Pilgrim's Path - Ballycumber to Clonmacnoise

The main route crosses early historic Ireland

Trail Start/Finish Point: Ballycumber/ Clonmacnoise Length: 24.4km

Trail Way marking: Red

The main route (view map), crossing early historic Ireland from east to west was known as an tSlí Mór, the Great Road, and where it crossed the Shannon River lies Clonmacnoise, a place of peace and sanctity on the site of an ancient monastery which became a popular amongst pilgrims. The modern Pilgrim Path covers the stretch of that ancient road from Ballycumber to Clonmacnoise. The first major stop is Boher where the remarkable shrine of St Manchan, one of Ireland’s most important pieces of twelfth-century religious metalwork, is preserved in the Catholic church. Continuing to the Ballycumber to Clonmacnoise route, the road winds along the Esker Riada and provides an elevated view of the bog, rich in wild flowers and insect life. Doon Castle, approximately halfway along the route, was the fortified residence of the Mooney family in the sixteenth century and from here the route passes the small raised Mongan Bog, which lies to the south of the Pilgrim Path and is one of the few intact examples of its kind in the country, before progressing to its final goal, the ancient monastery of Clonmacnoise. Founded by St Ciarán in 545, the modern site is exceptionally rich in ecclesiastical detail and includes a pre-Norman cathedral, seven other churches, several high crosses and two round towers.

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