Start at the 1798 Inn. From the front of the pub, follow the road to the right passing a small graveyard on your right. Turn left uphill on a narrow tarmac lane. After the summit of the hill, keep left on the lane and enjoy the view to Clooncose lake, pictured here. Reach a T junction and turn left again to return to the 1798 Inn. On the way, you will pass the spot where General Blake and Gunner Magee were executed.
General George Blake was the commander of the United Irishmen forces at the Battle of Ballinamuck on September 8th, 1798. The politics of Ireland in the late 1700’s were somewhat different from modern Ireland. The United Irishmen who rose in rebellion against English governance included Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter. General Blake, son of a Protestant landlord had been an officer in the British army but was dismissed after a duel. Following the defeat of his forces, he along with Gunner Magee were hung from the shafts of a cart at this spot.
Gunner Magee enrolled himself in Irish history when his gun crew took over a French cannon inflicting much damage on the English forces. The well known Magee Barracks in Dublin is named after him
Walk 2 : Shanmullagh Hill
Start at the carpark beside the ‘98 Hall pictured here. Exit the carpark and keep left up the hill. Climb steeply and you’ll soon come to a monument for General Humbert & The Croppy Graves. Continue on along the narrow road, around some sharp bends. Follow this quiet road and reach a main road at a T junction. Turn left along the main road and follow it with care for about 300 metres or 5-6 mins. Turn left down a bog road which leads into Shanmullagh Bog. This dirt road gradually becomes a grassy track then a rough path before improving again to a bog road – reach some houses and your route now lies down a tarred road. Turn left and left again to return to the carpark.
Jean Joseph Humbert was a Général de Brigade in the French Army and the leader of the French forces that landed at Killala Bay in Mayo, August 1798. The French came to assist the United Irishmen in their common struggle against England. Humbert had about 1000 men under his command and they were successful against the British army in several encounters including the ‘Races of Castlebar’, where they put to flight a much larger British army.
Arriving in Ballinamuck on the eve of the battle, Humbert’s soldiers were somewhat weary. The British forces under Cornwallis quickly attacked on several fronts the next day, 8th September 1798 and the combined army of French & United Irishmen were heavily defeated. Humbert surrendered at this spot whilst large numbers of Irish volunteers were killed nearby. Most of the French were spared and repatriated back to France.
Shanamullagh Bog is pictured here, a good example of a small raised bog, 3-4 metres in depth.
Walk 3 : Edenmore Bog Walk
A 4.5km looped walk developed by the Ballinamuck Community Enterprise Group
Edenmore Bog is one of a network of ‘Raised Bogs’ that can be found throughout the midlands of Ireland. Raised Bogs are highly acidic, waterlogged and nutrient-deprived habitats which support a range of specialised plants and animals. This habitat has become very rare in Europe.
The centre of Edenmore bog is in relatively pristine condition, and supports two rare mosses that are only found on high quality raised bog. The edges of the bog support a range of woodland, grassland and wetland habitats, which add to the diversity of flora and fauna in the area.
Read a review of the walk in the Irish Independent
Walk 4 : Lough Sallagh Walk
A good stretch of the legs along quiet country roads and visiting lovely Lough Sallagh. Start from the ‘98 Bar, keep left along a level road for 30 minutes, taking the 3rd turn on the right and signposted Lough Sallagh. Follow this narrow road to arrive suddenly at the lake. Continue on the scenic lake shore road. Reach a T junction, turn right and right again after 30 minutes or so to return to the ‘98 Bar.
Crannóg. You may note a small reedy lake at the far side of Lough Sallagh (from Loch Salach or Muddy/ Silty Lake in Irish). This is a crannóg and was a small man-made island that provided both a good defensive position and ready access to a supply of fish for food.