Mountain, Myth and Legend
Brian Hoey, founder of Mountain Ways Ireland, grew up on the slopes of Slieve Gullion. The landscape is etched in his DNA coming from a seventh generation farming family. Brian is an all-Ireland and UK qualified Mountain Leader and local Tour Guide. He is a passionate local historian and forager of wild edibles / medicinal herbs. Walk with him in the footsteps of ancestors as he shares his unique story and passion for his ‘home place’. Learn about the folklore, myth and legend, handed down to Brian from his Grandparents, an unbroken oral tradition stretching back into the mists of Irish History. Brian will show you how to forage from nature’s wild larder and open the door to medicinal uses, old beliefs, cures and superstitions. Listen to tall tales of ancient Celtic warriors and mythical giants that once roamed this historic borderland.
Angelina from Belfast wrote… “Brian guided my husband and I to the top of mystical Slieve Gullion. He is a highly skilled tour guide, knowledgeable about the land, history and its people. Brian is a great storyteller - he took it at our pace. We had a fantastic experience and look forward to finding an opportunity to take part in one of his tours in the future”.
Slow Immersive Experience at Killeavy Castle Estate - Escape, Embrace, Enjoy!
This slow but gently active adventure break is perfect for re-uniting with family and friends. Spend some quality time together getting back to what is important, awaken deep ancestral connections in remote and wild places and then retreat each day to the luxury of Killeavy Castle Estate.
Our Slow Adventure Break includes
- Relax during 2 nights within this special mountain environment, in a superior room at Killeavy Castle Estate
- 2 fully guided slow adventures with passionate local expert, Brian
- Enjoy home grown, local and seasonal produce during your dining experience which has a farm to fork ethos
- 2 course lunch on arrival and on day 2
- 7 course Taste of Killeavy Dining Experience on your first evening
- 3 course dinner in the bar on second evening
- 2 leisurely breakfasts on day 2 and 3
Day One: Forage, Farm to Fork
After lunch, local foraging expert, Brian, will welcome you to your first 2-hour slow adventure experience at the Killeavy Castle Estate where his Grandfather worked as a young boy. Brian has walked this landscape for many years and knows the mountain, it’s fields and woods like the back of his hand. This fascinating 'Introduction to Foraging Experience', explores a diverse habitat that is bursting with a bountiful wild harvest if you just know where to look. Re-connect with nature by just slowing down and appreciating the beauty below your feet and in the hedgerows all around. You will learn how to forage safely and sustainably, how to identify, collect and prepare seasonal wild foods. Did you know that ‘hairy bittercress’ is neither hairy nor bitter but instead has a beautiful mustard, cress like flavour and better still it grows almost everywhere!
Brian will weave the history, folklore and legend that surrounds some of these trees and plants. Learn about their ancient traditional uses and medicinal qualities, this is the knowledge that our ancestors possessed. Your taste buds will have been well awakened, but first, time to rest and relax before your sumptuous dining experience. Enjoy the hotel’s complimentary thermal facilities or enjoy the tranquillity of the beautiful grounds of the Estate but be warned, you may not get far, because every step will now have you examining the plants and biodiversity all around!
Day Two: Mountain, Myth and Legend
After breakfast, Brian will meet you for your second slow adventure, a 3-hour gentle hike filled with story, fun and craic. This is the ‘easy’ way to climb Irelands ‘most mystical mountain’, Slieve Gullion. It only requires a moderate level of fitness because expert mountain guide, Brian will take much of the ‘bite’ out of the climb for you. You will follow Brian in your own car for the short scenic 10-minute drive to reach the highest mountain car park. At this point as you get ready for the hike, Brian will reveal the magical volcanic vista below, a ‘Ring Dyke of Hills’, each with its unique Gaelic name. It’s an invigorating half hour hike to the top but you’ll do it all at a very relaxed pace as Brian pauses along the way telling the story of South Armagh, the story of Ireland. On the summit stands the highest surviving passage tomb in the country, a structure older than the pyramids of Egypt. Step inside and go back over 5000 years to re-connect with your ancient ancestors. A short 20-minute trek across a good upland path takes us to the enchanted lake where millennia ago the old witch of the mountain, the ‘Cailleach Bearra’ cast her spell on the mighty warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill.
After breakfast, enjoy a ‘Foraged and Forest’ tea-making workshop with Executive Chef Darragh, using seasonal herbs and flowers from the working farm. Check-out from the Hotel with your own unique blend of Killeavy Castle Estate tea, bringing a taste of the forest and its holistic benefits home with you. Make sure to leave your contact details so that Brian can send you a complimentary PDF booklet explaining some of the plants you’ve come across in Killeavy.
Upcoming Events in 2021
Summer: 24 and 26 May | Autumn: 6 and 8 September | Winter: 8 and 10 November
From £345 per person (prices are based on two people sharing). Book through the offers sections of the website of calling the Hotel on +44 (0) 28 3044 4888