One of my regular trips in the past year has been to Mount Leinster in the Blackhills Mountain range. Most visitors (yes I did my bit for The Gathering) got taken here too while they were in Ireland. Mount Leinster itself (Stua Laighean) is the 5th highest in Ireland at 796m (2605ft) and is on the border of Carlow and Wexford counties in the province of Leinster.
There is a path up to the top of Mount Leinster ( the highest point in the photo above) but I have never been up there, worrying that the path was not open to the public because there is a RTE TV transmitter at the top and the tarmac road is barred by a gate. I have subsequently found that you can walk to the top so I will have to do that next.
In the meantime I have parked at the top of the pass between the peak itself and Slievebawn (above), a slightly lower peak with great views across several counties including Carlow.
The parking area is at a place called Nine Stones. The nine stones (tallest 45cm) are still there though no one quite knows where they came from. Choose from;
They mark the graves of nine rebels (against what I do not know) or nine chieftains.
They were placed there by early Christians as a religious symbol, being a triple trinity.
The burial place of heroes killed by Yeoman returning from the battle of Newtonbarry near Bunclody. You turn off the main road at Bunclody to get to Mount Leinster – well I do because I get lost of the Borris side!
Or perhaps nine shepherds are buried there.
Whatever the case, the walk up to the top of Slieve Bawn is a pleasant one, depending on the weather. The climb is not steep and it takes about an hour to do the round trip at a decent pace but you will want to linger and enjoy the views so allow a bit longer. It is windy up here, even on a nice day and the ground can be soggy underfoot – evidenced by the cotton grass and mosses let alone the puddles!
You can enjoy finding stones veined with silver too.
And if you are lucky you will see the ponies too which were near the summit at the cairn on one of my visits, in June.