Grange Loop

Grange is a very small village in the Slieveardagh Hills on the Tipperary border with Kilkenny.

Grange Loop

Grange Loop

Grange is a very small village in the Slieveardagh Hills on the Tipperary border with Kilkenny. It lies just east of the magnificent ruin of Kilcooly Abbey founded in 1182 and operated by the Cistercian order.
Grange derives its name from its being an out-farm or the Gainseach (in Gaelic) of Kilcooly. The village is based around the medieval tower-house castle that protected the area for the abbey estate. The Grange area is acknowledged to be extremely attractive in terms of scenery and interesting in its historical heritage. There are two nested loop walks starting in Grange.

This is a short 3kms walk & about 30 mins to 1 hour’s duration and is suited to those looking for a short pleasant stroll.
However good shoes or boots are advisable as the route follows unpaved forest paths.

A-B. The Grange Loop starts at the sign opposite Hogan's Bar and Shop and takes walkers northeast to the entrance to Grange Crag Wood. The entrance here brings walkers up into the forest, past the very interesting Ice-House structure.

B-C. Follow the path clockwise to a viewing point directly above the village. From here Kilcooly Abbey and the surrounding countryside as far as the Devils Bit Mountain in the west can be viewed.

C-A. The path brings the walk to the end of the wood and back by a very pleasant road down into the village again. Where refreshments can be availed of!
Grange Loop exploration of the lower slopes and forms part of a longer circular route (the Crag Loop), both of which have been developed as part of the Trail Kilkenny Programme.

The Ice House

The looped walks pass a fine example of an ice house. Usually only large manor houses like Kilcooly Abbey estate had purpose-built buildings to store ice and preserve food.
The typical ice house was an underground chamber, usually man-made. Our example being banked over with earth serves the same function.
It was usual to construct an ice house close to a source of winter ice, for example freshwater lakes or slow-flowing rivers; this allowed ice to be collected when water had frozen over in winter and quickly transport it for storage in the ice house. Where ice was scarce it was often imported from Scandinavia and elsewhere up until the 1950’s!
To keep the ice frozen, doors or openings were usually built facing north and straw or sawdust was added between layers of ice to act as insulation.
The ice would stay frozen for many months, and would be used to preserve and chill food all year round. The Grange icehouse also houses the water filtration system for Kilcooly Abbey
estate which flows the mile to the ‘big house’ through a cast-iron pipeline.

The Wellington Monument

In 1817, Sir William Barker, the then landlord of Kilcooly Abbey estate caused to be erected a large structure in commemoration of the Duke of Wellington’s
victory over Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo two years previously. The Wellington Monument has a finely carved dedication stone on
its 15 foot high west or ‘front end’. The south side is also impressive but the remaining side of the monument is half the height and clearly shows that the
structure was designed to be viewed from the west and Sir William’s manor house at Kilcooly a mile away. The monument – technically called a folly,
became completely hidden by forestry in latter years and its reappearance in the early 1990’s, following Coillte’s clear felling was a pleasant surprise to all.

Find out more about looped walks on Irish Trails