This medium-difficulty guided hillwalk first climbs the eastern Paps mountain, visiting the large megalithic tomb on its summit. We then descend to the ritual Iron-Age site of An Chathair, exploring its various monuments before returning along the beautiful Gleann na Fraochán valley.
The Mills Inn marks the start and end of our adventure. It is situated at the western-most end of the village of Ballyvourney, and if you arrive early grab a breakfast before we go!
- Introductions, let your guide know what aspects of the walk you’d most like to explore
- Gear check
- Explanation of route and safety precautions
- Drive to start of hike (own transport)
The summit of the Paps is indeed a magical place, with a mysterious tomb looking down on the country for miles around.
- Stunning views of Cork and Kerry, taking in expansive plains to the north and mountain ranges in all other directions.
- Learn about the megalithic tomb, here in this spot for thousands of years.
- Hear about the goddess Danú, to whom these hills are dedicated, and her mythical tribe that came to Ireland and fought the monstrous Fomorians.
We proceed to the prehistoric, and later Christian, ritual site of Shrone. In continuous use for thousands of years, this makes it one of the longest used ritual sites on Earth. The first Sunday in May, an ancient pagan festival date, still see crowds come here for religious purposes – although now reconfigured as Christian rather than pagan.
- Learn about the ‘city’ and the monuments around it.
- Hear about the Christian church adopted the pagan symbolism and characters – even the ancient war goddess Crobh Dearg, meaning ‘red claw’!
- Lean about the ancient feast days, including Bealtaine at the start of May – still an important date in the ritual calendar of this site.
The walk to the top of the Paps and on to Cathair Chrobh Dearg is an astounding adventure packed with ancient mystery, archaeology, and mythology. Mixing the Pagan and the Christian, you get a real feel for how ancient our culture really is!