St. Declan’s Way Walk – Ardmore to Cashel
Note: All content relating to St. Declan’s Way is now contained on the new St. Declan’s Way website. This page is not being updated, so some of the content may be out of date. Please visit the St. Declan’s Way site for up to date information.
St. Declan’s Way is a modern walking route linking the ancient ecclesiastical centres of Ardmore in County Waterford and Cashel in County Tipperary. It is 56 miles (96 kilometres) long and crosses the Knockmealdown Mountains at Bearna Cloch an Buideal (Bottleneck Pass), an elevation of 537m. Apart from this stretch, the route passes through undulating farmland.
St Declan’s Way Walk utilises the route of a number of ancient and medieval pilgrimage and trading routes such as the Rian Bo Phadraig (Track of St. Patrick’s Cow), Bothar na Naomh (Road of the Saints), Casan na Naomh (Path of the Saints) and St. Declan’s Road. The current route was mapped out and developed by Ardmore Enterprise Cooperative in the mid-1990s and tries to remain faithful to the ancient highways.
St. Declan was a fifth century saint who brought Christianity to the southern part of Ireland and was particularly associated with the Deise tribe in Waterford and south Tipperary. He established his monastery in Ardmore and his grave there remains an important place of pilgrimage. Cashel was the seat of the Kings of Munster in Declan’s lifetime and St. Declan’s Way follows the route he would have taken from Ardmore to Cashel.
St Declan’s Way has been the subject of two books: ‘Along St. Declan’s Way‘ by the late Siobhan Lincoln of Ardmore and more recently ‘Castle, Follies and Four-Leaved Clovers’ by Rosamund Burton, a native of Lismore now living in Australia.
This route, all the way from Cashel to Ardmore, was host to a special Gathering St. Declan’s Way walk from July 24th to 28th 2013. The event was attended by 110 walkers in total from right across the globe with participants from Australia, the USA, Canada, the UK and the Cayman Islands. The event was supported by the Gathering, South Tipperary Development Company and Knockmealdown Forum in Waterford.
Maps of St. Declan’s Way
In 1994, Ardmore Enterprise Cooperative produced a brochure on St. Declan’s Way, including detailed maps drawn by Barry Dalby of EastWest mapping. The brochure also lists 64 sites of historic, natural and archaeological significance along St. Declan’s Way. The brochure will shortly be available here, the overview map of the walk is shown at the bottom of this page.