Brandon Mountain Travel Blog› entry 4 of 5 › view all entries
June 4th, 2007 – by: rtoma
Brandon is undoubtedly a superb mountain. Far out towards the western end of Dingle Peninsula, its eastern side plunges in a series of corries and cliffs to Brandon Bay, to inert boglands and to the high Conor Pass. West and north it confronts the Atlantic in a sweep of sea-cliffs broken by isolated coves. A unique delight is the chain of paternoster lakes, a dozen or so (it depends on what you count as a lake) perched on over the next. These are set into the long corrie which truncates the summits of both Brandon and Brandon Peak, its high southern extension.
Starting point: the church in the village of Cloghane
With the church on the left, walk past a plaque to airmen lost in WWII, on the right of the village street. Turn left onto a side road after half a mile from the start (it is posted "Hillcrest"), walk uphill to the T-junction, turn left and at the upper end of a severe S-bend where the road ends at a farmhouse. This is the start of "Pilgrims' Route".
The path leads to a grotto near at hand from where it continues, marked with easy to see white poles, gradually uphill with higher ground on the right. At a large cairn (the first one), the views, up to this point dominated by Brandon Peak and slowly varying, open up dramatically.
Keeping to the path, pass a lochan (four close together will be visible from higher up) and ascend the corrie wall on a step but safe path. At the corrie top, turn left and with the sheer drop into the corrie left, walk another 10 minutes to Brandon. The views from the summit are varied: dominated by the ocean to the north and west, and by plain and mountain in other directions. It's a wonderful panorama, when it can be seen, for Brandon is often cloud-toppped.
The paternoster lakes are so called because the chain resembles the beads on a rosary, one of whose prayers is "Our Father" (Pater Noster). Some authorities claim that there are 16 lakes in the chain.
St Patrick's Cabbage
St Patrick's Cabbage grows freely in the rock crevices here. The flowers, which are open from May to July, are pink and white with crimson spots; the leaves grow in a basal rosette and are narrow towards the base. It is prolific among the mainly acid rocks of Cork and Kerry.
Brendan the Navigator
The mountain is named after St Brendan the Navigator, who set sail from Brandon Creek in about the year 550 with a band of fellow monks, and who (supposedly) discovered Greenland and even America. It is accepted that Iceland and probably Greenland were colonized from Ireland before the arrival of Vikings, so the story has some basis. The unimpressive mounds of stones on the summit are termed St Brendan's Well and Oratory. In 1868 an amazing 20000 people attended a mass here.
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