Slievenamon (Irish: Sliabh na mBan),”mountain of the women” is a mountain which is situated northwest of Carrick on Suir , offering a dramatic view from the top over the counties of Tipperary, Kilkenny and Waterford, with a height of 721 metres (2,365 ft) .The origin of the mountain’s name is explained in Irish mythology.
- According to the tale, Fionn mac Cumhaill was sought after by many young women, but he said that he could have only one partner. According to the tale, the hero Fionn mac Cumhaill was sought after by many young women. Fionn stood atop the mountain and declared that whichever woman won a footrace to the top would be his wife. Since Fionn and Gráinne were in love, he had shown her a short-cut and she duly won the race. The mountain was also known by the longer name Sliabh na mBan Fionn, “mountain of the fair women”. Another local explanation of the name is that from a distance and the right angle, the hill resembles a woman lying on her back.
- There are at least four prehistoric monuments on Slievenamon. On the summit is an ancient burial cairn, with a natural rocky outcrop on its east side forming the appearance of a doorway. The remains of a cursus or ceremonial avenue leads up to the cairn from the east. On the mountain’s northeastern shoulder, Sheegouna, is another burial cairn and a ruined megalithic tomb. They were seen as the abodes of gods and entrances to the Otherworld. Irish folklore holds that it is bad luck to damage or disrespect such tombs and that deliberately doing so could bring a curse.
- In Irish mythology, one of the burial cairns is said to be the abode of the god Bodhbh Dearg, son of the Dagda. Fionn marries Sadhbh, Bodhbh’s daughter, on Slievenamon, and their son is the famous Oisín.
- In one tale, Fionn and his men are cooking a pig on the banks of the River Suir when an Otherworld being called Cúldubh comes out of the cairn on Slievenamon and snatches it. Fionn chases Cúldubh and kills him with a spear throw as he re-enters the cairn. An Otherworld woman inside tries to shut the door, but Fionn’s thumb is caught between the door and the post, and he puts it in his mouth to ease the pain. As his thumb had been inside the Otherworld, Fionn is bestowed with great wisdom. This tale may refer to gaining knowledge from the ancestors, and is similar to the tale of the Salmon of Knowledge.
Interesting Historical Facts
- The song Slievenamon, written in the mid-19th century by revolutionary and poet Charles Kickham, is a well-known patriotic and romantic song about an exile who longs to see “our flag unrolled and my true love to unfold / in the valley near Slievenamon”. It is regarded as the unofficial “county anthem” of County Tipperary, regularly sung by crowds at sporting events.
- The Irish Tricolour flag was first flown publicly by Waterford man and Irish American Patriot Thomas Francis Meagher in his native city at the Wolf Tone Confederate Club at 33 The Mall, Waterford on March 7th 1848.Soon after Meagher was part of the Young Irelanders 1848 Famine Rebellion. He was arrested and accused of high treason. On the 16th of July, just before his trial, he visited Slievenamon in Co. Tipperary and gave a speech to 50,000 people. Meagher, decorated with a fabulous Tricolour Sash fulfilled his February promise and baptised the country with his new flag saying these words:“…he [O’Connell] preached a cause that we are bound to see out. He used to say “I may not see what I have laboured for I am an old man my arm is withered no epitaph of victory may mark my grave but I see a young generation with redder blood in their veins, and they will do the work. Therefore it is that I ambition to decorate these hills with the flag of my country.” Thomas Francis Meagher
- Kilcash village , located at the butt of the mountain is widely known due to the great 18th century lament poem, which mourns the loss of the Gaelic Irish culture and also the destruction of the great oak woods of the area.
Much of its lower slopes are wooded, and formerly most of the mountain was covered in woodland. A low hill attached to Slievenamon, Carrigmaclear, was the site of a battle during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. On 23/24 July 1798, a pitched battle occurred between the United Irishmen rebels and Government troops. The rebels were easily defeated, and the unsuccessful Rebellion of 1798 was thus very short-lived.
Popular with Hikers , Slievenamon is a 3.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Carrick on Suir, that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, running, and nature trips. This beautiful trail is very easy to navigate and is straight up and down. It can be quite a challenging slope and is used a lot by mountain runners for training.
More information can be found here : https://mountainviews.ie/summit/95/