Knockfierna County Limerick

Knockfierna County Limerick

Knockfierna County Limerick 1
Photo via All Things Ireland

Knockfierna is known as the hill of truth or the hill of the fairies, it is situated in West Limerick around 15 kilometres from Adare. The famous hill is near to Croom and Ballingarry. Locals can tell what the weather will be like for the coming day by looking at the hill or by judging the view of the summit of the hill. Knockfierna was badly hit with during the famine period of 1845 to 1847 it was highly populated until thee famine in Ireland.

A lot of people perished during the awful famine. There has been a wall erected across from the Rambling house on Knockfierna commemorating the lost family names. It is definitely worth a view when you drive up the passage to the beginning of the walkway on Knockfierna. You can park your vehicle safely across from the rambling house.

The rambling house is a small country cottage with a thatched roof, it is where trad music sessions (music sessions) and storytelling nights are held. It is very popular with people from all over west Limerick who like to meet up and chat and listen to music and stories.

If you’re interested in visiting Adare see this article on things to see and do in Adare here.

The entrance to the hill is just a mile outside Ballingarry village. There has been a signpost erected to guide you in the right direction. There is grass growing in the middle of the passage to Knockfierna which makes it look very nice.

The hedges are full of greenery and delightful plant species. This passageway used to be called the red road. There are fields full of cows and cattle from local farmers. The hill has a lot of working farms around it. These farms date back for many many years. You can walk or cycle up to the summit of Knockfierna.

Beautiful Place To Go For A Walk

Knockierna Walking Trail
Photo via All Things Ireland

The trail has a wonderful 360-degree view of the county of Limerick, North Cork, South Tipperary and North Kerry and across the River Shannon in County Clare.

It really has some spectacular views from the summit. All along the path to the top of Knockfierna are old famine houses which will give you a great idea of what life was like up there before the dreadful famine hit causing a lot of destruction and pain to the families who lived up there. Wild berries are plentiful up on the hill growing wild all around.

There are old Ogham stones up on Knockfierna too. There is also a cave at the top of the summit of the hill, a lot of people find this hard to find and to walk up to the top. Not a lot of people know that Knockfierna is actually a dormant volcano.

Thousands of years ago it was an active volcano back in the ages of dinosaurs. There is no fear of the mountain exploding though it has been dormant for a very long time its shape came for pouring lava millions of years ago.

Locally every child has pretty much been brought on a walk up to Knockfierna at some point. Kids as young as 2 years old have climbed up to the summit of the hill. Sundays are a busy day with lots of families take a walk up the hill road. There are people walking on Knockfierna every day of the year.

During festive times of the year, local farmers from Knockfierna set up big bonfires to celebrate the coming of the new year, Easter and Halloween and also the harvest in August, September. These are great nights enjoyed by everyone who attends and there do be a bit of traditional music too.

Knockfierna Folklore

Knockfierna Folklore
Photo via All Things Ireland

Knockfierna has many tales of folklore and fairy activity. Many locals have said to have seen shadow men on the path of the hill of truth. Around dusk time, this tall men with tall hats haunt the path up to the summit of Knockfierna.

They are relatively harmless but can come as a real surprise while your out for your walk. It is said these tall dark shadows come from the dead people who died on the hill during the great famine. Hundreds perished on Knockfierna.

They met their death by starvation. Men women and children died on Knockfierna. These shadow men haunt Knockfierna as a reminder of the poor souls who met their death up there.

One day I was up on top of the summit of the hill and me and my dad were admiring the 360-degree view around the hilltop. When we looked out to the left and my Dad said do you see the old man? I looked in the direction Dad was pointing in and I saw a tall man with a tall hat walking along the path. We then looked to our right and looked back to where the old man was and guess what? he had vanished!!

It was unreal and very frightening as I was very young at the time. But the area is full of surprises like this, it is a haunted hill. But generally, the spirits are harmless. But they do come as a real surprise. Not for the faint-hearted.

Legend has it that camogie ladies from Ballingarry used to have a competition every year on the hill. The Ahane team are from the east of County limerick. Ballingarry is a West Limerick camogie team. The two teams would compete in pucking the ball from the top of Knockfierna across the county to get to the East of the county.

This was quite a great feat by the team. There were druids and fairies on the hill of Knockfierna. The Druids would cast spells on people they didn’t like. The Fairies would carry out the dirty work haha! The stone cottages on Knockierna depict the living ways of the families of the hill. They were tiny stone houses and some had just one room for all the family to live in on Knockfierna.

The windows of the house were very small as there was a window tax implemented by the British government back then. This meant there was very little light in the houses. The landlords around the area of Knockfierna were tyrants. During the famine, they did not help people with food or supplies. They were cruel towards the local families.

Nature Trail

Knockfierna Nature Trail County Limerick
Photo via All Things Ireland

The fields surrounding Knockfierna are rich in green colours all around, lush with fertile grass and soil. There is a lot of dairy farming going on around Knockfierna. During the summertime, you can see 40 shades of green when the farmers cut the silage. The fields are cut bare to grow back fuller and richer for the grass to be cut and sillage to be made.

There is a lot of flora and fauna around Knockfierna, plenty of rabbits and hares can be seen frolicking around Knockfierna. In the fall of the year, you can find mushrooms around the walkways. Lots of wild berries grow on the hedges at the sides of the walkways towards the top of Knockfierna. Some folks go on horses and ride up the hill paths. You can find the prints of the horseshoes along the paths.

There are stone walls all around Knockfierna the stone looks white from the wind and rain. Its some experience to walk up Knockfierna on a gusty day its one for the bucket list. The power of that wind with the tricolour flags teetering in the wind upon their swaying poles is really enjoyable. There are famine memorials up along the path to the summit of Knockfierna.

Beautiful poetry on slabs of limestone along the walkways. Some Glenstal monks found great solitude while up walking on Knockfierna. These monks are world-famous and great educators of the youth in their Monastary in Murroe County Limerick called Glenstal Abbey.

There is a mass rock up on Knockfierna where local priests would say mass to large crowds of people. People would come from all over to hear these masses.

These are great days for the local community. There would be young and old up on the hill. There was a stage where traditional Irish musicians would perform to a large crowd. The drama would also be performed. This was back in the early 90s.

No matter what the weather was like crowds of people would walk up Knockfierna to share the experience. People would talk about this for years to come. Little did I know how lucky I was to have witnessed it.

See my post here on The Foyne’s Flying Boat Museum in County Limerick!

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John Conway

All Things Ireland

John C

Hey, my name is John Conway and I love travelling around Ireland. I have a passion for All Things Ireland. I love the Emerald Isle! I love Guinness and green fields!

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