|‘Stone Circles of Cork and Kerry’ suggests parking at the road junction and approaching the hill from the West. I parked on the junction as suggested, opposite a gate to a field full of cows. That’s the one, I told myself, leapt the gate and set off. Crossing the field, I was aware the cows were watching me. As I’d passed them and was starting to climb the hill, I heard the thunder of hooves behind me. I turned to find two of the beasts charging me! I waved my stick while backing away, which confused them for all of 5 seconds before they started forward again. Luckily I was close to the electric wire fence, and ducked under it quickly. The power wasn’t on, but I hoped they didn’t know that. I’m sure they could have uprooted the fenceposts easily by just leaning against the wire. They came right up to the wire, and looked around the corner of the hill, where I’d started climbing. I looked back to find they’d doubled their numbers! I continued up, but drew a complete blank. I was on the wrong damned hill, trapped by a herd of manic cows! Maybe waving my stick hadn’t been such a good idea…
I looked around, and found another trackway up the adjoining hill, so decided to try my luck that way. On top of this hill, I found two very sad looking stones. Surely this can’t be it? Half a page in Roberts’ book for this? I looked around, almost in desperation now, and spotted, just on the brow of the next hill along, what might have been a glimpse of a stone. No turning back now I thought, and made my way across. Electric wire was everywhere along the field boundary, which also had a substantial hedge. Milling back and forth, I found only one spot that looked traversable, and what looked like a droveway on the other side.
I clambered through and let myself down, only to find myself being sucked under into very soft earth. I lost my balance whilst trying to reach firm ground on the bank, slipped and put my hand down into a bed of nettles! “This can’t get any worse”, I thought. “There’s nothing left to happen. I’ve been chased and trapped by cows, sucked at by the ground, and my hand bloody stings all over! Get some dock, quick.”
Back on firm ground, I started toward the crest of the hill, when I spied more cows looking at me. For once, luck was with me when I saw at least two lengths of cattle wire separating us. And there were the stones! I boldly marched up to take my pictures. Sadly, the ground was too overgrown to actually enter the circle and I didn’t want to antagonise the cows any more than I had already done by approaching the boulder tomb a little way off, so I turned to try to find my way back to the car.
The droveway seemed the best idea, despite the soft ground, so I followed it for a short way, only to find it petered out after 50 yards or so. The farm was obviously in the other direction! Undeterred, I continued on through the nettles. Hey, my hand and leg were stinging like nothing I’ve ever felt before. There was nothing left to go wrong, was there? I came to a field boundary, like a small thicket, but one that the cows had been through before. The ground was soft here again, and there were other more obvious signs. Must be a way through then, right? Well almost. I battled my way through, then came to the ubiquitous electric wire fence again. A nervous glance around, no cows, and over we go. I’m now in a field, that appears to border a road, and there’s a gate! I rush across to it, scale the gate and find myself less than 50 yards away from the car. Sweet mercy! Back in the car and relating the adventure to Mikki, bugger me if the original bolshie cows don’t come right up to the gate where I started and look straight at us, as if to say “if this gate weren’t here, pal, we’d have you!” So take Jack Roberts’ advice and park where he suggests, but walk up the road a short way before looking to head across the fields.
This post appears as part of the weblog entry Ireland Excursion - Pt 2
Posted by ocifant
6th July 2003ce