of Dunmore (‘large fort’) and Drumatrumman (‘of the elder or boortree’) are on the left.
At 1.7km turn left at the farm shed onto The Drum Road which connects The Ranny Road and the Line Road. 200 meters after the turn one passes The Beggar’s Lane, an old shortcut to The Line Road.
At 2.5km turn left onto The Line Road. 600 meters further on the right is the site of The Gortnavern Dolmen. This fine example of a Dolmen or Portal Tomb from the Neolithic period has a chamber of five sides set on edge and covered by a stone roof over 3 meters long and sitting 2 meters high. The tomb is difficult to get to and the landowner’s permission must be sought to gain access.
At 3.3km on the left can be seen the beautifully restored Dougherty’s Thatched Cottage (Photo 3).
300 meters further on one crosses the wonderfully named Stately Brig (Bridge). At 4km Mulroy Bay comes back into view.
At 4.6km after crossing Drury Brig (Bridge) one enters the townland of Drury. On the left is the birthplace of Billy Gillespie. William Ballintrae Gillespie was born in Kerrykeel on 6th August 1891. The son of a local policeman Gillespie became the first Irishman to captain an FA Cup winning team, captaining Sheffield United to victory in 1925.
At 5km one turns left towards Kerrykeel. A further 100 meters from the junction is the wonderful view of Mulroy Bay from the top of The Shilling Hill. There are a number of stories as to the origins of the name “Shilling Hill”. The first maintains that during the construction of the road workers were paid one shilling per week. Another story contends that an employee at nearby Matson’s Mill lost his weeks wages – one shilling - on the way home on the hill. Many people came out in search of the missing shilling.
The new National School, Scoil Cholmcille, is on the right at the bottom of Shilling Hill. The school opened in 1996 and replaced The Old National School (at the start of the walk).
At 5.4km Fiddler’s Green is on the left. At the end of the fair days all paper and wrapping materials were burned here. While the fire raged a man kept an eye on it and to keep himself occupied he played the fiddle, hence the name, Fiddler’s Green.
One crosses The Ford Brig (Bridge) and move from Ford Street onto Pump Street. Pump Street was named because of the water pump built into the wall which provided water for the locals before every house had its own running water (Photo 4).
On the right along Pump Street is Cow Hill or Cow Market. Kerrykeel had a fair day, held on the sixth day of each month, during which locals and visiting householders and farmers would meet to trade in livestock, fruit, vegetables, crops, homewares, and anything in demand. The Cow Hill was the centre of the fair.
At the end of Pump Street is the Garda Barracks and the end of the walk.
- Date: Wednesday, 25 May 2016
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