Walk 3 ... The "Ben hill lisheen loop"
The third in a series of walks in aid of Ballynacally Community Centre took place on Sunday September the 10th with registration at 10.30am for an 11am start. This 6.5Km walk began in Irelands newest village Drumquin and proceeded up Ben Hill to complete the Lisheen loop. The hall committee asked for €5 per person or a donation with all proceeds going towards the hall Maintenance. The hall committee are thankful of the support they have received on this and on previous walks..... and for those who helped out on the day.........
Dolores Meaney gave a history of the following locations which were covered on this walk.
1. Factory Cross – This was the site of a forge that served the Cragbrien estate. In 1798, it was owned by a blacksmith called Leahy who agreed to make pikes as weapons for those planning the Rebellion in Wexford. The forge consisted of rough stone walls covered with a roof of straw or rushes. It was probably small but the number of pikes being made there earned it the name of a factory. The police of the time traced the pikes back to Cragbrien and went to arrest Leahy. When Leahy heard the horses approaching, he knocked the walls of his forge with an iron bar and tried to escape. He weighed 18 stone and was a strong man but he was caught by the police. He was offered his freedom if he gave up the names of those for whom he had made pikes but he refused. He was convicted and transported to Van Diemen’s Land
2. Killea Graveyard - Cill Aodha means the Church of Hugh. There is a tradition that the site was originally a cillín where unbaptized children were buried. It is now also used by local families. The graveyard is enclosed and, in recent years, a road and car park was provided to the graveyard. Mass was celebrated there in 2008 for the first time in living memory. The gravestones were transcribed by the local ICA and are listed on the Clare Library website. The oldest recorded grave was erected by Hanora Corbett for her husband in 1826. There is a holy well close to the graveyard dedicated to Aodh also. The well is said to cure sore eyes.
3. Cragbrien Castle and Cragbrien House. Cragbrien means Creag Uí Bhrian or Brian’s Rock. The name comes from Brian MacGillareagh, anglicised to Gallery, the family owned this land for hundreds of years, Their Castle belonged to Conor MacGillareagh in 1580. This old Castle was located to the north of the Cragbrien estate, no trace of it remains.
The Earl of Thomond leased the property to John Stacpoole in 1712 and this family built Cragbrien House. They owned it until the early 20th century. The house is an 18th century, 4 bay fronted L-shaped house. We will pass the main entrance to Cragbrien House and a second entrance is found further along the road. It had two gatehouses but only one remains. The Stacpoole family boasted a Count and a Duke – John’s son George was created a Count by King Louis XVIII and George’s son Richard was promoted to a Duke by Pope Gregory XVI.
4. Lime Kiln This is found to the left of the road opposite the gates to Cragbrien House. Limekilns were common features in the Irish landscape in the 18th and 19th centuries. Kilns burned limestone to make lime for use as fertiliser, whitewash or building mortar. This limekiln resembles the common design - built into a rockface with an egg-shaped chamber, an arch at the front and an opening at the top. Kilns were loaded from the top with fuel (peat or wood largely) and broken limestone and a high temperature was required to convert the stone to quicklime. The work was hard and could take a number of days but the crop was lucrative.
5. View of the Islands – this view over the Fergus Estuary Islands shows Coney Island/Inis Dá Droim and Deer Island/Inis Mór and across to Shannon Airport. A small island, Horse Island, is located on the shore at Lisheen. A larger Horse Island is found elsewhere on the estuary closer to Kildysert.
6. Lisheen. – Lios Ín means Small Fort named after one of the ringforts in the area. Two schools were recorded here in 1826 - one run by the Kildare Place Society with 7 pupils and a substantial building and the other in a thatched building with 148 pupils being taught by Terence O'Dea. The Kildare Place Society was set up in 1814 to promote education in Ireland with government grants and funds from voluntary contributions. These schools were open to all religions but some regarded them as anti-Catholic which explains the unpopularity of this example. Formal National Schools were setup in 1831.
The local National School for this area had been at Killerk on the border of Clondegad and Ballyea, it was built in 1852. It was burned down in 1921 and the local priest decided to move the school to Lisheen. A site was purchased from the Breen Family for this purpose. The new school opened in 1927. While waiting for the school to be built, classes were held in 'Coffey's Barn'. Thomas O'Mahony was the first teacher, he later moved to Ballyea N.S. Lisheen National School was closed in 1975 and amalgamated with Ballynacally N.S.
Video by Darren McMahon & Mike Kirwan
View Walk no 1 "Paradise" held in June 2017 click here
View Walk no 2 The cake walk held in August 2017 click here