Updated: Oct 28, 2022
How did people get around before we had cars? If you look at the fourth edition of the Ordnance Survey you will find the answer!
For the last number of months I have been working on a project with Kilclief Residents Association and Councillor Cadogan Enright. To date we have examined almost every old pad (path) and loney (lane) which across north Lecale. The number there are is simply astounding.
Around the area of Saul, Raholp and Ballyalton there only a couple of the old routes which survive. The section of the Lecale Way from Ballyalton to Ballystokes uses what was known as the Green Loney or Annabella's Loney, after Annabella Doran who lived near Saul. This was an old chapel pad.
Patsy Fitzsimons of the Griddle recalls, 'Passing Higgin's Downfall was the way for us to get to Saul Sunday (annual Mass on Slieve Patrick). We would come into Mountain Quarter and go out to the bridge.' The gate is still in situ half way up the mountain. This was the old school pad for children from Ballystokes and Ballyalton.
The section of the Lecale Way from Raholp to the Strangford Road (New Line) is known as the Scra Pads. Barney Curran says, 'Dont ask me how to spell it but that is what we know it as. They went all the way to the River Slaney.' Even more surprising to discover was the next section to the Myra Road was once part of an old road from Walshestown to Saul. 'It ran all the way from the Castle to Saul passing the back of Cavan and coming out near McCormick's Bog,' explained Barney's father Vincy.
Vincy went on to explain his outrage at the notion that Ballintogher - the townland of the causeway - Baile an Tochair - was named after the causeway to Castle Island. 'It is the causeway from the Shore Farm at the Slaney to the farm in the middle of Nell's Island.' Producing a copy of the first edition of the Ordnance Survey from 1834 his point was satisfactorily proven. 'The lough in behind is actually Creen's Lough not Queen's Lake too! When the causeway and sluice gate was built it then became a through route.' Barney concurred, 'I mind walking it every year on Saint Patrick's Day.'
What remains of the old pads in this part enable a great off road opportunity to explore the life, legacy and legend of Saint Patrick. When delivering the Patrick and the pagan hills walk I always aim to incorporate as many of these old lanes that I can.