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Gougane Barra

Ireland Map
Gougane Barra
"There is a green isle in lone Gugán Barra (Gougane Barra)... Where Allua of Songs rushes forth like an arrow...". The moody mountain lake of Gougane Barra is the source of the River Lee in this dramatic glacial valley. It was here, it is said, that St. Finbarr set up a hermitage, under craggy mountains gushing with streams and rivulets and surrounded by pine forests, on a tiny island in the middle of the lake, before he moved downriver to establish his Cork City monastery.

Today, Gougane is a place of prayer and traditional annual pilgrimage from Ballingeary village in honour of St. Finbarr but nothing remains of the original hermitage. The ruins on the island were built in the 1700`s by a Carmelite priest, Father Denis Mahony. There is also a small stone romanesque-style chapel at the edge of the lake. This is a relatively modern building. Ireland's first forest park was created here across 1,000 acres above the lake. The Gougane Barra Forest Park with its conifers, birch trees, rowans and arbutus is certainly a fascinating place to explore.

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