A walk up Knock Ma
Knock Ma is a wooded hill that lies a few miles from Tuam, after the village of Belclare on the road to Headford.
The local authority have put in a car park for a dozen or so cars and a well made, broad path that runs in a circular loop that encircles the hill. It passes within a about 30 meters of the summit which can easily be reached. The whole walk can't be more than a couple of miles, so it makes for a good brisk stroll. There is nothing very demanding, so bikes, pushchairs (stollers) and some wheelchairs could access it.
The wooded glades and the views afforded of county Galway are reason enough, but the hill also has a reputation of being a 'fairy' stronghold. If the little people do exist, then they would surely live here. It is even said in local folklaw that the potato famine in thes parts was due to rampant infighting within the fairy-world and that the various factions could be seen fighting over Knock Ma hill.
Arann, my four year old, did not seem convinced although he may have fallen for my story that 'Stig of the dump' had an Irish cousin who lived here (and another relative works as the driver on BBC's top gear). One day he will realise I generally talk a load of utter rubbish !
- Hiking and Walking
Q: Why is Jesus so good as a soccer goalkeeper ?
A: Because he always saves from a high cross.
A bit of silly blasphemy aside, one of the most important historical artefacts in Tuam is the High cross of Tuam, which used to stand in the centre of town, but now resides in the Church of Ireland Cathedral (the proddy one)
It is thought that Tuam was the capital of Ireland way back in the 12th century.
The monastery was founded here by St. Jarlath in the late 5th or early 6th century. In the late 12th century a Romanesque nave-and-chancel church was built. Fire destroyed the nave in 1767, but the barrel-vaulted chancel is incorporated in the present Cathedral. It was added to in 1312, and for almost a century served as a porch. Its outstanding features are the chancel arch of six orders showing Scandinavian influence in its ornamentation, and a very fine east window. The Cathedral is a 19th century building.
You will find it in the aisle of the south nave of the cathedral. The shaft of the 12th century High Cross with interlacing and other ornament; it bears an inscription in Irish which being translated reads 'A prayer for the King, Turloch O'Connor. A prayer for the craftsman Giolla-Criost O'Toole' and another 'A prayer for the successor of Jarlath, Aedh O Hession, for whom this cross was made'.
In addition to the north-west of the Cathedral are the remains of Temple Jarlath with an east window of c.1200. This was the castle of the then king.
If you want to put yourself through the mill...
The Cornmill in Tuam closed in the 1960's.
Fortunately it has been restored over the years. Entry is free, so it is pleasant diversion if you are visiting the Tourist Information office which is housed on the ground floor of the building.
The staff are very knowledgable and chatty - very refreshing.
The grassy areas around the mill are also very plesant - good place for a picnic.
- Museum Visits