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Mowing the Monument

Mowing the Monument

Around this time 25 years ago, the towns & villages of Wexford, Wicklow & Carlow reverberated to the marching of local groups of pikemen & women. Formed to commemorate the bicentenary of the 1798 Rising, many such groups met up at events large & small. There were many monuments raised throughout the region at the time and this fine monument, built by local men from Clonegal area is just one example. It was a fine summers evening when they marched up Ballyredmond Hill and drilled prior to the official opening of this monument to Mylie Doyle. Since then, being the nearest house it’s fallen to me to keep it half tidy and presentable. When I’d be cutting our own grass, I run the mower up the road and give it a clip. A wee task I’m happy to do as we should all look after our local environment and heritage sites.

Mylie Doyle himself was born over the back of the adjacent hill, there was said to be a number of mud walled botháns there of which the only remaining signs are a few bird cherry trees that blossom in spring. Anyway Mylie went off with the ’98 insurgents and was killed in June 1798 at the Battle of Arklow. Clonegal was a more important place then and being on the old road from Ferns to Carlow & Dublin was garrisoned with yeomen. They refused to let his body back across the Derry at Clonegal bridge, so he is said to have been secretly carried at night across the Derry at an upstream ford called and still known as Loginch. From there it was a straight run up towards his homestead and he was buried at the top of the nearby hill called Knockcorrigan. A sceach bush was planted over the grave. Mylie Doyle’s story is recounted in the local Schools Collection of 1938, where a local man advises that the original bush had died and replaced about 40 years previous, so circa 1898.

This sceach is a whitethorn (hawthorn) bush and lies on private land about 5 minutes uphill from the main roadside monument. It’s certainly a gnarly old specimen and beside it is a simple memorial tablet. Whether it’s the original site is I believe a bit of guesswork but it’s the best contender. Mylie’s last resting place commands a wonderful panoramic view – from Croghaun near Arklow in the north east, down through Annagh Hill to Sliabh Buí in the east and then round to Mount Leinster which caps the southern horizon. Pop over the fence and you can see towards Carlow & Laois. Finally Moylisha Hill lies just nearby, the current focus of lithium mining prospecting in these parts, I wonder what Mylie would have made of this.

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