The Emerald Ilse

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My first trip back to Ireland since I was a baby and I couldn’t wait to see my Irish family again. We were only there for a short weekend but we were determined to make the most of it.

Magic roads, waterfalls, mountains, Guinness and haunted mansions, read on for more!

Day 1

We arrived at Waterford Airport and picked up our hire car to drive to Faugheen, where my aunt lives.

As we arrived quite late in the evening, we had something to eat then went for a few quiet drinks at the local pub.

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Warm friendly people run the pub and they go out of their way to make you feel welcome. The pub also plays host to the anual Faugheen 50, so if you’re ever in the area, be sure to pop in.

Day 2

Today we would be driving to New Ross to visit family. Before that, we wanted to explore the town of Carrick-on-Suir, so named after the River Suir that runs through it.

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Fact – The river itself starts at Devil’s Bit Mountain, Tipperary and makes it way to Waterford Channel to join the Atlantic.

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The town itself is quite small; one high street, a couple of hotels, shops and restaurants and a supermarket. There’s also the West Gate and Ormond Castle which are worth a look while you’re in town.

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After a wander around town we made our way to New Ross to visit family.

Day 3

On the way back from New Ross, we passed through the town on Mullinavat. We made a short (uplanned!) stop off to visit Polunassy Waterfall (which explains my lack of appropriate clothing). It’s so secluded, you could easily miss it. And luckily we had the place to ourselves!

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Back in Faugheen to regroup before setting off up the Comeragh Mountains.

One of the more well known reasons for visiting these mountains are Mahon Falls. A beautiful Waterfall cascading down the rugged stone make for an awesome day out.

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Local folklore says that a few hundred years ago when witch hunting was still a regular occurrence, a witch was sentenced to death by drowning in the lake on top the falls. The legend also says that the witch’s evil spirit is trapped at the bottom, wriggling trying to free herself, and it’s this movement that caused the ripples in the Lake, and the continuous flow of the falls.

Another less well known reason to visit the area, is the Magic Road. The road on the way to Mahon Falls has its own story; if you park your car and release the parking break, the car will roll uphill by itself (thanks to the fairys).

The best places to park up are at the Magic Road rock or by the fairy tree (where the fairys live).

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Ok so there could be a number of reasons to explain this phenomenon, but I prefer the local story.

Theres also a gifting tree on the Magic Road, where you can choose to leave a gift which could be of use to someone else. The only rule is, if you take something from the gift tree, you must leave something in return. It’s a fair trade.

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After all the fun at the falls, we headed back into Carrick on Suir for dinner. Later that evening we were being taken to John Delaneys.

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Delaneys doubles as a shop and a bar. It’s one of the longest running bars in the local area, and gets pretty busy of an evening. Musicians from all over gather to play Irish music together.

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A lot of the time people come for the music and the atmosphere, but if you need a loaf of bread or some screws you can get them here too!

Day 4

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Today we headed to the Hook Peninsula to visit the spooky Loftus Hall. The Hall is pretty legendary in Ireland as people come all over to visit.

Fun fact – The term “by hook or by crook” is rumoured to have originated here. Apparently during the English civil war, Oliver Cromwell was determined to capture the Irish county of Waterford either by Hook Head Village or by Crooke, a village on the other side of the Waterford channel.

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The ghost story of Loftus Hall.

The story is, that many years ago the Tottenham family with their daughter Anne, came to look after the hall for a short while, when the Loftus family were away. On a stormy night, a ship arrived at the Hook Peninsula and a tall dark stranger sought shelter.

The family enjoyed a few games of cards and Anne and the stranger grew close. During the final game, it was discovered that Anne was missing a card, and the household were about to accuse the stranger of cheating. Anne guessed she had dropped the card on the floor, and as she bent down to check, she found her card and discovered the stranger had a cloven hoof for a foot.

Anne screamed and the stranger knew he had been discovered as the devil. He instantly exploded through the roof in a ball of flame and dissappeared.

Apparently soon after the stranger disappeared, Anne became mentally ill and was kept locked away in her favourite room, the tapestry room.

She refused food and drink and sat huddled in the corner awaiting the return of her beloved stranger, but he never came. It is said that when she died, they couldn’t straighten her body so the coffin had to be built around her currled up corpse.

Legend says that to this day, the hole in the roof can never be repaired and some say they can feel Anne’s presence in the hall.

Safe to say after the tour was over I was glad to have made it out alive! We were told that on Halloween, the hall hosts an overnight stay for those that are brave enough to spend the night.

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View of the Waterford channel

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After the hall we headed further south to visit Hook Lighthouse, which is one of the oldest functioning lighthouses in the world, and the oldest in Ireland.

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We had lunch in the cafe on site and explored the Lighthouse grounds, but unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to take a tour up the Lighthouse itself. We did however see Hook church and Slade Castle on route.

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On our way back to Faugheen, we decided to drive to the harbour town of Ballyhack and catch the ferry to Passage East.

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It had been a great trip so far, but seeing as it was our last night we had dinner together then took and evening drive up to Tullahought to view the Comeragh Mountains at sunset. After a pint of Guinness in the local of course.

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Day 5

As it was our last day today, we decided to do some souvenir shopping at a nearby town of Clonmel.

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Clonmel is a town in Tipperary and is situated further up the River Suir, mostly on its north bank.

It also happens to be home to a Bulmers / Magners cider factory.

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There’s only one high street for shops and not too many other places for souvenirs but we enjoyed our time here.

What I loved most about Ireland was it’s history. Everywhere you go there’s a Church, Castle, Tower or other places of historical significance. Not to mention plenty of tales and folklore to satisfy your curious side. I can’t wait to go back!

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2 responses to “The Emerald Ilse

  1. Pingback: Where has Em been? | Wanderlust Em·

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