The Esker Walk

The Esker Walk

3 kms./ ¾ hour
Road and River Walk

A short byroad, track and river walk visiting the Timahoe Eskers. Suitable for families but be prepared to carry a buggy for a short distance.

A. From the village green, walk down the Portlaoise road, watching out for traffic. After c.10 minutes, turn right along a track.

Mill. After a short distance you pass an old corn mill on the banks of the Bauteogue River. This used water power to turn mill stones for grinding locally grown corn.

Bee Hives. Note the little cluster of beehives in a clearing beside the track but do not disturb! The bees collect nectar and pollen from nearby plants. The bee colony then makes honey from these materials which is used as a winter food source for the bees. If the summer is good and a surplus of honey is produced, the bee keeper will remove a quantity for human consumption.

B. When the track ends, continue on a path to cross the Bauteogue River by a footbridge. Reach a dirt track and follow this out to the road. Turn right to return to Timahoe.

Timahoe Esker. The low wooded hill on your left is an esker. An esker is a ridge of sand and gravel that was deposited by a stream or river during the Ice Ages, c.10,000 years ago. The countryside was then covered in various ice sheets. Meltwater running here and there carried stones and debris and deposited them in these sinuous banks. The esker is now preserved for future generations to see these glacial deposits.

Murder Road. According to folk memory the monastic community of Timahoe were slaughtered here in 1650 by Cromwellian forces. Recent Irish historians have discounted Cromwell’s brutal reputation in Ireland, putting it down to counter propaganda.

The Round Tower. For such a small village, Timahoe has a rich and interesting history. It all began around the 7th century when St.Mochua who founded many monasteries around the country, came and founded a monastery on the banks of the River Bauteogue. However in the year 919, the Vikings attacked and it took about 100 years for the monastery to be refounded by the O’Mores. The tower was built at the beginning of the ninth century and stands at 30 metres or 97 feet high. The door
is 4.5 metres or 15 feet above ground level, it was reached by a ladder which could then be pulled up to prevent attackers following. The doorway has a rounded head and is a fine example of Romanesque architecture in Ireland.

The Spider. Folklore has it that a man, Daniel Keane on the 2nd July 1827 climbed the tower walls without any assistance whatsoever and crowned this remarkable and daring feat by leaving his waistcoat on the top pinnacle of the tower. How he got down again is not recorded!
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