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Mullaghmore: A Castle, a Sundial, and a Poet

Updated: Jun 12, 2022

When the ship anchored at Mullaghmore, I immediately noticed Classiebawn, a castle built in the 1860’s by English Prime Minister Lord Palmerston. This is the same castle that eventually became the holiday home of Lord Mountbatten. On August 27, 1979 Mountbatten, two family members, and a local boy were killed when a bomb blew up their boat. The bombing was a political statement by the IRA.

We disembarked to take a stroll around the countryside and get a more pastoral view of the castle. As we walked along the road, with fields and wildflowers on either side, a few Connemara ponies greeted us .

After about 30 minutes, we stopped at a sundial monument. Joe McGowan, a local historian, appeared out of nowhere (later we learned it had all been arranged). He explained that the sundial was a tribute to well-known Mullaghmore native Freddy McHugh and the lost village of Mullach Gearr, which was situated behind Freddy’s house. (The house is in the image.)

Joe pointed out that monuments are typically made to famous people, and that he was keen to remember the common person. He also reminded us that while the Mountbatten assassination was a tragedy, it is unfortunate that few people remember the local boy who was also killed on that day.

Later we set off for a ride to the Glencar waterfall. On the way, we drove through idyllic valleys and small towns. On the return we visited the grave of poet W.B. Yeats at Drumcliffe Church. This was also the location of one of Colmcille’s monasteries.

Throughout the trip we encountered places where Colmcille had spread Christianity. He was an Irish abbot and missionary who lived from 521 to 591 AD. He’s also know as Columba. Those who want to visit all the medieval sites attributed to him can walk the St. Columba Way.

Image: Many monuments in the cemetery were well-worn and covered in lichen.

Image: A restaurant on the water in Mullaghmore.

Image: An old building on our walking tour of Mullaghmore .

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