Another of the Fastnet Trails, this one starts at the Kilcoe trailhead outside the Church of the Most Holy Rosary on the N71 east of Ballydehob. We walked this trail on a clear but chilly November day; one of those days when the light is very clear, dramatic clouds hug the horizon under a cold blue sky and the low sun brings everything into sharp relief.
The route follows the main N71 for a short distance before turning north up an old military road with clear views to Mount Kid and Mount Gabriel. There are two stone rows marked on the map and a very large stone can be clearly seen across the fields. The rows appear to be oriented on Mount Gabriel like many of the similar monuments in the area. The mountain had prehistoric copper mines and was probably considered to be sacred. Today its significance is quite different with twin radar domes tracking cross-Atlantic air traffic and a small forest of communications masts, one of which is transmitting these very words on our broadband signal as I write.
After a sharp turn, the route returns towards the main road through tree-lined lanes and past several old farm buildings and the site of Kilcoe Old Church.
Across the N71, the route descends towards Roaring Water Quay. The area above the quay was once a small village. Here is the information from the baord outside the old church:
This was the late Penal chapel (late 1700’s or early 1800’s) on what was then the main road from Skibbereen to Ballydehob. It was a very plain T-shaped church. All that remains now is a single gable after a very bad storm hit the structure around 1890. A Grotto has been added in recent years. The church wall is a veritable rock garden with spleenwort, navelwort, stonecrop, vetches and hard ferns. Adjacent to the Church was a busy village and nearby Roaring Water pier provided much needed employment.
The two storey building just below the church was the boys school. All that remains of the girls school is a wall across the road above the church which is completely overgrown. The two storey building across the road was a house with a shop adjoining and there was also a carpenter’s workshop nearby.
The Quay is very picturesque and there is a convenient picnic table. At the end of the track is a well which is said to have very good water. (This sketch is from a previous visit)
The trailhead is reached again following the Roaringwater river as it tumbles down towards the sea past a boat yard and Kilcoe school.