On the south-east end of Glencar valley can be seen the precipitous cliffs of Lugnagall – ‘He slept under the hill of Lugnagall’, written about in The Man who dreamed of Faeryland.
As you look across the valley which rises steeply towards the Dartry Range, the glassy surface of Glencar Lake catches the waters that flow from these steep cliffs.
The Glencar Valley was formed by glacial movements which left in its path a deep valley (known as a hanging valley) with steep cliffs on either side.
Partially hidden by trees (yet very accessible) in this dramatic landscape is Glencar Waterfall, which falls from a height of 15 metres and flows into Glencar Lake. Its vertical descent may not be great (nearby, Sruth in Aghaidh an Aird falls from a much greater height. Its name translates as ‘stream against the height’, it appears to flow upward, an illusion caused by the wind when it blows from the south.)
Glencar Waterfall is magnificent. Located a short walk from the roadside, its cascading waters tumble into a dark pool of icy water, the thundering sounds mesmerising the senses. No wonder Yeats thought it had enchanted powers. The Stolen Child was written by Yeats when he was just 21and the subject draws on stories he heard from his mother in his childhood of the fairies taking children and replacing them with a changeling. At the heart of this poem is a yearning to return to more innocent times. As Ireland lurched towards uncertainty and revolution, Yeats wanted society to make changes by drawing on the culture of our ancestors, and the innocence and musicality of the poem reflects this yearning and the soundscape that permeates this landscape.
from The Stolen Child (1889)
Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Parking: Car park
Walking Trail: https://sligowalks.ie/walks/glencar-lake-and-waterfall/
Longitude: 54.338559 Latitude: -8.3693209
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