Ballynultagh, Stranakelly and Mullinacuffe-The Old Road- PURE Mile
This Mile is situated on the Wicklow Way. The starting point of this Pure Mile is the Old Forge in Ballynultagh and the finishing point is the Church of Ireland Mullinacuffe. The Old Road goes through the Mullinacuffe, Stranakelly and Ballynultagh townlands, which are in the barony of Shillelagh.
This area is rich in heritage and the built features of note include The Dying Cow pub, an old school, a forge, a church and graveyard.
The Dying Cow is the focal point of the area, is situated on the Stranakelly Crossroads and is said to be over 300 years old.
The Church of Ireland, Mullinacuff, was built in the Tudor style in 1844 by Frederick Darley. He was an architect for the Archdiocese of Dublin and was subsequently architect to Trinity College Dublin. A Mr Rainsford built the wall around the church in 1853.
A famine road was built about 1849 by Mr Mumford and it leads past the Mullinacuff Church, past Kilquiggan Church through to the main road.
There is an older church (known locally as Templeen) and is said to have been founded by St. Patrick’s associate St. Iserninus. There is a ‘combined’ graveyard attached which was open to both Catholics and Protestants. The earliest slab dates to 1702. A number of people interred here lived beyond 100 years.
The forge ceased to operate in the early 1940’s and had been run up to this time by Tom and Jim Keogh. Every morning at 11 o’clock without fail, the brothers would head to the Dying Cow Pub to ‘quench the thirst’. An old wrench used in the shoeing process is now on display in the pub.
The Fitzwilliam Estate built many artisan houses this area including some dating to 1815.
There is a hut in Stranakelly – now painted green, which was used as a depot to store goods for delivery to the nearby shop. The nearby gates are made up from a wrought iron bed demonstrating an innovative idea of the owner.
The landscape is enhanced by Whitethorn, Blackthorn and Bramble hedging, with ash, pine, beech, hazel maple and cypress trees growing in abundance.
The birds native to the area are chaffinches, greenfinches, wrens, robins, blackbirds, pigeons, yellow hammer, thrush, magpies and crows. The swallows, which return in great numbers each year, have been found nesting in the toilets of the ‘Dying Cow’. The ambience seems to appeal to them.
Deer, fox, squirrel, rabbit and hedgehogs are found in the area.
Much work went into enhancing this area as part of the entry process for the Pure Mile.
Pure Mile Award
The Old Road was the overall winner of the Pure Mile for 2010/2011 and was judged to be the Best Pure Mile.