Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Roscommon's Holiest Mountain"

The annual Sliabh Bán Pilgrimage in Co Roscommon takes place today.
 Sliabh Bán hill lies between Strokestown and Ballyleague, and the pilgrimage follows the route taken by monks who lived in Cloontuskert Abbey founded by St Brendan and St Faithleach in 520 AD.
So says the Shannonside News page.  And it points out that it will probably be the last one.  The powers-that-be have decided to install a herd of wind turbines that will effectively block it off.

What's being lost:

Sliabh Bán and its southern ridge Fairymount are both an intrinsic part of the Cruachan complex of archaeological sites near Tulsk, identified as the site the traditional capital of Connacht, and are named in the epic Táin Bó Cúalnge.
The mountain has at least seven ring forts on its slopes, two near the summit. Most of these are now visible only on the old maps, as Coillte planted spruce trees on and around them in the period before this became illegal.
Further testimony that the mountain was a place of religious significance in prehistoric and mythic times was uncovered by the local people who erected the cross on the summit in the Marian year of 1950; they discovered ancient bones when they were digging the foundations.
Sliabh Bán is threaded by an ancient walkway which connects Cloontuskert Abbey on its east, and Lisonuffy Abbey to its west. It was used by monks passing between the two establishments. In 2003 the path was cleared and made passable again in accordance with the 1840 map of the area, with the help of a FAS Community work scheme.
Coillte supported the FAS scheme that cleared the monastic track. However they have recently destroyed a section of it once again by widening an access road.
There is a 17th century Mass Rock on Sliabh Bán, and in 2002/3 a route to it was cleared by a FAS scheme in association with the local community. A photo and directions to it are available in the ‘Walking Through Time’ pamphlet. It is sited very near to a proposed turbine and it it doubtful whether it would survive the construction process: its peace and sanctity certainly would not.
Read the rest here.

The main page is here.

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