Rathbarry Village Walk

Just minutes from Springfield House B&B is the beautiful village of Rathbarry. This village is a Tidy Towns Award winning Village. Enjoy its beautiful scenery and buildings which include:

1. The Câiteach. It is found in the centre of Rathbarry village. The word Câiteach is derived from the Irish word for "winnowing" (to separate chaff from grain). This crossroads is a well known meeting place.

2. Dan O'Leary Monument. This Monument was erected in 1998 to honour Dan O'Leary. He was born in nearby Carrigroe, was a renowned distance walker in many countries including France, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Canada, the USA and Australia. His outstanding achievements in contest and distance walking events against time captivated all those who knew him.

3. The Sprigging School. This school was built in 1825. Initiated by Lady Carbery in a time when there was a worldwide revival in the art of lace making. The lace associated with Rathbarry was known as sprigging lace so called because it was shaped like a sprig or spray. Learn how this lace was made, the poor environment in which it was made and the utensils and equipment used in its manufacture.

4. Lady Carbery's Well. Located just 50 yards from the Sprigging School, learn the history to this well, its supposed magic and notice the 13 steps leading up to it. Was that of any significance?

5. St. Michael's Church. During this walk, take a little time out to enjoy the beauty of this fabulous building. Built in 1832 by Lord Carbery on the condition that no bell would be erected as it would interfere with the bell on his estate. It was not until 1914 that the Catholic church got its bell.

6. Viewing point. Across the road from the Church is this beautiful viewing point where you can take in the beauty of Castlefreke - the estate wall, Castlefreke castle, the Celtic Cross, Rathbarry Church and Rathbarry Castle. See 'Castlefreke wood walk' for more information.

7. Miltown R.I.C. Barracks. Just down the road from the Church is the Barracks. The Royal Irish Constabulary police force was stationed at Miltown for which a barrack was erected. This fine building was burned to the ground on Easter Sunday, 1921.

8. Blebe house (now known as Rathbarry House.) This great building was erected in 1830 and appears to have been an elegant villa enclosed in thriving plantations.

9. Castlefreke Lodge. This was a gatekeeper's lodge serving Castlefreke Castle. The gate was a locked gate and the pillars were twice as high as they are now.

10. Museum. This is located adjacent to the local post office and shop. This quaint building gives a clear insight into the lives of the local periods throughout their history. Enlightening as it illustrates the life and events of the past.

11. Tobarin. Derived from the Irish word for "well". Historically, here the local community met serval times a day while going about their daily chores.

12. Viewing Point. Commands superb views of the coastline, including the Galley Head lighthouse, which was built in 1873 and to the west, Toe Head and Mount Gabriel, near Skull.


Castlefreke wood walk

Once inside here enjoy the many spectacles as:

A. The Estate wall. This was built in many stages from the late 1700s to the mid 1800s and it encompassed the vast area of what was Lord Carbery's estate.

B. Castlefreke Castle. This then was a fabulous building. It was the seat of the Earls of Carbery, whose family name was Freke, until the tenth Lord Carbery renounced his title. Originally built as a plain rectangular building in 1780s, Sir Richard Morrison in 1820 later extended on the courtyard and various towers.

C. The Celtic Cross. Erected in 1902 to the memory of Algernon William George, the ninth Lord Carbery by his wife. This is the largest memorial cross in Ireland, standing 30 feet in height. It is formed of 'white limestone marble' weighing about 14 tons.

D. Rathbarry Church. An old Roman Catholic parish church with its graveyard. Nearby a Protestant church was erected in 1825 with the help of Lord Carbery. It was abandoned a century later when its congregation ceased to exist.

E. Rathbarry Castle. This castle was in the 15th century by Randal Oge Barry. It has been the scene of conflict including the Siege of Rathbarry in 1641, which lasted 239 days (one of the longest of its kind in Ireland).