Sliabh Bloom is half of God’s round lap in my own county of Laois, the other half stretching into my neighbours, Co. Offaly. I am inclined to believe, like the poet Patrick Kavanagh that my God is surely feminine as this lap is large, round and accepting as mothers laps should be. One can hop on from many points all almost within half-hours drive or less from Mountrath, Portlaoise and Ballyfin, that is, from the Laois aspect. Mountainviews would probably consider these mountains bumps, at only 440m to Stony Man on top of Ridge of Capard, or at The Cut.
Arderin, (height of Ireland) is a mighty 527m in comparison. I have sadly never completed the entire Slieve Bloom Way, 43 miles in total. Have done as you would eat an elephant, little bits at a time. What you see here is heather glens and ridges, conifer forests, ford rivers and birch woodland. What is particular up here is the extent of the views away from the hills, when very high. I think this is because the midlands have such a flat basin generally that there is no competition to impede the far horizon and but for the limitations of sight when the skies are clear, I feel I could see forever.
Two falls up here, Clamp Hole Waterfall and White Horse Falls. More Glens than you can shake a stick at, Glendelour gleann deileabha,(Valley of the two forked river) Glendine gleann doimhin (Deep Valley), Glenamoon gleann na móna or Mumhan,(Valley of the bog), Glenbordowin gleann bórd abhainn ( Valley of the River Bank), Glenconra gleann cuan, cónra or con, (Valley of the hollow, coffin or hounds, edges a bit fuzzy on this one), Glenall, gleann aille ( Valley of the cliff), Glenkitt, gleann ceath valley of the showers or mists, Glenafelly, gleann……, open to interpretation this one too, could be valley of treachery, Glenkeen, gleann caoin, pleasant valley, Glenlahan, gleann leathen (The broad valley) and Glenbarrow, gleann beiriú, the boiling valley, to name just a few. If the place needed a blanket name methinks Sliabhnaglen, Mountain of valleys, might be apt.
More in part 2. Linkback: mountainviews.ie/summit/399/comment/2449/