Lough Graney and Flagmount Notes
Photo by Seamus Noonan
This is Lough Graney (5 x 0.5 km / 100 acres) which I never knew was the biggest lake in County Clare. I discovered later that it is particularly popular with pike anglers.
We met the farmer who owns Green Island, which is in the middle of the lake, at around
10 AM on the old Mass Path above Flagmount. I think he was heading up to KnockBeha
to check on his cattle. He was with his sheepdog. We asked him about Green Island and
he told us that it has been in his family since the early 1800's. It was before his time when last people lived there but he told us the ruin of the old homestead remained.
He asked us if we could guess how many acres it was. I guessed ten and he said it was six, but not a bad guess. Most people guess two acres. I learned later that parts of the lake are shallow enough to cross on horseback. Below: hiking down the Flagmount mass path.
Above: Donny, Jane Talbot and I outside the shop, post office and petrol station in
Flagmount. Flagmount is a small village named for its once abundant flagstones and one
of the main lakeside recreation centres for Lough Graney
Perched overlooking Lough Graney is the village of Flagmount. The late 18th century
poet Brian Merriman’s poem Cúirt an Mheán Oiche was inspired here. Merriman a
local hedge-school master, scandalised the establishment at the time with his social and political satire on rural Ireland. A commemorative stone to him has been erected nearby at Bunshoon Bridge between Flagmount and Caher.
Lough Graney and the River Graney are named after Gráinne, a mountain chieftain’s daughter said to have drowned herself in the lake, thus gaining the unenviable fame of being the first recorded suicide in Ireland. Some associate her with Grían, a Celtic sun goddess.
Cahermurphy ( Cathair mhurchu) is the lakeside Coillte forest park. We camped here. Andrew St. Leger from The WoodLand League told me that it a remnant of the great oak woods that once covered East Clare. These he said are recorded in the great epics. Andrew is a wood sculptor and a woodland activist living in Tuamgraney, Co Clare at the of the Slaughty's. Check out his work with The Woodland League