Wednesday, June 26, 2019

An inviting rest in Kilbarry. Photo: Ray McGrath

 

The Ramble

THE Kilcohan Loop. Often overlooked, city and suburban walks offer much. The Kilcohan Loop is one such walk. Not for everyone because of the presence of traffic, it’s a walk layered with history and nature. This pleasant two-hour walk is entirely on footpath. The loop can start anywhere that parking allows. I started near the Ursuline Convent on the Old Tramore Road and headed away from town. Kilcohan Park on the left was the Field of Glory for the Blues in their heyday in the 1950s to 1970s. And it was the venue for greyhound racing and still is. Just before the little shopping mall Prospect House still stands, the home of Lionel and Helen Richardson known worldwide for their daffodils. The crescent running up behind the house is Richardson’s Mews and the area beyond that again is Richardson’s Meadows. It seems that the Folly is named for a different but related Richardson. Continuing, you come to the Kilcohan townland boundary where an almost indiscernible stream is crossed by an equally indiscernible bridge. It was not too far from here that Canon Power found the ruins of Cill Chuacháin which gave its name to the area – Kilcohan. At the Couse Roundabout you may either go left or right. Right brings you to the Ballindud Roundabout and great views of Kilbarry Marsh as you return to the start along the bed of the old Tramore Railway now with an inviting seat. Left will bring you to the Airport Roundabout and return to Kilcohan via St John’s Park. For this walk, I went via the Ballindud Roundabout.

 

Start/Finish: Anywhere convenient along the loop. For this walk I started and finished at the Ursuline Convent, Old Tramore Road; Distance: 7.5km; Duration: 2 hours; Suitability: Very easy.

 

History

Richardson’s Daffodils. £100 for a single daffodil bulb in the 1950s! This was for a daffodil Lionel Richardson had cultivated, the Krakatoa. So reports local historian Cian Manning in the 2018 Waterford News & Star Christmas Supplement in a fine piece on Lionel Richardson of Kilcohan. The Richardson farm, Prospect House, was located off Ballytruckle Road, the main road running through Kilcohan. 100,000 bulbs covering 350 varieties grew in the gardens. Can you imagine what Wordsworth would have done with that image!

It was from here that bulbs were sent all over the world, putting husband and wife team, Lionel and Helen Richardson and Kilcohan on the world’s horticultural map. After Lionel’s death in 1961 his widow, Helen, who had become a respected grower, went on to win 20 gold medals at the Royal Horticultural Show. An article about her appeared in the New Yorker magazine in 1971 acknowledging her work as a horticulturalist and her dedication to the work her husband had started in the 1920s.

 

Townlands

Kilcohan (Cill Chuacháin) was originally a townland in the medieval parish of Ballinakill. It was named after the ancient church there dedicated to the virgin Cuachán. Unfortunately we don’t know much about her except she is also remembered, according to Canon Power, in the Co. Kildare town, Kilcock. Kilcohan is a medium sized townland of 220 acres located either side of Ballytruckle Road running as far as the Yellow Ford Bridge just before the Couse Roundabout. A sliver of the townland crosses the Tramore road. St Cuachán’s church (the Kil- in the name) site is just before the said bridge on the right-hand side leaving the city. He discovered the site with ‘much difficulty’ while he was researching for his 1907 Placenames of the Decies. Michael Farrell tells me that the stream that runs along the boundary between the townlands of Couse and Kilcohan joins another stream in a pond called the Blackcaps, which was a favourite swimming hole for the children of the area.

 

Nature

Daffodils. (Narcissus, in Irish it is Lus an Chromchinn). A headline recently appeared on the Web – ‘Britain’s native daffodil threatened by hybrids’ – opens a question about our ‘native daffodil’ in Ireland. The native daffodil in Britain is called pseudonarcissus and is thought to be what Wordsworth saw while walking at Ullswater in the Lake District with his sister Dorothy. In fact, the poem was based on her diary notes for that day, April 15, 1802. So, what of the native Irish daffodil? Does such exist or is what we plant and see now, even in the wild, a taller hybrid? If any reader knows please get in touch. In any event something I learned recently – the stem of the daffodil contains a deterrent to grazing animals and so the stem is left intact until it withers thus strengthening the clump. Deadhead yes but leave the stem when tidying the garden.

 

Supported by the Barony of Gaultier Historical Society

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By Ray McGrath
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