100 Lights at Baravore

The Footbridge at Baravore, Glenmalure

The story of the 100 Lights at Baravore, a townland at the head of Glenmalure valley in Co. Wicklow is an interesting story dating back to the mining era in the mid nineteenth century.

At this time the isolated townland of Baravore, like many other areas in Co. Wicklow’s Uplands was bustling with the clattering sounds of industry from the mining explorations.

The establishment of the mining enterprise increased the population of Baravore by almost 300%. In 1841 there were thirty people living in the townland. By 1851 thirty three houses were recorded with a population of 278 people as migrant workers and their families had moved into small purpose built dwellings along the roadside. A tall new crusher house was built 1859-1860 and still stands majestically to remind us of those times.

Oral folklore tells us that families gathered and walked together to attend religious services in Greenane and Ballinatone, the nearest Catholic and Church of Ireland churches to their homes. On Christmas Morning it was said that 100 Lights crossed the ford crossing on the River Avonbeg at the present Baravore car park. This story has been handed down in the oral folklore and has inspired poetry and song.

Candlelight Walk of 100 Lights

On January 6th 2018, to celebrate the story of the 100 Lights a candlelight walk was organised by Glenmalure PURE Mile Group. One hundred lighted candles lined the ford crossing at Baravore and hundreds more lit either side of the newly opened mining 3km Looped Trail through the Coillte woodlands.

Local Poet Seán Healy recited his own poem ‘100 Lights,’ before the crowd walked across the ford and around the candlelit path. The event concluded with refreshments in the local An Óige hostel followed by a traditional Irish sing song.

 

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