herald

Sunday 20 August 2017

Treading through the foothills that were once Fionn's hunting ground and Oisinn's place of old

Map: OSI Discovery Series, Sheet 50

First published in the Evening Herald on April 14, 1939

For many reasons County Dublin can claim that Glenasmole is unsurpassed by any Wicklow glen.

Here you have green fields and wild mountains, forests and heather moors, loud-foaming torrents and peaceful lakes, all in close proximity to the city.

To know Glenasmole in all its moods, to explore all the beauties of its little roads and byways, would take a lifetime.

Only a few viewpoints can be suggested here, for a hundred others await your discovery.

In this glen, say the legends, Fionn went hunting long long ago, and here Oisinn returned from Tir na nOg, and old age came upon him, when his feet trod mortal soil.

ENCHANTMENT

You will find that old enchantment has not all disappeared when one small glen can still present so many varied beauties.

The great barrier of the Six Mountains rises above Glenasmole on the west.

This splendid range includes five summits over 2,000 feet high, and at once claims attention, both for its own beauty and for the views it commands.

The Six Mountains as a whole can best be seen from the eastern road through Glenasmole.

This road is the first turn left beyond Old Bawn Crossroads and it climbs up by Bohernabreena Chapel, crossing that long spur from Mount Pelier, which comes down like a sheltering arm.

Turn right beyond the chapel and, after twisting a good deal, your road resumes its south-westerly direction, and the horizon widens ahead, to show the mountains grouped about Glenasmole.

schoolhouse

The finest view from this eastern road comes after you pass the schoolhouse, for the hillside slopes away, revealing the small green fields of Castlekelly, dominated by the giant flanks of the Six Mountains.

Before you rises Kippure; seamed by deep gullies, whence the Dodder rises.

Westwards lies Seefingan, while Corrig is on your right, across the lakes.

Descending into this enchanted land, you will find a magic air of peace in the still air.

Before you there is a little road which wanders up past the wood at Glenasmole Lodge, losing itself upon the bare moorland above.

You may notice a boulder on the right side of the road below the Lodge - this is said to have been thrown across the Six Mountains by Fionn himself.

Turning back here, you may reach the road west of the lakes by forking left.

This brings you home across the flanks of the hills, and now the charm of still lakewater seen through pine trees is added to the views of the encircling mountains.

At the Ballinascorney road, turn right, downhill to the Bohernabreena bus. Though all these roads are fit for cars, again I advise you to walk over them if you wish to taste fully the enchantment of Glenasmole.

This article has been edited and updated by Frank Tracy

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