Climbing Slievenamon

Everyone should put aside at least one day a month to go walking with family and friends. Whether its a stroll around your local park, a walk on the beach, or a climb up a mountain. A few Sundays ago myself and 7 members of my family decided to climb up Slievenamon. The name comes from the Irish “Sliabh na mban” or “mountain of the women”. Legend goes that Fionn Mac Cumhaill (An Irish warrior) decided to choose his bride from a race between a group of women. The first to reach the summit was the woman he would take as his bride. Fionn only had eye’s for one Irish woman though- Gráinne- and apparently he showed her a shortcut before the race so that he wouldn’t have to choose anyone else. He obviously had zero faith in her fitness levels!

Slievenamon is situated around 10km’s outside of Clonmel in Tipperary, past the village of Kilcash. Follow the signs through the village and around 1 km out the road you take a left turn. You come up to a farmyard and park your car here. The trail signpost is slightly hidden so keep a look out for it. We all got our car’s parked up and gathered ourselves together for the walk.

There is a muddy track that leads you up to a gate at the foot of the mountain. This is where the climb starts. There is a lovely memory seat here where you can stop and take a rest (before you actually need it) .There were 3 generations of the one family in our group so we all decided that we would all go at the pace of the slowest walker. This didn’t last very long! Jack, my cousin decided he was booting on ahead but in fairness to him he did wait for us in spots. The weather stayed on our side here for most of the day but there was cloud cover on most of the mountain for the day. There is a fairly pronounced path the whole way up (it used to be a road!) but very slippy and muddy in places so watch your step.

We had to keep reminding ourselves on the way up to stop and look around and take in the amazing views from up here. To the right of you you have the Galtee mountains and the Knockmealdown mountains. To the left then you have the Comeragh mountains in Waterford. At times we could see all the way over to the new bridge outside Waterford city.

Because none of us had done this climb before we weren’t quite sure where the top was and every time we came to the crest of a climb there was another steep climb in front of us. It wasn’t long though until we came to a concrete bunkhouse with “Baby Pat” written on it. Very random altogether but we knew we were nearly at the very top. From here it’s a level walk over to the summit pillar ,around 300 metres away. There is a burial Cairn up here also so we all congregated at that and nearly got blown away!

It took us around an hour and 15 minutes to reach the top here but we weren’t rushing ourselves at all. Previous seasoned walkers have quoted an hour and a half from top to bottom but I bet they weren’t taking in the views! We found shelter among a group of large rocks and Mary and Monica got out the flasks of tea and the sandwiches! At this stage we were all freezing so the tea was like a manna from heaven!

 The tea was quickly followed by a rendition of “The valley of Slievenamon!” and then we were up and walking again before our hands fell off with the cold! The way back down was sometimes as slow as the way up as it was quite slippy and steep in places. All of my very intelligent family had brought walking sticks with them but of course I decided I didn’t need one. I really could have done with one on the way down. In fairness, I think nearly every single one of us fell at one stage or another but there were no casualties thank god!

All in all we were about three hours on the mountain and that included the picnic and sing song at the top! A perfect day out and a great excuse to catch up with the family 🙂

Myself and Mam and Monica stopped in Kehoe’s pub in Kilcash on the way home and I can highly recommend their toasties! They had the proper big mugs for the tea also and a roaring fire. We will definitely be back.

I have attached some info on the mountain if you ever decide to do the climb! As always Happy Galavanting! xx

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