There are two points of interest on this hill –the natural summit , which is the corner of a wheat field, and a large monument built to commemorate the battle of Oulart Hill in May 1798. To reach the summit head north from Oulart village to the car park at A (T08468 41225)
. From here head across the road, through the gap in the hedge and across the wheat field. The summit trig pillar is amongst a scattering of high grass and brambles in the north west corner of the field. There is negligible ascent on this short walk. Fine views across the surrounding countryside.
Return to the car park. Follow the excellent path south to the monument. The path is lined with large rocks engraved with the names of town lands from where the rebels hailed who fought in the battle of 1798. The monument is nestled in a field at the end of the track. It is called ‘Tulach a' tSolais’, or, if my translation is correct, ‘burial mound of light’. To quote from the architects, it is “like the surprise of finding a fairy ring”. It is like a modern-day Newgrange - a grassy mound with a hollow paved centre and 'split' in two. You can walk into the mound to a central area. Two pieces of sculpted 200 year old oak complete the scene. A place of reflection and solitude, and absolutely empty when I was there in August 2012. I got the feeling it's not a busy place. It was built in 1998 to mark the bicentenary of the Wexford Rebellion. If you visit the summit, make sure to take the time to visit the monument. If you bring children be careful if you climb the large mound that they (or you) don’t fall the 15 or so feet into the ‘split’ into the mound. Equally, the paving inside the mound is likely to be damp and slippy. Be warned!
The following is taken from the website of Scott Tallon Walker who designed the monument:
The Challenge: The construction of a tulach or burial mound, as a place of connection between the world of the living and the "other world" was common in ancient Ireland....Tulach a' tSolais, was built to commemorate the bicentenary of this (Wexford) rebellion and is the product of dynamic collaboration between the sculptor Micheal Warren and Dr. Ronald Tallon.
The Building: Upon arrival, there are no carved names, no flames, no pools of water. This is a much older kind of memorial.. "What we want,...is to go over a broken stone wall and be there. The approach should be like the surprise of finding a fairy ring." Tallon chose white concrete for its "pallor of death", illuminated by "the light of resurrection." "We wanted a basic monolithic material of strength and nobility," says Tallon, "with which to create a modern Stonehenge." Tallon calls Warren's two sculptures - horizontal curving tablets of 200-year-old Irish oak that make a shrine of the interior - "upturned hands, offering hope for the future." Warren likens them to the cremation bowls found in Newgrange.
So go on – hope over the “broken stone wall”! Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/1316/comment/15981/