Mullaghmeen is an isolated area of forest rising above the farm land of North Westmeath. It is the largest planted beech forest in Ireland. Along with beech, within its 400 ha of forest it also has Sitka spruce, Scots pine and Noble fir and a very interesting native tree collection. The summit Cairn at 261m provides magnificent views north across Lough Sheelin and into the neighbouring county of Cavan. By the time I reached there, I was fairly well puffed but could still speak to my equally puffed husband.
The forest, once an out farm belonging to a Lord Gradwell, has many examples of the former impacts on the landscape. Following the White Trail one passes sad reminders of famine times with relic walls of famine fields. A Booley Hut, a summer grazing shelter is just off the Red Walk / Mullaghmeen Summit Trail, while the Flax Pits show that this important crop for the linen industry was once harvested and cured in this area.
Carpets of bluebells in early Summer, and plenty of dappled sunlight penetrating the leafy canopy of the wood, add to this the highlight of my day, a lovely cheeky tiny Robin came and plucked the bread from my fingers, but alas I was not fast enough to snatch an image of this wonderful encounter.
Looking at this lost working landscape, which was so vital to the everyday lives of our forefathers has almost become irrelevant in the modern world, this thought remained with my on my journey home, and reminded me to take me heritage more seriously.
On my way home I took a detour to Killeigh cemetery. There were actually two churches built in Killeagh. No traces of the original church remain as the stone was used to erect, on the same site in 1810, the protestant church, which was in use until its closure in 1941. This image is of an old dwelling which would be at least 200 years old, if only I could travel back in time..
For the history of Killeigh go to: https://ballinacreehistory.com/killeagh-church-and-cemetery/
From Oldcastle head west on the R154 for 1.8 km. Continue straight on the L6813 for another 6.3 Km and turn right for 300 metres to the forest entrance. The site is 3 Km south west of Farrellys cross road