Map 5 Cloondacarra to Ballintober

Emerging, you cross the road, (another access to Castlerea) and turning right down country lane (leading to signpost for Castlerea, turn right go through the gates at the railway line (Dublin-Westport line) and take to boreens and lanes through the townland of Emlagh. Close by in a field is the Emlagh Cross, dating to the 11th century, sole remnant of a monastery founded in the 5th century by St. Brochaid, said to be a nephew of St. Patrick. The Way continues on road way and lanes, rising through farmland, well-populated by cattle and sheep, with a magnificent view of the ruins of Ballintober Castle and of the village.

This village was originally Ballintober Bridge, the village of St. Brigid’s Well: the well, which is in the centre of the village, has been recently restored. The Castle, which dominates the village, was built originally by the O’Conor clan in the 13th century. It had a stormy history of battles and sieges, both between Irish and Normans, and amongst the many O’Conor septs. The O’Conors held the castle until the 1650s when it was taken over by the Cromwellians. It was returned to the O’Conor after the Restoration, but was sold in the next century. It is just beside the road, and open, so take a little time to wander round its towers and walls, which are a fine example of mediaeval castle architecture. The village itself is neat and picturesque, and has had several successes in the annual National Tidy Towns Competition.