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Climbing Croghan Kinsella Mountain in 2022

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

There are some special days in all our lives that we will remember and May 12th, 2022, will forever be etched in my mind as one such day.This was Croghan Kinsella climb day.

I travelled with our walking group out to the Woodenbridge Hotel and drove along The New Line Road until we came to the “White Heaps” carpark. This is so called because of the cairns of quartz which may have marked prehistoric burial mounds in the area.

We could also have travelled from Gorey to Ballyfad to the same car park because this is located at the base of Croghan Kinsella mountain.

We arrived at the base at 10.30am for the start of the climb of Croghan Kinsella Mountain which lies 606 metres or 1988 feet above sea-level. It is classed as a moderate 8 Kms walk which should be completed in 2hours 20minutes. It was an ideal day for hill walking, and we had some fantastic views of the surrounding area. The summit of Croghan is a wonderful place to get an aerial view of Wicklow, Wexford, and The Welsh coast.

Today from the pinnacle of Croghan we looked across at the 925 metres high Lugnaquilla and peeped down on Aughrim and over at Croghanmoira and Ballinacor.

We clearly saw Ballinagore Bridge, site of the 1795 gold rush when 3000 ounces of gold were found. We discovered no nuggets of the precious metal to add to our personal wealth. There were also some Bronze Age graves or cists found here in this area.

In the background we were able to see Woodenbridge, The Vale of Avoca and Barniskey.

Arklow town and the Roadstone quarry were easily discernible as were Tara Hill outside Gorey with Greens Berry farm and other landmarks easily identified.

Snowdonia in Wales can be easily seen on a clear day. It was truly a breath-taking view and I just stood there in silence at the triangulation point on top of Croghan Mountain trying to implant the breadth of scenery and panoramic views in front of me on to my inner camera.

It reminded me of John Keats sonnet “On first looking into Chapmans Homer”

Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes

He stared at the Pacific-and all his men

Looked at each other with a wild surmise

Silent upon a peak in Darien.

It was windy and cooler on top of Croghan so once we had taken the mandatory photos to show that we hit the peak we hid behind some rocks for shelter to devour our snacks. We saved our banana skins to bring them home to our rose bushes because they are a great source of potassium when you dig them in around rose bushes. That was our gardening tip at the summit.

Once we were finished lunch, we stretched the limbs and readied ourselves for the descent which was nice and leisurely but equally challenging.

Croghan mountain is home to Raheenlesagh [the small grey rath or fort] windfarm. This was formerly known as Forde’s Hill and all this land was farmed by the Forde family from the 1700’s to the 1940’s. Since then, Coillte has planted and harvested trees while the current crop of 11 turbines was realised in partnership with the ESB. {Local notice board]

We stopped at some of the turbines and listened to their loud buzzing sound. They are the way forward for some power generation as we go down the green energy road and ease off on the use of fossil fuels.

Having reached the car park again, three and a half hours later, I checked the step count and distance travelled. I was delighted to find out that we had travelled 13,632 steps covering 9.4 Kilometres. Now there’s walking for you.

We are so lucky to have mountains like Croghan within easy reach of us. Coillte has developed a great series of trails and roads here as they transformed the mountain when the turbines were being erected. The paths and roads for walking and transport of materials are wide and are stone surfaced.

The Croghan or blue trail is the traditional walking route to the summit of Croghan.

Forde’s Farmhouse or green trail was sometimes used to go to dances in Ballycoog.

Bann River or red trail separates from the Forde Farmhouse trail after the Bann River source.

A neighbour of ours asked a man living near the mountain “Johnny where do you live?and he replied “Croghan” and they asked him where that was, to which Johnny replied “That’s a mile from the sky”. He could not have spoken a truer word as we were near the gates of heaven when we conquered Croghan and viewed the panoramic view unfolding before our eyes .Croghan is 606metres or 1988 feet high.

Sadly we discovered no gold in them there hills, unlike the hundreds of prospectors who descended on The Goldmine River in Ballinvalley in 1795 during the Croghan Kinsella Goldrush.

Walking with good company is great therapy for body and mind. It releases us from the stresses and strains of everyday living while the views both inspire us and transports us from our daily routines and give us new perspectives on the land we inhabit.

It is fantastic that so many people are taking to the roads and mountains and long may they continue doing so. It is one of the most therapeutic ways to stay healthy and well utilising our natural facilities and gods own purified fresh air.

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