The Monaghan way

The Monaghan way

Well I certainly enjoyed my visit to Monaghan.  It was an invigorating and on the second day a nostalgic experience for me. Nostalgic because as I walked along the old railway line with my guide/accompanist Thomas Mc Skean.  I was reminded of those many years ago in 1956 when I last travelled along this route by train to Clones.

My immediate and personal reflections on the Monaghan Way is  that it is an satisfying hike with stupendous views across the Drumlin Country that is Monaghan, the secret laneways, Scots Lane, Black Lane, the deserted railway stations and halts like Colleville and Blackstaff halt, stepping across dikes that meant you stepped across an international border, following the river Fane and into Kavanagh country, walking along fields of willow planted to produce wood pellets for wood burning stoves, other fields of corn stalks, tall enough to induce the magic inference from the film “If you build it he will come” all this and more.

The future is bright for the Monaghan Way.  The entire route is walkable, there are no impenetrable thickets. I think that it is a good route and that if the committee can get some extra sections off N roads it will be a very good route. I saw an example of possible rerouting near Blackstaff Halt where an “eighty year old Naturist” is holding up passage through a section of the way. I respect his right to solitude and peace, if only he knew that we walkers also share his love of nature albeit in a slightly different way.  Even the minor grassy and mossy roads were pleasant because of the low hedges and the views across country.

0n Mullyash [the high point of the way] we visited a tomb, a Bronze Age tumulus like Heapstone Cairn that the Miners/historical trail skirts in Roscommon/Sligo/Leitrim. If Thomas Mc Skean was able to find those “Secret Laneways” that we so enjoyed then there must be more of them.  I look forward to many more warm October days on the Monaghan Way.


About the Author:

Joe is an author, poet, historian, and guided walks consultant. He lives in Newport, Co. Mayo. Scriptwriter and presenter of “Old Port to Newport”, Joe McDermott is the author of a number of fiction and non-fiction books including Sheegorey (historical fiction), the History of St. Mary’s Hospital, Castlebar, as well as hiking guide books such as The Western Way, The Bangor Trail, and The Foxford Way.