Join us for a hillwalk in Gougane Barra, an area of outstanding natural beauty, which is historically famous for the site of St Finbarr’s island hermitage situated in Gougane Barra Lake. The scenery in this area is breath taking and it offers the walker a little time out in this peaceful valley. Cork’s River Lee has its source in Gougane Barra’s Lake, where it flows through Ballingeary and onwards towards Cork City. The lake is surrounded by towering cliffs, which are capped by heather and boggy upland heaths and provide spectacular hillwalking territory.
Four levels of walks are planned (trial, easy, short and moderate) with each walk taking different routes. New Walkers are always welcome to join us for a trial hillwalk before deciding to join the club.
Walkers can sign up in person in Counihans, Pembroke St, Cork from 9.00pm on the Wednesday before the Sunday walk or online at: https://www.corkbackpackers.ie/
The meeting point is on the South Mall opposite the Imperial Hotel at 8.45am. We car pool from there and leave at 9.00am sharp.
The name Guagan Barra derives from St. Finbarr, who according to tradition, built his monastery on the island here in the 6th century. Guagan was at one time part of the territories of the O’Leary’s who lost possession of the land in the plantation that followed the Cromwellian wars. Subsequently it passed to the Townsend family and ultimately the farming tenants under the Land Acts in the early part of this century.
The ruins on the island are not part of St. Finbar’s original settlement but were erected around 1700 by Rev. Denis O’Mahony who, following the footsteps of St. Finbar, retired to a life of asceticism here. Because of its isolation, in the days of the Penal Laws people travelled from areas far beyond the bounds of the valley to hear Mass in Guagan Barra. One of the most famous ‘Mass Path’ was that which led from the Borlin Valley to the west via Gowlane Stream and down into Com Rua by way of the savage cleft of Poll.