The townland of Boheh, Co Mayo contains a remarkable example of prehistoric rock art, the Boheh Stone, which dates from the Neolithic period (4000-2500BC). The stone can be found a
Balla Round Tower
There are two round towers on the CPHT, at Balla and Aughagower. They are well worth an inspection. Round Towers are tall, circular, stone towers that were mainly used as watch towers, bell towers, and places of refuge in times of attack. Most Round Towers were built between 875 and 915 during a recess in Viking invasions. The traditional Irish name for Round Towers is ‘’Croigtheach’’ meaning Bell house, however this particular Round Tower at Balla is locally known as ‘’Clogar Balla’’, meaning the Belfry of Balla. There are two Round Towers on the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail. This Round Tower has some unique mysterious features. There is an opening at the back for which no archaeologist has been able to determine a purpose. The opening is unique because it is located so low and suggests the Round tower was used to as a bell tower, rather than defensive purposes. The Round Tower at Balla is 10 metres high.
The remains of Gweeshadan Castle can be seen atop the hill while standing in Gweeeshadan Graveyard. The opposite side of the castle ruin, which cannot be seen from the trail, is the shape of a great arch. The castle stands 20ft wide inside. The castle is said to have originally been rectangular, however today only the remains of the east and west walls are standing connected by the remains of the roof. Gweeshadan castle was a Burke castle, and in 1574, it was occupied by Riocard an Iarainn, legendarily known as Iron Dick. He was the husband of the famous pirate queen Grainne Uaille (Grace O Malley) and the father of Tiobald na loinge, who was shot by his own brother in law and now buried in Ballintubber Abbey.
Doonamona Castle was built originally by the Normans as an Irish Tower House. When it was actually built, it was called the ‘’10 pound castle because of a grant of 10 pounds was given to build it. In the early 15th century, it was occupied by the O’Kellys of Uimaine for a short while, before being sold back to the Bourkes In 1574. Doonamona was owned by the De Burgos family, better known as the Bourkes. The castle remained in the control of Bourkes until it was taken over by Bingham who was known at the time as the Black Tyrant of Connaught. Doonamona castle was famous for being the place where the Indenture of Mayo was signed in 1586, after a majority of chieftains submitted to Bingham’s authority.
Tuffy’s Pub (Doonamona)
Tuffy’s Pub is located at the crossroads beside Doonamona Castle. The Public House was built in 1841, and five generations of Tuffy’s have since lived in it. The pub is a midpoint between Castlebar and Hollymount where people can meet up, laugh, tell stories, and come together as a community. Many local farmers and residents also frequent the family-owned pub. Walkers on the trail often usually here for refreshment on CPHT walking festivals
Clogher Heritage Centre
The heritage centre consists of Stauntons Forge and Clogher Heritage Cottage. This forge in Newtown has been rebuilt from a ruin by the local F.A.S. C.E. Scheme in 1999, the site and ruin were donated by the Staunton Family of Ballyheane, and the old forge was in the Staunton family since the 19th century. Patrick Staunton, head of the household was listed in the 1901 census as a ‘Blacksmith and Farmer’, his son Richard was also listed as a blacksmith. John Staunton who died in 1980 was the last of the Stauntons to operate the Forge. Every effort has been made to reproduce a typical one bedroomed Labourers Cottage; constructed in 2003 by the local F.A.S. C.E. scheme with the help of leader and locally raised funds and donations it includes a Cailleach Bed/Hag Bed (a bed in an alcove/recess) and a Loft. The Loft would have been used as extra bed space but currently houses an excellent display of Churns. Local residents have donated many of the articles on display. The site for this Cottage was donated by Mrs. B. Cosgrave.
Boheh Stone (St. Patrick’s Chair)
Sifnificant Neolithic Art Carvings Consisting of Cup and Ringmarks At Boheh, on the eastern approach to Croagh Patrick, ‘cup and ring’ marks cover the large natural outcrop of rock. It is known locally as St. Patrick’s Chair, but also the Boheh Stone. The Boheh Stone is almost totally covered in carvings, consisting primarily of cupmarks, many enclosed by one or more circles. There are also several unusual patterns known as keyhole motifs. This style of art dates to the late Bronze Age. In 1991 local historian, Gerry Bracken, discovered a unique event called ‘The Rolling Sun’. When standing at the rock, the sun appears to set on the summit of Croagh Patrick and then proceeds to roll down the right hand slope of the mountain. This event occurs on the Spring and Autumn Equinox.August 24th is St. Bartholomew’s Day, traditionally the first day of autumn and an important date for cereal production. It is believed April 18th had similar relevance in prehistoric times. The dates may have been used to celebrate the sowing and harvest seasons. The Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail hosts a walk to the stone on both occasions of the Rolling Sun phenomena. Next walk: 24th August, 2018 at 7:30 pm Meeting at Brackloon Community […]
The trail goes through historic Brackloon Wood, this is a typical Atlantic oak woodland of 74 hectares dominated by sessile oak.. It represents one of the last remaining areas of Atlantic Oakwood in Ireland and is of significant national and international importance. Many stories about caves, hidden treasure and ancient monuments are told about the wood. King Conor MacNeasa and the Red Branch Knights are reputed to have ridden along the secluded road winding its way through the hills and woods to the coast. In 1998 there was extensive research carried out in the Brackloon area to identify distinctive stages in vegetation development since the last ice age. According to fossil pollen at Brackloon Lough, tall shrub and open woodland of birch and willow were flourishing from 9, 000 BC. From 7,000 BC to 4,500BC, the expansion of deciduous woodland such as hazel, elm, oak and birch became very prevalent. It was not until 1,200BC that human interference is suggested due to the decline in elm, oak and alder. This also coincides with an increase in human activity in the greater Clew Bay area. The dominance of this natural woodland over several thousand years suggests there were small population numbers in the […]
Walkers on the trail sometimes continue up to the summit of Croagh Patrick. The mountain has been associated with ritual focus for thousands of years and it still is today. It is unique in an Irish and European context in that we have both the physical evidence of a major later prehistoric and early historic ritual, ceremonial and defensive focus combined with an unbroken pilgrimage tradition stretching back into the depths of recorded history. The main day of pilgrimage is the last Sunday in July (Reek Sunday)It is believed the earliest Christians arrived in Ireland some 400 years after the birth of Christ. At this time Ireland was deeply submerged in pagan ritual and tradition.
The trail finishes at Murrisk. The name comes either from ‘Muri Riasc’, which translates as ‘a marsh by the sea’, or the more romantic ‘Muir Iasc’, the sea-monster worshipped in pagan times. Overlooking the sea is the dramatic National Famine Monument, an outstanding John Behan sculpture, depicting a skeleton strung ‘coffin ship’. In the 1400′s an abbey was founded at Murrisk by Pope Callistus 111. Since then the village has been renowned amongst pilgrims worldwide as a starting point for ascent of Croagh Patrick and for the generosity of the hospitality shown.Long and sandy Bertra Beach beside the village has been awarded the EU Blue Flag.
St. Patrick founded a church in Ballintubber after he brought Christianity to Ireland c.440CE. Ballintubber Abbey was founded in 1216 by Cathal Crovdearg O Connor for the Canon Regulars of St. Augustine (The Augustinians) beside the 5th century Monastic site associated with St. Patrick. It became known as ‘’The Abbey that refused to die’’ after surviving much repression after the reformation, and burning by Cromwell in 1653. It continued as a place of worship during and beyond penal times, despite having no roof. Tioboid Na Long (son of Grainuaille), first Viscount of Mayo, is buried in the sacristy. Restoration works on the Abbey