Between two roads

Eric Huang Upsplash Creative Commons

This is the story of a lane; not just any lane but a magical lane that meanders, undulating, from the lower road into Toomevara until it meets the upper road to Moneygall. It has everything you imagine of a lane in rural Ireland — grass in the middle, ancient trees arching over it, farmsteads and, in places, far-reaching views over the surrounding countryside.

The first half of the 20th century, when the mill at Springmount was still in use, it was the busiest road in the area. Between the old stone bridge over the Ballyfinboy and the mill race are the two oldest occupied houses. The beautiful Georgian Springmount House and, linked by a hidden old stone style, the pretty farmhouse, possibly predating it, with its ancient orchard standing on what was once a monastic settlement.

There are lots of stories from the past — of Mary the Hare running barefoot across the moor to Cloughjordan to replenish stocks for the shebeen; of the mill workers, who lived in the stone cottages, which that have since been demolished, walking on a Sunday afternoon along the banks of the river; of paths to a well where butter was made; and of Knockbrack, where there were once several cottages, where now just some of the old walls remain.

There is wild life in abundance; hares playing in the meadows, foxes on the prowl, pheasants and red squirrels, all enjoy life here.

This beautiful landscape, with its many trees, has mainly been preserved by the families who farm thelands on either side.

In the latter part of the the 20th century, the lane grew very quiet, and the lower entrance with it’s high hedges meant it was almost hidden.

The 21st century has brought some changes but to those lucky enough to have spent all or part of their lives in this lane it is a very special place.

Norah Brown ©

Originally published at www.idler.ie on April 8, 2016.