The Nire Valley Walking Festival based in the heart of the Comeragh Mountains, Waterford, Ireland.

Follow a fairy calf.

RidgeCould you be tempted to climb a hill to follow a calf? You might be, especially if that calf was on Knocksheegowna peak, part of Knockanaffrin ridge. Local lore tells us a "fairy calf" rises out of the waters of Loch Mohra and sits on top of Knocksheegowna, the calf has a way to lure you up to the peak, it looks like a quite, well bred animal it would compliment your herd, all you have to do is climb to the top and take it. Only problem is it will take you before you take it, for the fairies will take you to their world. You were warned, after all Knocksheegowna means "fairy calf hill".

 

This is not the only magical bovine to be found in the Nire or the Comeragh Mountains. The Glas Gaiibhneach is said to have visited Glenanore. The story of the Glas Gaibhneach, as collected in the Ordnance Letters of John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry (1839) goes as follows.


In the northern part of this Parish of Kilnaboy (Clare) is a Townland called Teeskagh and near it a mountain called Slieve na Glaisé, the mountain of the celebrated cow called Glas Ghoibhneach, said to have belonged to the smith, Lon Mac Loimhtha, the first that ever made edged weapons in Ireland. He was a Tuatha De Danann by nation, and lived in a cave in this mountain unknown to all the Scoti except the few who lived in his immediate vicinity.

Lon was for many years supported by his invaluable cow called Glas Gaibhneach which used to graze not far from his forge on the mountain of Sliabh na Glaise which abounds in most beautiful rills and luxuriant pasturage. This cow he stole from Spain, but after having settled with her in various parts he came at length to the resolution of spending his life here, as being secure from enemies by the remoteness and natural fastness and then inaccessible situation of the place, and as he had found no other retired spot in Ireland sufficiently fertile to feed the Glas but this. This cow would fill with her milk any vessel, be it never so large, into which she was milked, and it became a saying in the neighbourhood that no vessel could be found which the Glas would not fill at one milking. At last two women laid a wager on this point, one insisting that no vessel, be it never so large, could be found in Ireland which the smith’s cow would not fill, and the other that there could. The bets being placed in secure hands, the latter lady went to her barn and took out a sieve which she took to Slieve na Glaise, and into which, by consent of Lon Mac Liomhtha, she milked the cow. And behold! the milk, passing through the bottom of the sieve and even overflowing it, fell to the ground and divided into seven rivulets called Seacht Srotha na t-Aéscaíghe, the Seven Streams of the overflowing. Taescach, i.e., the overflowing, is now the name of a Townland lying to the west of Slieve na Glaise. Clear streams of water now run through the channels then formed by the copious floods of the milk of the Glas, and one of them forms in winter a remarkable waterfall. On the east side of Slieve na Glaise is a small valley in which is shewn a spot called Leaba na Glaise in which this cow is said to have slept every night and near it another spot called the bed of her calf. The hoofs of this cow were reversed by which her pursuers (for many sought to take her away by force) were always deceived in the course she took, and the impressions of her feet are shewn to this day in the rocks in many parts of the country around Slieve na Glaise.

Next time you see a calf, don't rush after it.

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Superb Walking, Great Talking & Traditional Nire Valley Hospitality     Website by: Déise Design
Nire Valley Walking Festival
Superb Walking, Great Talking & Traditional Nire Valley Hospitality

Michael Wall 086 7702544 | Mary Wall 052 6136134 | Ann Kelly 052 6136939