Sandmill Strollers

We have had three walks since the last issue of Sandmill News and they have all been most enjoyable.

Our March walk was in the Lehaunstown area near Carrickmines. On St David’s Day in beautiful sunny weather nine Strollers (seven women and two men) met in the car park of Cabinteely Park and House. The house was built in 1769 for Robert Nugent, a man who amassed vast sums from marrying wealthy widows! The country house is set in 45 acres of parkland and an ideal starting point for a pleasant walk up Lehaunstown “Lane” with little traffic once leaving Brennanstown Road. The gently rising lane crosses the LUAS (green line) before reaching two important 10th and 12th century crosses close to Tully Old Church (in ruins) and graveyard. The current housing development sees the incorporation of these historic monuments in “Tully Park” which is advertised as “a gorgeous 22 acre space that is centred on the ruins of Tully Church and slopes down towards the Green Line at Cherrywood”.

We wished to see these monuments while they still were located on Lehaunstown Lane in their natural, accessible and wild settings before being sanitised and becoming part of this enormous new town development. One of the crosses (which is in a field) that we visited on a previous walk in October 2015 is now blocked off by steel barriers and also we were unable to access the Glen Druid valley. This what we could do in 2015: There was a charming walk along the river running through Glen Druid, a walk through lands soon to be built upon before visiting the historical sites at Tully and Lahaughanstown. The old church at Tully dates from the 12th century and close by are two crosses; one is in a field on the opposite side of the road from Tully Old Graveyard and is a tall narrow cross with a bishop on one face and a head on the other – which is where we posed for a photograph. (MW)

The current development on each side of the lane, which will become a greenway, leaves one a little confused as to its final outcome as there are many crossing points and little evidence of housing layouts. The noise level increases as we approach the pedestrian bridge crossing the M50 and we were happy to reach the calm of the continuing right of way, which has been recently landscaped, and the tarmac route and the gently sloping steps around a copse of trees. At this point we turned for the return The local photographer, John, is very familiar with the area and offered to show us the route (through NAMA owned lands, but don’t tell anyone) to access the Glen Druid Valley and its Dolmen. With alacrity, Margaret accompanied him for a brief exploration and decided upon a return visit at a later date. Meanwhile following her disappearance into the wilderness with a strange man, the rest of the Strollers at the side of the Lane awaited Margaret’s return. This was a most worthwhile detour so Margaret and Eric returned the following week to explore the area. Just fantastic, and we must plan a return to show the rest of the group – and we saw an owl in a tree! What an amazing wild place in the midst of housing development – but for how long?

The April walk for the Strollers commenced in Barnaslingan car park and led us to a wonderful viewing area overlooking the Scalp, with the Enniskerry Road winding its way southwards. It is a short walk but a very rewarding one. There was a smaller number than usual on this month’s stroll due to Covid and holidays. Nonetheless, the group had fun and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the walk from Barnaslingan Car Park through the magical woods. Felling is underway which opened up unexpected views across the countryside. The smell of pine was wonderfully strong. The walk was described as a “figure of eight” as we went on a loop of the wood and then crossed the road and set off for the Carrickmines Chimney, stopping to examine the brick and stone built flue which snaked up from the valley below. This flue carried the fumes to the imposing chimney and although now covered by brightly coloured gorse is still accessible in places. We stopped to wonder at the exposed tunnel where young children in the past were sent to scrape lead off the surface of the stones. Little did they know then what damage they were doing to their health. The view over the Scalp towards the Sugar Loaf was enjoyed. The sun came out but the winds were very strong in all directions as we posed for the photo at the Lead Mine’s chimney, before descending eastwards on the lea side of the Carrickgolligan Wood and Hill. We noted considerable deforestation with timber piled high on the trackside. Before dropping down to the road, we viewed the Dun Laoghaire Golf Course bathed in sunshine. It was exhilarating. We all enjoyed a coffee afterwards in Farmer Brown’s (previously known as The Golden Ball) beside an open fire. Gwen Adams and Eric Rankin

In May we walked in Massey’s Wood which is a truly magical place. There were 12 of us and the weather was perfect for walking. We started the walk by looking in the grounds of the former house. The original house had been demolished in 1941 and was replaced by a newer one. There were several rhododendrons in full bloom and we could see evidence of the old garden walls, a fountain, and remains of the entrance gates. We meandered through the woods and along by the river and into the old walled garden which is now very overgrown. After a walk through a part of the woods covered in fallen leaves, we came upon a wedge tomb which dates from 2000 BC. We then made our way back through the woods and ended the day with coffee at the Timber Trove Café.

When: 1st Tuesday of every month, and meeting at 2pm at the walk venue – details below. Hopefully we can shortly return to meeting at St Philip’s at 1.30pm and car share.

We usually spend about two hours, walking at a leisurely pace and try to end with refreshments. Join us for good company, being in the open air, enjoying spectacular views and keeping up some exercise.

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