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IMG 20170614 132611Walking the Arigna Miners Way. 

The Arigna Miners Way has been on our list of walks, and after scouting on a Sunday afternoon drive it looks achievable. 

It should take about five days, there is not much accommodation in the region, as  the weather may not be settled enough for camping, leap frogging with two cars seems the best option. We have put a lot of time and effort into restoring the long wheel base Land Rover  "Jack the Lad" which is long enough to sleep in, this sounds like the perfect accommodation for this adventure. It's not far from home, so what have we got to loose.


Walking is the best way to get to know our local area, and get into those hard to reach places. IMG 20170614 100827














 Day 1

we set off from Arigna and left the pick up car in Ballyfarnon. It is a steep climb from the village up past the entrance to the Mining Experience, and on up the mountain behind.

The sinage at the first way marking is unclear, and we soon realise after passing briskly through a field of frisky curious horses,  that we were heading downhill probably  to Keadue. Not wanting to encounter the horses again we crossed rough terrain, and some fences before finding the marked track. A colour coding system might work better than three arrows pointing in different directions on mountainous walks. 

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There are harsh reminders here with many deserted houses and homesteads that once were home to the Miners who trod these mountains twice daily for their lifetime.

An entrance to a mine shaft with a religious statue of the Virgin Mary may have been some comfort to the Miners and their families as protection for their loved ones.

The grave and holy well of St. Ailbhe,  also a mark of their religious devotion stands on the side of the mountain.IMG 20170616 112242

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Although it's the middle of June and approaching the Solstice there are no other walkers about. Onwards and upwards before the decent to Geevagh and on to Ballyfarnon, a little village that previously we had no previous awareness of.  It is nestled under the mountain and has all the necessary facilities for a good stopping place for tonight.

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Day 2

A lakeshore walk through the grounds of Kilronan Castle Hotel leads from Ballyfarnon village to Keadue. This walk has a times past feel and it's easy to drift off into the imagination of real or otherwise.

This River washed stone used to create this hobbit style house feeds the imagination even further. 

From here the path is on and off road to the beautiful Village of Keadue, passin the Cemetry where O` Carolan the famous Blind Harpist is buried.IMG 20170615 095222





O` Carolan`s image stands tall on the wall of the Credit Union, and there are many other plaques and reminders throughout the village.

A music festival is held here once a year to honor his contribution to the music. 




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A new family have arrived at the edge of town, and are causing a bit of a stir


What a thrill to be in the right place at the time.

The walk through the woodland and along the lakeshore heading for Knockvicar was magical. From here the markers took us out onto the road which was about 2km from Knockvicar, but as we now believe that this stretch into the village has fast moving traffic, and possibly unsafe for walking. We were taken on a round trip possibly 10km at the end of a day`s walking it seemed endless.

Day 3

We slept on the banks of the River at Knockvicar. 

From here we walked a small section of this busy road ( not too bad ) we stood in on the bank when traffic was passing. Then we were on a small road which continued into The Lough Key Forest Park. The roads here are busy but safe as it is an amienity park and the traffic is prepared for walkers, children and dogs.

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A walk in this park with it`s lake and woodlands is magical at any time of year.

The park takes us all the way to Boyle in the now scorching sunshine, stopping off at the King House coffee shop for some home cooking, fit for a King..

It was a climb from here up over the Curlews and down into Balinafad. The day`s are long and the weather favours us. We hiked up the Brickleaves from the opposite side that we are used to, and up to Carrowkeel where we stayed for the night. IMG 20170614 132916








 Day 4

The view of Lough Arrow from here is spectactular, and we can see today`s walk ahead. We enjoyed the decent into Castlebaldwin. We walked down a track past a familiar house that we had once visited, but there was nobody home today. IMG 20170618 092517























Accross the fields from here to the welcome sight of the Bow and Arrow Pub

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Many a late great night was had here, It`s a great music house. Des Mc Donagh was a jazz musician, who also played Traditional Irish Music, and back in the day there would be a queue outside to get into his pub. His family who run the pub in his passing are no different and there is always a welcome on the mat.




Times have changed in the pub scene in the West of Ireand and the customers are staying home due to the conservative  thinking, and the pub culture that has brought us our tourists is in jeopardy.

Today is no different, as we are welcomed by Mary who is very interested in our walk and treats us to a little half one... that`s a measure of whiskey . We are welcomed to park up and sleep outside in our Land Rover.

 Day 5

                                                                                                                                                         From here we headed up through the grounds of Cromleach Lodge, over the Moytura hills, where the legendry battle was fought between the Tuath De Dannan and the Fir Bolgs.IMG 20170616 092355 













All seems quiet today as we move swiftly along the way. The way soon takes on a manicured look, through fields and on into a farmyard. We hoped to meet the person responsible for showing such love and respect on his land to the walker. In the farmyard a workman assured us that he wasn`t the one responsible but said that we were likely to see him further along trimming the hedgerows. 

As luck would have it, sure enough we met him just as the Boreen was joining the road, and he was lovingly, painstakingly, trimming away any offending protruding branch that might block the safe passage of any passer by. Our hearts smiled........

Back down into Ballyfarnon from a different direction, and into the final leg of our journey, here we took a track up a mountain road, very steep, which cut off Keadue and took us over Corry Mountain through the Wind Farm, where a new one was being erected, but alas there was " no work for anyone here today ". Back into Arigna village from the opposite side, it was a tough enough climb.

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There was a Honda 50 gathering in town when we arrived, we wished that we had Henrietta our Honda 50 with us, so that we could feel like one of "The Lads".  

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This is what it was all about.....Coal....

They worked here in the most dreadful conditions underground day after day to barely exist and feed their families.

 Man and Boy trod these tracks daily to and fro, not for pleasure, like we have just done, but to survive and to line the pockets of the Rich...................