THE LONG-LIST of 45 towns and villages from across the country that is being considered by Fáilte Ireland for the 2013 Tourism Towns Award has been announced.
Now in its second year, the award is designed to recognise Irish towns and villages where the local community goes “the extra mile to enhance their appeal to tourists”. The top ten towns each receive €1,000 with the eventual winner receiving a further €10,000, accompanied by marketing and development supports from Fáilte Ireland.
The top ten Highly Commended Tourism Towns will be announced at the National Tidy Towns Awards later in the year, and the overall winner to be announced in November.
Rossadrehid Village long-listed!
Lake Muskry 180 degree panaramic shot with Knocknakasteen peak on the left
Entry for Rossadrehid Village, Glen of Aherlow, Co. Tipperary
May 1st 2013
by Caitriona Kenny
1. Rossadrehid – Sense of Place
Rossadrehid village is situated at the east end of the Galtee mountain range in the Glen of Aherlow shaded from the south by the Greenane and Farbreaga ridges. The village lies comfortably on the end slopes of Knocknakasteen peak (south west) and between woodlands full of deer and wildlife and forest trials (south east). It is the gateway to Lake Muskry, one of the largest corrie lakes in the Galtee mountain range and is also the easiest to get to. Therefore, many people visit the lake on an annual basis passing through Rossadrehid and stopping at the local village shop for supplies, including hundreds of walkers taking part in two international walking festivals organised by the Glen of Aherlow Failte society, but Rossadrehid is also well-known for its picnic areas.
In the heart of Rossadrehid village is one shop, (Siopa Ros An Droichid), a beautiful grotto with a statue of the Virgin Mary alongside well-kept residential properties. Another notable feature is a lovely old building with a galvanised roof appropriately painted and an old water pump. On the outskirts there is a wildlife area and three picnic areas and within a short bicycle trip lays a heritage site called St. Berrihert’s Holy Healing Well & Kyle.
Our small village sits within the greater infamy of Galtymore Peak and the Glen of Aherlow with its rich history around the great war of independence and also the legends and myths about nearby Lake Muskry.
The local families of Rossadrehid have many stories of Irish Freedom Fighters being hidden in wood nearby whilst being hunted by the British army. White sheets were hung on the washing lines or green smoke billowed from the chimneys when the coast was clear and food and shelter were provided to the freedom fighters in the local village shop.
Siopa Ros An Droichid began in the mid 1800’s by John Peters, who later gave the shop to James Walsh, born in 1898, an apprentice barman in Mooney’s pub, Parnell Street, Dublin. James Walsh led an interesting life and a great part to play in the history of Ireland at the time of its fight for independence as one of the volunteers who would collect guns from the Asgard boat in 1914 with the likes of Dan Breen.
Lake Muskry was formerly known a Lough Beal Sead, ‘The Lake of the Jewel Mouth’, but it has also been identified as, ‘Loch Beal Dragan’, The Lake of the dragon’s mouth. Its present name, Lough Muskry comes from the Muscraighe sept that lived in the south of Ireland. The lake is said to have been formed on the spot where Cliach the harper stood for a year to serenade his beloved, the daughter Bodhbh of Slievenamon. It is also mentioned in one of the Shannon legend stories where the ‘Ol Nag’ or great serpent was banished by St. Patrick from Connaught and confined to Lake Muskry. In recent years, whilst re-arranging the water pipes from the Lake to Tipperary Town, it was rumored that the serpent might escape down through the pipes and burn up the town.
In the 1900’s Siopa Ros An Droichid was the hub of goings on in the local community alongside Mrs. Grogan’s shop, Mrs. O’Donohue’s Post Office, a thriving Creamery, Saw Mill, Old Forge, Dance Hall and Mrs. Paddy Quinn’s Cobblers. Walsh’s shop was one of the only five telephones in operation in the wider Bansha district area.
Today, still owned by the Walsh lineage, it serves the local community with groceries including; fresh free-range hen and duck eggs and fresh vegetables. It provides tourist leaflets, walking maps as well as postcards and quality framed local landscape photography.
2. Rossadrehid – The Tourism Experience
On Monday April 29, 2013 the Glen of Aherlow was placed within the top 25 holiday destinations in the ‘Irish Times Best Place to Holiday in Ireland competition’ and is one of only three inland destinations chosen. The beautiful village of Rossadrehid is one of only two villages in the heart of the Glen of Aherlow and is known for its rivers, bridges and picnic areas and as the picturesque village on the way up to Lake Muskry.
Rossadrehid offers a tranquil place to stop and picnic whilst enjoying breathtaking views. To get to Rossadrehid village you will drive through tree-lined roads with beautiful views of forests and you will meet magnificent memorable views of the Galtee Mountains at nearly every bend of the road. As you approach the village, well-kept bridges and picnic areas will entice you to stop and enjoy the fresh clean air.
