"Off the Beaten Track" Tour in East Limerick
The ‘Off the Beaten Track" Tour in Pallasgrean/Templebraden will take you to the heart of rural Ireland. Away from the madding crowds of more prominent destinations, but still offering a flavour of the true country, untainted by other ‘Ways.'
In addition to taking in the stunning landscape bounded on the north by the Slieve Phelims, on the east by the Galtees, and on the south by the Ballyhouras, the tour focuses on People, Places, and Events. The Golden Vale is a picturesque valley that runs between Limerick and Cashel, with the rural parish of Pallasgrean Templebraden at its heart.
It may be isolated from the main tourist trail, but this rich agricultural land of rolling countryside hides its historical, archaeological, religious, political, and sporting background - each of which has a fascinating story to share. The Beauty that Surrounds Us has a rich agricultural base with many different types of farming.
It's now time to bring this rich diversity to the attention of the curious observer. A local guide can be hired to reveal the 'behind story' for each of the more than ten points of interest, which include up to 35 places of special significance. There's no need to take it all in at once; take a break for coffee or lunch at The Pallas Bistro, then finish the tour when it's convenient for you.
Starting at the Erasmus School in Pallasgrean, the tour takes you to Sarsfield's Rock in Ballyneety, the Basalt Columns at Linfield Quarry, and the site of the Dromkeen Ambush in 1921, to name a few. Finally, the journey returns you to Pallasgrean via the N24 for refreshments.
Enjoy what still remains away from the ‘Beaten Track’ in Pallasgrean Templebraden!
Paddy Ryan Statue
Paddy Ryan of Bunavie, Pallasgrean, qualified to represent the United States in the hammer-throwing event at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. With a throw of 173' 5.5", he won the Olympic title and the Gold Medal, almost thirteen feet ahead of the Silver Medalist, Carl Lindh of Sweden. A few days later, he won the Silver Medal in the 56-pound weight event, finishing second to Pat McDonald.
Paddy Ryan became the oldest man to win an Olympic hammer-throwing title when he did so at the age of 37. It's worth mentioning that Ireland was still a part of the British Empire in 1920, hence no Irish athletes were eligible to compete in the Olympics.
On July 24, 2004, Olympic gold medalist Ronnie Delaney erected a life-size statue of Paddy Ryan in his hometown of Pallasgreen. Paddy Ryan was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2014.
Kilduff Castle is the second oldest man-made structure in the parish of Pallasgrean/Templebraden parish, and its ruins in the townland of Kilduff are a prominent feature on the N24 on the outskirts of Pallasgrean village. This Towerhouse is one of many such buildings constructed following a building subsidy of £10 introduced by King Henry V1 in 1429.
It was constructed by the MacBrien family around 1550 and is now one of 167 remaining but in ruinous condition.
A towerhouse is a fortified stone residence that is typically four or more stories tall and all of the similar design. The castle had an opening for pouring molten substances on an invading force below and systems for removing waste and sprouts to drain off water. It measured sixty-three by forty-eight feet in external dimensions and roughly sixty feet in height.
Pallas House is located on the western side of the village of Old Pallas and was built by the Apjohn family in the 1790s. It is a magnificent and historic structure that has stood over the Fair Green for generations.
The property was held by Mr Thomas Apjohn on behalf of the Erasmus Smith Trust Trustees, who possessed considerable amounts of land in County Limerick and the parish of Pallasgrean Templebraden.
Prior to the development of the New Line (N24) from Limerick to Waterford the old road passed through the village of Old Pallas which held a number of Fair Days on the Fair Green. The New Line led to the development of New Pallas village.
Patrick Sarsfield's name and glory will be permanently linked to Limerick and Ballyneety, where he and 600 troopers surprised and destroyed a supply train parked overnight in Ballyneety in 1690.
The train was on its way to Caherconlish, where William of Orange was preparing to lay siege to Limerick and awaiting supplies. The siege of Limerick was subsequently lifted and King William returned to London via the old road to Waterford.
Sarsfield's Rock marks the place where Sarsfield surprised the overnight camp. In 1976, President Cearbhall Dálaigh unveiled the location, which offers panoramic views to the north, east, and south. The striking St Brigid's Church is nearby.
The Village of Nicker
Nicker is a small, unspoilt picturesque village nestled at the foot of Knock Grean. The village itself is built in the cruciform style, with sixteen well-kept buildings dating from the 1500s descending down the hill from Knock Grean, and the 200-year-old St John the Baptist at the northern end of the cross.
A Grotto and Way of the Cross are located on the church grounds, while the former school building now functions as a meeting space. The old Mass Rock on Knock Grean offers a spectacular view across the valley to Slieve Phelim.
Companies of the Irish Volunteers and Cumann na mBan were formed at Templebraden and Pallasgrean in East Limerick during the War of Independence and were quite active. One of the most dramatic events occurred in February 1921 when RIC and Black and Tan forces were ambushed in Dromkeen.
The East Limerick Brigade was in charge of the operation, which was regarded as one of the most successful of its time. Members of the Pallas and Templebraden Companies were involved in this. Details and photographs of the dramatic time have been chronicled in the parish magazine 'grean.'
A memorial to the ambush was unveiled on February 8th 2009, and the ambush can be seen as a crucial step in the struggle for a free and independent country.
Oyster Ballroom, Dromkeen
When the Oyster Ballroom opened on November 19, 1958, Dromkeen was also home to what was touted as Munster's largest ballroom of its sort. It produced a social shift in terms of the effect it had on its locality, as did many of the dance halls that sprouted up at crossroads around the country at the time.
Unfortunately, on August 16th, 2015, this era came to an end when the structure was destroyed by fire. The property, like many of these halls across the country, is now occupied by a furniture warehouse.