Wednesday 8 May 2024

O'Connell's Rock Co Dublin


                          Above Image: The site of the rock (In greenery on the right)

                                                   Above Image: The inscription.







                                          Above Image: Ruins of Carhan House

                                        Above Image: Memorial bust of O'Connell

West of Glencullen nestled amongst the vegetation at the foot of a forest on a road skirting the Glendhu Valley is a large misshapen boulder known as O'Connells's Rock. The rock bears an inscription including the date "23rd July 1823" and commemorates the spot where Daniel O'Connell the great Liberator made an early speech to the local community while on a visit to his daughter who was married to a local landowner. A large group of people it seems were celebrating Garland Sunday (in anticipation of harvest time) and so O'Connell seized the moment and climbed up upon the huge rock and spoke to the crowd of his oncoming crusade for the liberation of Catholics and a repeal to the 1801 act of union.
O'Connell was born in 1775 just outside Cahersiveen in County Kerry and while there last summer we visited the memorial garden and saw the ruins of his birthplace (Carhan house, built 1770)
On his personal crusade he organised what would be known popularly as "Monster meetings" with one of the largest taking place at the Hill of Tara in County Meath with an incredible three quarters of a million attendees. Borne out of his repeal movement emancipation was achieved in 1829 but he unfortunately died in Genoa in 1843 with the act of union still in place and an Irish parliament for Irish people unachieved.
O'Connell's rock is easily accessible and was unknown to me until recently. A 15 minute drive from my home brought me to this mostly overlooked historical site and I was glad I sought it out. There are many hiking trails around this area and many thousands of people must have stopped on their way to have a look. In exploring this area over the years I must have driven by several times and not considered it any different from many other rocks strewn around what was once a glacial valley. There are probably many more interesting sites I have yet to discover in this particular area. And I look forward to doing so.
To find O'Connell's Rock follow this route. The easiest direction is from the crossroads at Johnnie Fox's pub in Glencullen heading West on the Ballybrack Road (R116). Drive a little over 4KM until you see a field gate entrance to a driveway on your left with a sign stating Glendhu Farm. The rock is directly opposite this gate a couple of metres back from the roadside. There is really no safe place to park on this road except at the farm entrance gate but it can't be blocked either so be prepared to move quickly. We had enough time to examine the rock but as we were leaving a land river pulled up to enter the gate so bear that in mind.

GPS:   53°13'58.7"N 6°16'35.0"W

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