The three Rossadrehid picnic areas offer a tranquil place for local families and visiting tourists to play and unwind. Children can enjoy paddling in the river or catching little fish whilst their parents can laze on the grassy banks and enjoy feasting at the picnic tables, all with the beautiful backdrop of the Galtee mountains on one side and the ‘40 shades of green’ ridge of Slievenamon on the other.
Nearby is the designated Wildlife area that boasts otters, mink and wild flowers. There is an information board at the site that was designed by local school children.
At 5pm, milking time, the kids can watch the cows mooch their way to the milking parlor and afterwards visit the local shop for an ice cream. The river at Rossadrehid flows down from Lake Muskry, through the village before it joins the famous Aherlow River that stretches through the Glen of Aherlow. A family picnic stop can provide hours of fun for children whilst the adults have a chance to ‘get away from it all’ and enjoy a peaceful few hours.
Gateway to Lake Muskry and the Walking Festivals
For walkers there is the 2-3 hour walk up to Lake Muskry form Rossadrehid Village. The walk is signposted and the village shop has maps and guides for the walking enthusiast.
The Galtees are Ireland’s highest inland mountain range, with a variety of peaks including Galtymore at 3,018 feet (919m). There are five corrie lakes on the range accessible only by foot to add to the peaceful attractiveness of the area. Twice a year the Glen of Aherlow Fáilte Society and the Galtee Walking Club facilitate two Walking Festivals. The Winter Walking festival has become one of the leading Walking Festivals in Ireland with 700 international, national and local walkers taking in the Galtees, Lakes and Slievenamuck hills.
St. Berrihert’s Holy healing well and Kyle
A cycle-ride away is the heritage site St. Berrihert’s Holy healing well and Kyle. This is one of 3 heritage Healing Well sites in the Glen and the feast of St Berrihert is celebrated locally on February 18th with local Mass and followed by rounds of personal prayer at the site.
The Village shop provides a friendly welcome, provisions, maps and information on the local sites and walks.
Accommodation & Things to Do
B&B’s, Farm Guesthouse, Country Houses, Manor Houses, Self-Catering Accommodation, Caravan & Camping and a 3-star Aherlow House Hotel will ensure you will receive a ‘céad míle fáilte’ on arrival.
Foodies can enjoy dining at the Tree-tops restaurant at Aherlow House Hotel run by the Vega, the classically trained Michelin chef, or dine at Ballinacourty House, a must visit on the ‘Tripadvisors’ website as is the Colonel’s Restaurant at Ballyglass House Hotel.
Activities include: Horse-riding, mountain biking, walking treks & trails, walking festivals, pattern festivals, Fonn Rince, (an annual sean nos with workshops and concerts), visiting heritage sites, making wishes at Holy Wells or fitting-in a round of golf just over Slievenamuk.
3. Rossadrehid – Local involvement in developing tourism
The Glen of Aherlow Failte Society and tourist information office sits in the heart of the Glen and this is where all the wheels are turned to create a cohesive and quality experience for tourists and visitors. Many of the local providers meet regularly to discuss enhancements to existing services and develop new ideas and innovations in creating new experiences. The Galtee Walking club works in unison with Aherlow Failte Society, SEMRA (South East Mountain Rescue Association) and local providers to deliver safe guided walks for the annual walking festivals and their annual marathon. All of the above-mentioned organisations assist in the creation of new walking routes and the upkeep of trails along with a very good relationship with Coillte.
To keep the village and picnic areas of Rossadrehid in good shape, the Rossadrehid Tidy Towns volunteers work in unison with Aherlow Failte and FAS and depend on the local community to keep the place litter-free. Rossadrehid Tidy Towns also communicates with South Tipperary County Council in relation to upcoming schemes and communicates often with Emly Tidy Towns for advice and guidance.
However, to bring us back to the present, Rossadrehid as it is today, is a beautiful picturesque village that offers a place to relax and ‘get away from it all’. A place to enjoy the songs of its rivers, to feel its soothing waters between your toes, to be a child again, get an ice-cream at the local shop and to share the story of ‘Ol Nag’ at Lake Muskry.
Its forests trails may lead you on the same path as feeding deer, the possible glimpse of their tail in the distance before they jump back into the thick woods. Rabbits will cross the roads in front of you, reminding you to slow-down, take it a bit easier… and in the evenings you’ll hear the bellowing song of the male deer serenading nearby females who may or may not respond to his advances. And all time, the constant river flows from the great Lake Muskry and as you look up, you’ll see the ever-changing light hitting the back ridges of Farbreaga and with a little learning – you’ll know what type of weather is coming.