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Time for a land of stories - mythology and legend in Tipperary

  • mythology story Tipperary Devils Bit Mountain
  • The Swiss Cottage Tipperary
  • Great family day out at the Swiss Cottage
  • Regency architect John Nash designed the Swiss Cottage

May is the month for stories by the camp fire and Tipperary is stepped in mythology and legend. All through the county stories are told around the fireside. One famous story around Dolla and the Silvermines revolves around the night the devil came to call to an area near Templemore. It concerns a certain mountain. The Devil's Bit is a mountain in County Tipperary, which is 478m above sea level at its highest elevation. It lies to the north-west of the town of Templemore.

But back to the devil. Apparently, he was in a rage one night coming up through Ireland. Tipperary had bet Cork and the unfortunate thing was that the devil had a bet on Cork (he was only a few years out with Cork beating tipp yesterday in the hurling). What did he do only took a bite out of the Devil’s bit and spat it out. This formed the unmissable gash in its flat summit, which is clearly visible above Templemore. It can also be seen when travelling by rail on the main Dublin Cork track. The bit he spat he out landed in Cashel, which then formed the Rock of Cashel!

You can walk around the Devil’s bit mountain if you dare. The views are as legendary as the story of its formation. Along the walk you will notice a prominent tower. This is an 18th century folly, built by the Carden family of Templemore. In 1834, it was used for a meeting held by the famous emancipator Daniel O’Connell. The story goes he addressed 50,000 people as part of his campaign against the compulsory payment of tithes to the Anglican Church. Another interesting fact about the Devil’s bit mountain is that in the nearby cliffs, the priceless Book of Dimma was discovered. This now resides in the National Museum of Ireland.

Did you know that Tipperary has its own version of Paris’ Trianon? Another area steeped in legend and stories is the beautiful Swiss Cottage. This was designed and built by the famous Regency architect John Nash (a British architect responsible for much of the layout of Regency London under the patronage of the Prince Regent, and during his reign as George IV).

The cottage was commissioned by the 1st Earl of Glengall of Cahir Castle, as an idyllic retreat. No expense was spared, with the most expensive wallpaper in the world being commissioned from Dufour of Paris. You can walk from Cahir Castle to the Swiss Cottage. Cahir Castle is a Norman Castle with a keep, courtyards and complete with great halls. This is a super day out for all the family. Guided tours are available during the summer.

Of course Cahir is synonymous with the Butler family, the last of whom left only in 1961. (Download the Butler Trail App for the full story). Cahir House Hotel was their final home after they abandoned Cahir Castle. Stories a plenty are still told of the lavish parties that were held here.

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