This was probably the most scenic leg of the Ballyhoura Way – a fabulous walk, although the length of wet bog from the Base of Little Carron to Castle Philip was tough going in the heat. Other than that we felt blessed with the weather we got. Absolutely blessed!
It’s hard to believe that halfway through October we were walking in our t-shirt sleeves in temperatures of 17 degrees. But, there we were, even at the top of Seefin mountain, baked in the heat.
Can’t forget the importance of the logistics. We parked one car at our finishing point of Ballyorgan, then drove to Garrane (the Ballinaboola trailhead), parked the other car, and walked from there.
The sign below gave us a bit of a giggle because it happened to be pointing in the direction of the Ballyhoura Way and we had 16km ahead of us to walk. I’m glad we didn’t go the long way.
I love these stony trails which are typical of the Ballyhoura Way and of the Glen of Aherlow.
This part of the walk was probably the most difficult. The ground was very wet from all the rain in the week before, and it was tough going in the heat. Still, the views were spectacular.
When we reached Castle Philip (below), it was time for lunch. Apparently, according to information on the Visit Ballyhoura website, the rocky outcrop was used by Irish outlaws as a hideout in days gone by. Maybe there were a lot more rocks on it then because it doesn’t strike me as the best place to hide from anyone.
We detoured from the main Ballyhoura Route then so we could take in Seefin.
And the other Seefin. Yes, there are two of them, both commanding spectacular views. Descending from Seefin with the trig point was tricky enough. The ground was slippy and, although there’s a stepped boardwalk for part of the way, care is needed as it too was slippy, and damaged in places.
I took the photo below for no other reason than because it was cute.
Time for Coffee
We stopped at the Spruce and Willow in Ardpatrick for coffee and cake. We had passed this restaurant the previous week and said we’d go back. So, when we’d gotten back to the cars, we drove to Ardpatrick, just in time to get a coffee before they closed for the day.
We can confirm that the coffee and cakes are good.
Castle Oliver Gate Lodge East
En route home, we stopped at this gate lodge which I’ve learned is the East Gate or the ‘Raheenroe’ Lodge. It is just one of many follies and lodges that were built as a means of giving employment to locals during and after the famine. Have a look at TheIrishAesthete.com, BuildingsofIreland.ie and IrishStones.org for more information and photographs.
Castle Oliver, itself, which was the venue for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding, sold a few years ago for €3m to an Australian family who use it as a summer residence. If they are ever looking for someone to come in and turn the heating on in the winter, I’ll give up some of my free time to do that for them. I’m nice like that.