Lyreacrompane (Ladhar an Crompáin) which means the space between converging rivers, is located in the Stacks Mountains between the Smearlagh river and the Crumpane River. Lyre (as it is known locally) lies in close proximity to Listowel, Castleisland, Abbeyfeale and Tralee.
It is a wonderful location for nature lovers where fishing, walking, cycling and photography can be enjoyed amidst the heather clad mountains and rushing mountain streams. It was in this natural and rugged landscape that John B. Keane (playwright and novelist) spent the summers of his youth and referred to the Stacks Mountains as “Too small to be called mountains and too big to be called hills”. It was home to many of the characters who later inspired his plays and stories. One of those characters was Dan Paddy Andy O’Sullivan (Man of the Triple Name), the last of the great Irish Matchmakers, who is commemorated here annually at the Dan Paddy Andy Festival with music, song, dance and storytelling. The annual festival takes place over the August bank-holiday weekend.
John B also proclaimed “I fell immediately in love with this strange and wonderful countryside, with the character, colour and language of its people and with its numerous dancing streams. The unbounded freedom of hills and glens amount to sheer paradise. The Stacks Mountains have a magic all of their own where the green pastures and meadows merge into boglands. The dominating colour is brown but ever and always it is a brown that is warm and comforting”.
Bord na Móna worked the bogland here from 1949 to 1966 and used a train, the Lyre Locomotive LM12, which was American built and the only one of its kind in Ireland.
The Lyreacrompane Mass path will take you on a nature inspired walk on the banks of the river Smearlagh, (an important spawning ground for salmon), past the local church and two commerative stones to Fr. John O’Donoghue, author and poet, who’s memory is held dear in the sentiments of the Lyreacrompane community.
Folklore has it that the great Fionn Mac Cumhaill chief of Na Fianna is buried in the Stacks Mountains.
If you want to experience the best of rural Ireland with a vibrant local community and hospitable people then a visit to “Gods Own Country” is a must.