‘The Glen of Aherlow is a lovely valley, nine miles long and three miles wide. The Galtee mountains are on the south side and the Slievenamuck Hills are on the north side. The River Aherlow flows through it, the village of Bansha, Co. Tipperary is at the eastern end, and the village of Galbally, Co. Limerick at the western.’
I wrote these words as a boy in national school, for our annual essay on the Glen. As my boyish hand earnestly wrote its way down the page of my copybook, little did I think that, years into the future, I’d be using those same words as the opening lines to a book about the Glen. The words of the essay stayed with me over the years, setting important mental and physical perimeters around the place I love. Then, as now, I wanted to tell everyone about the Glen, the mountains, the hills, the valley, the villages, its people and its places. My heart’s in The Glen and The Glen is in my heart. I’ve always felt its magnetic appeal and a longing to share it.
Behold Aherlow is not a history, but a strong sense of nationalism must inform any account of the happenings in our valley. The Lynch family was deeply nationalistic and from an early age I was aware of events such as the ambush at Lisnagaul, and the role of the Galtee Battalion in the rescue of Sean Hogan at Knocklong. I was also aware, albeit to a lesser extent, of the part which the Glen played in the Geraldine Wars from the 14th to the 16th centuries. Growing up in the Glen, I was nourished by its strong sense of community. Two people influenced me greatly here: my father, Patrick Lynch; and Canon John Hayes, founder of Muintir na Tire. Muintir played a major role in the development of the entire Glen, and I was privileged to see it evolve and be a part of its later development.
Sport, mostly Gaelic football, plays quite a big role in the lives of the communities in the Glen. I have observed the effect which the ebb and flow of championship
fortune has had on teams and their followers.
Sometimes, history-making events have lifted the parishes to new heights, in areas not directly connected with the sport they love and espouse. The elemental and the temporal and the spiritual profoundly meet at Sacred Sites from Bansha to Galbally. These holy places play a still-important part in the lives of all who live in The Glen: may all who visit them – and the Glen – be refreshed in body and spirit.
Preface by the author Michael Lynch
In his book Behold Aherlow, the Tipperary author Michael Lynch takes you on a fascinating journey through the history of the Glen of Aherlow. From the searing impact of the Irish War of Independence, to Muintir na Tire founder Cannon Hayes, to the triumphs and disappointments of its sporting hurling and gaelic football heroes, Behold Aherlow is a book rich in historic Irish events, personal memories and colourful personalities.
A must read for those interested in Irish history and local Tipperary history. Above all, it is a portrait of a place and its people, lovingly brought to life in words and images that will stay long in the mind.
The first edition of Behold Aherlow was published in 2002. It was launched in the Aherlow House Hotel, Glen of Aherlow, Co Tipperary. The book was launched by Billy Kingston, Chairman of the Aherlow Failte Society.
Book Chapters (1st Edition):
– The Road to Lisvernane
– A Little History of Lisvernane
– A Home in Tipperary
– Aherlow Through Time
– The Genesis of the Glen
– Bansha Then and Now
– A Historical Journey Through Galbally
– Along the Top Road
– An Exile Remembers Barna
– Coach Road
– The War of Independence
– The Galtee Battalion and Knocklong
– The Galbally Five
– After Knocklong
– Paddy Lynchs Ordeal
– Muintir na Tire
– Bansha Muintir
– Aherlow Muintir
– Galbally Muintir
– The Glens Antique and Sacred Sites
– Visiting the Glen
– An Addendum and Two Ballads
The Second Edition: 2017
The original book was written mostly just before the turn of the century. It was published in 2002. Many changes have taken place in the Glen of Aherlow in the intervening period and the revised and enlarged edition takes many of these changes into account. For example, Aherlow won their first ever Senior County Football final in 2006. Galbally won another national environmental award (in their section) when they brought home the Pride of Place title to the little village in 2010. Galtee Rovers (Bansha) produced in 2010 also a truly magnum opus detailing the clubs history since 1885. Aherlow Failte Society introduced new loop walks and the relevant maps to go with them.
The new edition will have some fine new photographs and larger print of the script.
NOTE: After a brief heart illness, Michael passed away in January 2012. He is survived by his wife Betty and his four children. His family will be releasing the new edition of the book. If you are interested in obtaining a copy, please contact us here.
Photos by the author