Today, as a last minute decision, I took a hike in the mist and rain (it rained most of the weekend here, a huge amount yesterday). I needed some fresh air!
I opted for a new adventure today, and observed on my map an ‘engine room/army shelter’ which I believe was built by the British Army in the Glen of Imaal. There is a lot of history in this valley, and each time I visit, I find something new.
As you may remember or know the Glen Imaal is currently used by the Irish Defence Forces (Irish Army) as an artillery range – so I needed to check with them if I could use this route.
Clearance was granted so off I went!
The route itself is 90% gentle, and on forest tracks mainly but there is 10% of the route which is really quite nasty, especially after so much rain.
A short steep climb (thanking my hiking poles today, I had to come back down this way!) then onto the Table Track.
The Table Track runs from the end of the Glenmalure Valley and passes within a few hundred metres of the summit of Table Mountain. This track is very old and was used historically as an access route between Glen of Imaal and Glenmalure. I’d imagine many a rebel would have used this track moving between the Glens to avoid capture by the British. Something I found odd about the Table Track was the colour. It was bright green and grassy and stood out ominously in a desert of brown/purple heather!
Anyway, onto the shelter itself…. Well, it’s in a pretty sorry state and clearly not used/maintained by the Irish Army.
The roof has collapsed on one half and the second half looks to be set for the same fate in the next few years or so. Glad I went now! I am not sure when I would be able to visit this again.
It’s almost invisible from the side I approached it – it has the appearance of a small grassy lump, so a quick check in with the map was necessary.
The views from here were impressive though, and I must revisit in clearer weather.
Lugnaquilla was in cloud of course, 3 out of 5 days it is in this condition I believe.
One final point of historical interest is the Ogham Stone near the start of the walk. Knickeen Long Stone is a standing stone that features Ogham writing. This megalith stands about 8 feet high, with an Ogham inscription reading “Maqi Nili” – I think this translates approximately to ‘Of the son of Neill/Niall’. Ogham is an ancient British and Irish alphabet, consisting of twenty characters formed by parallel strokes on either side of or across a continuous line. An evocative monument to encounter indeed.
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