Why North Tipperary: Paranormal Legends 2

Leap Castle

Welcome back, here’s the second part of the Nenagh Silent Film Festival’s post which looks at North Tipperary Paranormal Legends. This will conclude this post and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together:

Monahinsha AbbeyMonahinsha Abbey

Local Legends
Location: Monahinsha, Roscrea
Timeline: Unknown

Now here’s a strange one. Near Roscrea there’s a ruined church called Inishnameo, which may also be called Monahinsha. The story behind this goes that up to a couple of hundred years ago there was a fine lake at this spot with two islands in the centre of the lake. The larger of these lakes hosted a monastery which was founded by St. Hilary, while the smaller of these islands hosted a smaller chapel, but both islands also had their own legends. For the larger of the islands it was said that no female of any species could set foot on the island and survive, and legend has it that this story was tested with several female dogs and cats, while the the bushes and trees of the island was said to be filled with male birds, but no females who avoided the island as if the plague resided there. With regards the smaller of the islands, it was said that a person couldn’t die on this island no matter how sick they were and if a person on the island had an infliction, they would just waste away until they begged to face death by being taken from the island rather than suffering anymore. The lake around these islands was drained by the landowner about two hundred years ago and he barred all pilgrims from the area henceforth. No-one knows if the curse of these islands still persist to this day, so would you like to visit and find out for yourself?

Phantom CoachPhantom Coach

Night Coach
Location: Timoney Park, Roscrea
Timeline: Unknown

In Timoney Park, Roscrea, there is a legend that a phantom coach is often seen carrying the shades of the Parker-Hutchinson family towards their home, so watch out if you see a coach approaching in this area on late dark evenings, because you’d never know whats inside.

Sopwell CastleSopwell Hall

Haunted Screams
Location: Sopwell Castle
Timeline: Unknown

After Cromwell and his hordes  rampaged throughout the land, he rewarded some of his military leaders with land and castles and here at Sopwell Castle he rewarded the seat to one Thomas Sadleir. Sadleir changed the name of the premises to Sopwell Hall, which is a name that persists to this day. No matter what the name of the premises though, there is still a haunted scream which has being heard regularly within its walls. These screams are followed by the sound of a body being dragged down a staircase, which is thought to be the result of a body being dropped down the stairs. This manifestation is said to be a regular occurance as if is history is repeated again and again of a spirit which refuses to rest. The question is why and what horrible past is hidden within these historical walls?

View from the Devils Bit 2

View from the Devils Bit 2 (Photo credit: Donncha Carroll)

Devil’s Bit
Location: Templemore
Timeline: Since Ancient Times

Legend has it that the devil was being chased from Ireland by St. Patrick, but the devil came across a mountain near where Templemore is now located. For some reason or another the devil then decided to take a chunk from this mountain and hurled it in the air and the same lump of rock finished up where the Rock of Cashel is now situated, while the mountain range has forever since, is seen with a very noticeable large chunk missing out of it. Another version of this story says that after biting into the mountain his tooth fell out and formed the Rock. Of course, the legend has a few flaws, especially, well, its being around a bit longer than when St Patrick was around converting the locals, but there’s another version of this story. It has being well written of how the forming Christian church manipulated ancient legends to suit their own needs. An ancient legend states that an Irish hero was chasing a creature call the Cratnoch from the island. This creature gave birth to a number of other-worldly creatures including the Devil, but had met its match in Fionn Mac Cumhaill (whay-hay, Up our side). This thing was being chased out of Ireland until it came to the mountains near Templemore. Trying to slow down Fionn, it immediately bit a chunk out of the mountain and threw it at the Irish warrior, but this landed where the Rock now lays, while Fionn eventually caught up with the creature in Lough Derg, and supposedly defeated it there. So whatever you believe, or whether you don’t believe at all, the haunting, wonderful scene from the Devil’s Bit is very much well worth a visit.

Victorian PolicemanA Victorian Policeman

Haunting Manifestation
Location: Timoney, Roscrea.
Timeline: Since 1860

There is a story from the townland of Timoney, which is situated near Roscrea, of a local policeman back in the 1860’s named Dyer, who once swore to protect the area he patrolled ‘dead or alive’. After his death in the 1860’s, locals reported his ghost carrying out his promise. Is he still around this spot patrolling the townland from any wrong-doers, well why not visit and see for yourself?

