ByRoute 2.2 Co. Kilkenny (S) // Co. Cork (E)

These pages describe ByRoute 2 between New Ross (Co. Wexford) and its southern terminus at Cloyne (Co. Cork / East).

Mullinavat & Harristown (Co. Kilkenny / South)

Mullinavat (Muileann an Bhata “Mill of the Stick” (pop.1500) is a small town and district pleasantly situated in the scenic wooded valley formed by the little Blackwater River.

View over Mullinavat from St Brendan’s (Photo by moccafaux)

Tradition has it that the town’s curious name derived from a mill approachable only by means of a rough stick / plank over the even smaller Glendonnel River.

Mullinavat is very well known in GAA circles, and is  particularly famed for its hurling prowess.

The Rising Sun Guesthouse & Pub was originally built in 1644, and was long known as The Rising Sun Alehouse. It has been has been beautifully restored by its current owners Jim and Breda Phelan.

Tory Hill (294m / 966ft) is said to derive its name from a famous C17th raparee / tóraidhe (outlaw) called Edward Den, who based his operatios locally. The summit, marred by a hideous concrete cross, commands magnificent views of five counties. A collection of megaliths includes an unusual double court cairn. Frochan / Froccans / Frocking Sunday (the second Sunday of July) traditionally sees locals gathering the eponymous wild berries on the hillside. The forest road is passable by car but care is needed.

The Poulanassy / Clonassy Waterfall is a charming spot just a couple of kilometres from the village on the Piltown-Templeorum road. This is the perfect place for picnics and relaxing walks in the peaceful surrounding countryside.(Photo by Bummper2).

The Three Friars, located 5km south east of the village, are three stone pillars painted white to commemorate three men of the cloth killed by Cromwellian soldiers in 1651.

Harristown is notable for Leac an Scáil (“The Stone of the Warrior” or “Spirit Stone”), aka the Harristown Dolmen / the Kilmogue Portal Tomb, hidden in a hollow and, at least until recently, surrounded by bushes. One of the largest of its kind in Ireland, its portal-stones are 3.6m high, framing a fine door-stone 2.7 metres high. The dramatically-tilted capstone projects beyond the portal and reaches a height of 4.5m. Its lower end rests on a smaller, horizontal stone which partly covers the chamber.

(Harristown is believed to have been the birthplace of E. De Lacy-Evans, aka E. Tremayne, a champion ploughman, mining captain, married man and father who was discovered to really be a woman, causing huge scandal in Australia in 1879. Allegedly a cousin of the Sir George De Lacy-Evans, Irish hero of the Peninsular War, Waterloo, Spain’s First Carlist War (with the British Legion for Queen Isabel II) and the Crimean War, Edward / Ellen was said to be the daughter of a well-to-do Harristown farmer, and was last remembered locally as having caused a furore in the early 1850s when she rode her horse among the villagers at a gathering hosted by the Earl of Bessborough. The locals drove her out of town as an immoral woman).

Harristown is south of Knocktopher on ByRoute 3.

Templeorum & Owning (Co. Kilkenny / South)

Templeorum & Owning are historically interesting districts with many remains dating from ancient times, including Portal Tombs, Standing and Bullain Stones, dún forts, and early Christian church sites.

Templeorum (Teampeall Úna) is a curious name, the origin of which is surrounded by some mystery. Some say it should be rendered Teampaill Odhrain, after a saint called Odran / Otteran,  of whom little is known; he was long venerated in Waterford; indicating that he might have been a Scandinavian holy man revered by the Vikings. Others claim the district was named after Orum Walsh, an Anglo-Norman lord.

Templeorum was long at the heart of the area dominated by the Norman Walsh of the Mountain clan, whos principal residences were at Olcourt and nearby Harristown and Castlehale, and the most common name in the area is indeed still Walsh.

Tradition says that there was a bloody battle in ancient times between Templeorum and Kilmanahan.

Templeorum’s church of the Assumption (RC) was erected c.1810.

Nearby, a rather splendid old belfry stands in solitary vigil at the entrance of a graveyard.

Garryduff crossroads is the site of a tall Standing Stone known as Cloch Fhada.

Jamestown, an Anglo Norman settlement named after one of the Butlers of Ormond, also has a Standing Stone.

Glenbower Woods & waterfall feature in many local folk tales, some involving a Banshee and others a mysterious serpent.

Owning, formerly known as Beaulieu / Bewley, is the location of a  ruined Anglo-Norman church, situated opposite the present church of the Assumption (RC) which dates from 1798.

This district has a rich tradition of folkore, explored online by historian Mary O’Shea here.

Owning is within easy reach of Kilkieran on ByRoute 3.