Don’t Blink! You Might Just Miss Lovely Lehanmore!

There are little jewel-like places that dot the highways and by-ways of the Ring of Beara. Each one has something special to offer, it’s just knowing where to look.

Lehanmore, Loughane More, An Lochán Mór, County Cork, Ireland….it’s just a tiny place you’ll pass through on the way to visit Dursey Island. Don’t blink, you just might miss it! Better yet, keep your eyes open, stop when you see it, park your car/bike and for a moment or two breathe in the salty sea air and the view.

The crossroads in Lehanmore is graced with a Marian Shrine, finely carved and decorated with scallop shells. Pebbles outline the dates 1170 and 1783. I’ve been ever curious about the significance of the numbers; as soon as I find out I will post the information for you.

The scallop shell, in the Christian tradition, is often a symbol for Baptism. During the time of the Renaissance, the scallop shell also symbolized Mary’s immaculate conception.

There is a small font for holy water tucked into a niche in the wall standing before the shrine. Although likely carved from marble, the stone has an alabaster-like quality.

Right across the street from the Marian shrine is a sloping farmer’s field that overlooks the sea. Let your gaze drift across the ancient stone walls and your eyes will spot a remarkable sight. When the sun shines just the right way, you will be able to clearly see the remains of an ancient ring fort. Apparently there is a mysterious tunnel in the fort that leads to the sea. I’ve not yet explored it myself (hopefully soon, with the farmer’s permission) but I expect the tunnel is a souterrain, an underground tunnel not only used for provisions, but for quick escape from approaching invaders!

If you venture off the main road and drive towards the sea, you will be greeted by inspiring views of cliffs and ocean. There are so many lovely places here on the Beara Peninsula, and because the area is relatively small, you can spend your time enjoying your adventure without a hectic pace.

The Irish landscape contains many secrets that are overlooked by the average passerby. What appears to be just a mound of gorse fenced off in a  tiny farmer’s field is actually a sacred place. It is a cillinigh or cillin (killeen), a children’s graveyard. Unbaptized babies and children were buried in liminal places such as existing burial mounds, beside or under boundary stone walls, cross roads , and the north side of cemeteries. I will be writing more about these little places scattered across the landscape in some upcoming posts.

When it’s time to leave lovely Lehanmore, don’t forget to stop in at the post office and send  a “Wish You Were Here” postcard (or two) to your friends and family. The ever vigilant postmaster always has an interesting story to share.

Would you like to visit? Here’s how to find Lehanmore:


About Susanne Iles

Contemporary symbolist artist, writer,curator,and geek/nerd girl . Interested in photography, mythology, alchemy,ancient history,science,gaming and magic.
This entry was posted in Beara Peninsula, Cemetary, Cillínigh, County Cork, Dursey Island, Historical Site, Killeen, Marian Shrine, Ring Fort and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Don’t Blink! You Might Just Miss Lovely Lehanmore!

  1. Hello Susanne
    I loved your sharing of Lehanmore and the Marian Shrine. I just came from a darshan visit with Amma, “the hugging saint” who was in Seattle. I am drawn to all the manifestations of the Divine Feminine, which she is, so it was lovely to see the Lehanmore Shrine.
    I have pushed up my plans to visit Ireland and will be there this summer from August 2-23rd. It will be a kind of midlife spiritual pilgrimage for me and I am very excited. I will try to visit your art studio. It would be lovely to meet you. I admire all the many creative talents that your blog shares.
    Many Blessings,
    Joanna Cashman

  2. Lorraine says:

    I love your knowledge of and insight into, Beara’s hidden gems and refer people to your articles and tweets regularly. Thank you so much for sharing. I know that these insights will enrich the Beara experience not only for my guests but for all of your readers too.
    Thank you.

  3. Sean Michael Sullivan says:

    My father, Florence Patrick O’Sullivan, was born and raised in a very small cottage in Lehanmore. I have made four trips to Ireland and have visited the very spot that he was raised. I have not been to Ireland in ten years but plan to visit this June. My father passed two years ago at the age of 93. When I make my way here again to Lehanmore I’m not sure I’ll be able to contain the tears. Thank you for this website.

  4. Really appreciate you sharing this article.Really looking forward to read more.

  5. Tim King says:

    My James Sullivan and his wife Mary Hanley came from Lehanmore to Massachusetts, USA in the mid 1820’s. Their two oldest sons were born there. Hope to visit soon. What were the main occupations in Lehanmore in the 1820’s? Mining? Farming?

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