Leap Castle

Leap Castle (Photo credit: AlisonKillilea)

A Collection of Hauntings

Location: Leap Castle.
Timeline: Since 1250

Leap CastleAnd so I’ve left the best till last. Just beyond the North Tipperary border into Offaly there lies the haunting legend of Leap Castle, which is known as the most haunted place in Ireland. Widely considered Ireland’s most haunted castle, Leap Castle in Offaly could teach Tim Burton a thing or two about the macabre. Centuries of odd accidents, strange occurrences and ill-repute can all be traced back to one family: The O’Carrolls.

The O’Carroll clan built Leap Castle around 1250 as their family stronghold and it passed from generation to generation without incident. Until there came a time when two ambitious brothers challenged each other for dominion over the castle and grounds. One brother was a priest, the other a successful military man. The two had never seen eye-to-eye.

Leap castleThe priest was giving mass in the chapel attached to the castle one evening when his brother burst through the doors and plunged his sword into his heart. Brother killing brother is an unspeakable sin, a desecration of the natural order. Since that day a relentless gloom clings to the castle. A mysterious ‘entity’ has ever since stalked the lower levels and dungeons of Leap.

During the 1900s workmen restoring the chapel discovered a hidden wall, concealing a room with a gruesome purpose. Instead of a floor, there was an eight-foot drop onto a wicked spike. The workmen removed layer after layer of human skeletons that were piled atop each other.

These are just a portion of the haunting stories linked to Leap Castle, and to this day locals dare not enter the castle grounds, but you can if you are daring enough… If a strange and ghastly smell should trespass upon your senses, run as fast as you can or you may be another ghastly page in Leap’s history. Hope you enjoyed the second part of a look at North Tipperary’s paranormal legends and I look forward to putting another one together for you next week. Boo for now!

Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee

Why North Tipperary: A Walkers Paradise 2

Puckane CottagesPuckane Cottages
Hello again and welcome back to Why North Tipperary – our weekly look at why we think it would be a good idea for you to visit North Tipperary, or for our locals to enjoy our local community even more. This past two weeks I have been looking at the many different trails around North Tipperary, and I hope you are enjoying this and that you might even give it a turn.
HurlingAncient Game of Hurling
Birchhill Loop:
The beautiful village of Upperchurch is located not far from the town of Thurles on the side of the Silvermines mountain range. This quaint village is twinned with their neighbouring parish of Drombane with regards many mutual aspects, including the Great Gaelic game of Hurling. Hillwalking is hugely important to this area and the locals strive greatly to promote the local tourism through hillwalking. The local loop begins in the town of Thurles and proceeds along the R498 road towards Nenagh. Follow this roadway until you get to a junction for the R503 (signposted Limerick) and continue along this path onto Dempsey’s pub. At this point you are just 2km from Upperchurch, but all this information can be picked up at the local tourism office, or online here. Along this loop you will encounter a crossroads with a stone nameplate, a Blessed Well, an old church and graveyard, you will walk through some dense local forestry and other local landmarks. Please enjoy!
Slievedaragh HillsSlieveardagh Hills
Loch Dhoire Bhile Loop:
The Loch Dhoire Bhile Loop is all about the development of a heritage, angling and conservation community. Nestling under the Slieveardagh Hills is an ideal location for sanctuary for a large selection of wildlife that includes birds (lapwing and fieldfare), whooper swans, ducks (teal, mallard, pintail) and wild geese. There has been constructed upon 70 acres, which was previously owned by Bord na Mona, a lake, two wetlands and a wildlife sanctuary. With regards this loop, from Thurles, take the N62 south for about 6km. Take a left at the crossroads, following signs for Littleton. You will take the R639 for a short period, before turning right in Littleton towards the village of New Birmingham. The trailhead is signposted approximately 4.5km from Littleton or 3.5km from New Birmingham.
View from the Devils BitView from the Devils Bit
Devil’s Bit Loop:
There is a legend in North Tipperary that not only did the devil took a bite out of the mountain that is now know as the Devils Bit, but the demon hurled the chunk across the countryside where it then landed at the spot which is now know as the Rock of Cashel – scientists have since shown that the same grain of rock that is found in the Devil’s Bit mountain is also found in the Rock of Cashel. Anyway, what locals will honestly tel you is that the view from the Devils Bit Mountain (478m) provides a view of the surrounding eight counties. Along this loop the walker will encounter plenty of forestry, some dizzy hillside paths and a plethora of majestic views. Coming from Templemore, follow the R501 in the direction of Nenagh and Borrisoleigh. After approximately 3km, there is a right turn signposted for Devil’s Bit. Continue to follow the signs on minor roads until you reach the trail-head. Again, you can find out all necessary information at a local tourism office, or online right here.
Slieve FelimSlieve Felim
Slieve Felim Way:
Now for those who love an ol’ long walk – a good stretch of the ol’ legs, there is the Slieve Felim Way to challenge you. this walkway stretches from Murroe in County Limerick to SIlvermines village in North Tipperary, which is a distance of approximately 44 km. Along the route there are the views from many different mountains and miles upon miles of rugged, wonderful and stunning scenery. This walkway commences with the Slieve Felim range to the south, valleys and hills run east-west in the general area. The 2,279 ft (694m)-high Keeper Hill – the highest mountain in the Shannon Region – comes into view as you move northwards through the Mauher Slieve Hills, which predominately lie to the east of the walk. The northern section is dominated by the renowned Silvermines Mountains and presents stunning views of Lough Derg and beyond. From different vantage points along the way, views of 4 counties are possible – Tipperary, Limerick , Clare, and Offaly – and you can also see sections of the lordly River Shannon as it winds its way to the sea. Although the trail is signposted in either direction, it is generally agreed that the starting point from Murroe and walking towards Silvermines offers the most rewarding experience. All information can be sourced at the Shannon Regions Trail here.
Clare GlensClare Glens
Clare Glens Loop Walks:
The scenery of the Clare Glens is regularly described by visitors as simply breath-taking. The Clare Glens is a wooded area situated along the North Tipperary – Limerick border. It consists of a wild dense forest, which is combined with the calm rushing of crystal clear waters. The Glen also consists of a picturesque sandstone gorge through which the Clare river flows, while there are a number of waterfalls that are dotted along the landscape. Directions to the trail-head begin from the village of Murroe on the R506 between Limerick City and Cappamore. Follow the signs for Clare Glens which take you north out of Murroe. Follow this road for approximately 5km to reach the trailhead at a car parking area on your left. Both loops
start and finish here. [Note: The trailhead is signposted from Murroe].
Lough DergLough Derg Scene
Lough Derg Way:
The Lough Derg Way is a spectacular linear route that stretches from Limerick City, to Killaloe/Ballina (26km) and from Killaloe/Ballina to Dromineer (43km). The route is located along the banks of the River Shannon, the old Shannon navigational canal and the eastern shores of Lough Derg. The terrain is a mix of riverbank, canalbank, forest track, open countryside, old roadway and minor road. The Lough Derg Way explores some of the fascinating heritage of the old Limerick Navigation system and showcases some of the finest scenery around Lough Derg. There are five different key trail-heads which provide information map boards and car-parking. These are situated reasonably close to necessary facilities such as shops, accommodation, restaurants and public transport. These trail-heads are situated as follows:
  1. Limerick City (Limerick City Tourism Office, Arthur’s Quay)
  2. Clonlara, County Clare (Centre of VIllage)
  3. Killaloe, County Clare & Ballina, County Tipperary (Information Maps on both sides of the river and a tourism office on the Killaloe side)
  4. Garrykennedy, County Tipperary (Village Marina)
  5. Dromineer, County Tipperary (Centre of Village)
Masked BallNenagh Silent Film Festival Masked Ball
And, sure that’s all for this week. Now I know there are a number of other walkways scattered throughout North Tipperary, but sure why don’t you come and try and find them yourself and then lose yourself in North Tipperary.  It’s always a good time to visit North Tipperary, but next February around Valentine’s Day maybe a perfect opportunity for you to take in some of the many trails of North Tipperary during the day, and some of the Second Nenagh Silent Film Festival during the evening. Till next week then!
Posted by Michael ‘Charlie’ McGee