This loop follows parts of the route of the historic race which gave the world the phrase ‘steeplechasing’ (now a descriptive term for any race over fences).
In 1752, two sporting, Cork gentlemen, Edmund Blake and Cornelius O’Callaghan, wanted to find out which of their horses was the better, so they organised a 7.3km race, cross country, from the steeple of St John’s Church in Buttevant to that of St Mary’s in Doneraile. Blake won the match and the bet, which was a cask of wine.
Starting at St Mary’s Catholic church on the main street, proceed in a southerly direction. Traffic on this short section can be very busy at times, so due caution is advised. Continue along this route until, shortly after passing a Grotto on your right, you come to a small road (on your left) leading to Ballybeg Priory and Columbarium.
At the next crossroads, turn left and then take the first right. Continue on to Box Crossroad (with Spring Nurseries on your left). Turn left at this cross, and continue until you come to the main street in Doneraile.
Turn left here, following signposts for Mitchelstown and passing Doneraile Wildlife Park – the former demesne of Doneraile House – on your left.
Continue straight at the next major crossroads, following signs for Charleville. Keeping to the right-hand side of the road (and using the footpath), you will come to the next crossroads, at which you will turn left for Charleville. After approximately 100m, turn left again.
Proceed straight through the next crossroads, following the road around a sharp left bend. Continue along this road until you meet the main Buttevant to Doneraile road.
Traffic on this short section (approximately 2km) can be very busy at times, so due caution is advised.
On reaching the next crossroads, turn left and proceed through Buttevant town until you arrive back at your car.
– Information on walk provided by Barry Connolly, Tom Baker, Kevin O’Farrell and Tom Tobin, from their guide ‘Walking in Fermoy, the Galtees and Surroundings’ (Fermoy, 1999)
Points of Interest
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