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Friday 20 October 2017

Lazy Man's Mountain

STROLL: In the fourth part of our series of original walks by JB Malone, he scales Seahan, a mountain close to Dublin which offers one of the most magnificent views of the city

Map: OSI Discovery Series, Sheets 50 & 56 or EastWest Map, The Dublin Mountains and North Wicklow

First published in the Evening Herald on November 3, 1949

The nearest of the "two-thousand footers" to the centre of Dublin, a definite "lazyman's mountain" and ideal for winter rambling - that is Seahan, 2,131 feet, standing near the northern end of the great crescent of mountains dividing the Dodder and the Liffey river basins.

The ancient name of Seahan was "Seavick na Bantree", which suggests some austere, bearded presence brooding over Glenasmole.

But there is nothing mysterious about Seahan today, for it is in fact one of the most straightforward of mountains and very easy to climb.

The natural starting point for Seahan is Bohernabreena. From the bus terminus, follow the road uphill into Ballinascorney Gap.

The Stone Cross at the head of Ballinascorney Gap is the next landmark, and here, turn left, taking the lonely road for Kilbride Camp that goes high across the shoulder of Seahan, its apex being 1,602 feet high.

Seahan rises imposingly beyond the long ridge of Ballymorefinn Hill, which now carries on its western flanks a flourishing Forestry Plantation, extending from the roadside almost to the ridge crest.

The top of the pass is the point to start the actual climb to Seahan summit, which is now only five hundred feet above and scarcely three quarters of a mile away.

The slope is gradual and the surface is a light growth of heather, succeeded on the summit by weathered turf. A small cairn marks Seahan top and it has undergone many transformations since my first visit there.

Quite a few of the many who climb up here "leave their card" by writing their initials in stones in the turf.

Seahan is a prehistoric burial place too, having two somewhat ruinous cairns, and as always at these ancient sites, there is a splendid view.

I consider that Seahan excels Kippure, giving a greater sense of height, because of the vast arc of level plains that can be surveyed from Seahan, to say nothing of the best part of Dublin.

The view south is also very fine, with the great domes of Seefingan and Seefinn appearing beyond the hollow of Kilbride Camp, while south-eastward, beyond the deeps of Glenasmole, Kippure shows its bleached white crest.

Close at hand, the straw coloured Corrig Mountain belies its name, being an unbroken expanse of soggy bog, but the rocks from which it was named lie hidden far below, on the flank of the mountain facing Glenasmole.

The descent from Seahan may be made northwards - that is, along the ridge-crest - over the successive summits of Ballymorefin and Slievenabawnoge.

SURFACE

The surface throughout is mainly heather and rough pasture, and down along the crest runs an old mearing dyke, an easy mark to follow.

There are a few scattered rocks to mark the top of Ballymorefin, and the forestry fence adjoins on the left. The ridge descends in giant steps, but before the final sharp rise to Slievenabawnoge.

Traverse the grassy top of Slievenabawnoge (unmarked by any cairn), then strike down north-west, emerging almost alongside the Stone Cross. Here turn right to make for the Bohernabreena bus terminus.

This article has been edited and updated by Frank Tracy

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