Just 3 kms outside of the town of Templemore in Tipperary lies a mountain that looks like it has a big U shape bit missing from the middle of it. This mountain is known as the Devils Bit. Legend has it that many many moons ago the devil took a massive bite out of the mountain. He apparently broke his tooth in the process and spat the piece of rock out. That piece of rock now sits in the town of Cashel and the rock of Cashel is built on it!
On a cold February Monday myself and my Galavanting partner for the day, Kirsty, decided to take the looped walk to the top of the mountain. I can safely say that I don’t think Kirsty will be taking anymore Galavants with me. We left from Tipperary town and took the R661 towards Dundrum and then followed the directions to Borrisoleigh. The devils bit is signposted then from Borrisoleigh and its only a ten minute drive. You come off the main road to quite a narrow road to make your way up to the car park to start the walk.
Of course it started snowing the minute we got out of the car but we were well wrapped up and after a quick look at the map we started our walk. The walk from the car park to the top of the field in front of you is quite steep and I’m embarrassed to say I had to stop a few times to catch my breath. Once at the top of the field you make your way to the left and through a gate that brings you up through the forest. This part is quite steep in places as well but you are greeted by a lovely round tower at the top. This tower is known as Carden’s Folly. It was built my the Carden family in the 19th century who were local landlords. They were not a very popular family at all.
From this point you follow the redish- purpleish arrows down to the left. The walk gets easier from here and the path opens up to afford you some amazing views through the tree’s. I was delighted that the slopes here were a bit easier and we could take in the surrounding scenery.
The clouds had passed over at this stage and we ended up with a beautiful day- even if it was freezing! You follow this trail for a while and it takes you back into the forest. After about a kilometre and a half you follow the signs and take a turn up to the right. This is a steady enough climb up to a clearing where you get the first glimpse of the cross at the top of the mountain. You come off the path here and follow the trail over to the rock that the cross is on. This was tricky enough as there is no clear path to make your way to the top. The views up here were absolutely out of this world. You can see across to 8 different counties from here on a clear day. This was about the time that my phone died. I was raging that I couldn’t get pictures from here so some of the ones attached here aren’t my own unfortunately.
So it was at this stage that we made our first bad decision. Once you make your way back to the main path you should keep walking along this loop. In our wisdom we went back the way we had came and followed the forest road…. for a very long time. After about half an hour of walking I realised the path wasn’t taking us back down the mountain. If anything we were walking further up a mountain in places and deeper into the forest. We came to a cross roads and decided to take a right in the hope that it would lead somewhere. Out of nowhere a horse appeared in front of us. Quite a big horse (that just stared at us!) we both decided that we weren’t going to try and pass it. So we turned back. We had no idea what time it was (neither of us had a watch on us) and when a car came along I waved it down. Two men who were practically laughing at us, told us to just walk back the way we came.
So off we went back the way we came and then I made another bad decision. We decided to take a road to the right which I presumed would take us down the mountain. After walking down this road for around half an hour we came to a dead end. At this stage we were cold and hungry and I was still really pissed off that my phone was dead. Kirsty- ever the optimist, just turned around and said – “right- back up the hill and back the way we came.”. By the time we made it back to the Carden’s folly is was dark but we knew we were near the car. When we reached the car it was completely frozen over and we discovered it was 7pm! We had been on the mountain for 4 hours! It should only have taken us an hour and a half!
So the moral of the story- when you go hiking up a mountain always take the following items.
- A Watch
- All members of your party should take their phone with them and maybe a power bank if its a long walk.
- Never walk past the horse.
We also realised after we had made it back to the car that absolutely no one knew where we were. Always tell someone where you are going. I will definitely do this walk again as the views were amazing but I will definitely be more prepared the next time (I’m not sure Kirsty will come with me though? 🙂 )
I have attached a few links below to help you with your Galavant- as always- Happy Galavanting- and stay safe!!!