Sugarloaf/Knockboy/Priest’s Leap – Sunday February 7th
Cork Backpackers Hillwalking Club has it’s next walk on Sunday February 7th.
New Walkers Always Welcome
There will be three levels of walk catering for beginners right up to those who want a more challenging day out mountain climbing.
The walk takes place in the beautiful Shehy Mountains which are situated just past the picturesque village of Glengariff in wild rugged West Cork. This area is dominated by the peaks of the Sugarloaf, Knockboy and the intriguingly named “The Priest’s Leap”.
The origin of the place name “The Priest’s Leap” is quite interesting. According to tradition in the locality it derives from an episode in which a priest pursued by soldiers escaped through having his horse make a miraculous leap from a mountain cliff in the townland of Cummeenshrule into the county of Cork. The pursuit of the priest began in the townland of Killabunane where a rock, which miraculously melted under the pursuing hounds, is pointed out to this day. The rock, deeply pitted with what look like paw marks, is situated close beside the main road from Kenmare. It is known locally as “Carraig na Gadharaigh” (i.e., Carraig na nGadhar or the Rock of the Dogs?). One writer remembers his father often pointing it out to him as a child when driving past the spot. Marks of the priest’s knees and hands and of the horse’s hooves appear on another rock a few miles from Bantry where he is said to have landed after his miraculous leap.
There is a description of the incident by a local poet T. D. Sullivan of Bantry who wrote:
“Look up! Look up! a soldier shouts: oh, what a sight is there,
Behold the priest on a horseback still speeding through the air!
They looked, and lo, the words were true and trembling with fright,
They saw the vision pierce the blue and vanish from their sight!
From “The Priest’s Leap” there is easy access to the summit of Knockboy (Elevation 608 metres) which marks the border between Cork and Kerry.