Lovers' Walk is on the
road from Montenotte to Tivoli and within the Parish of St. Patricks'.
The name in Irish is Siul na Lobhar' - The Walk of
the Lepers'- nothing romantic about it!
It seems to be connected
with pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James at Santiago de Compostella
in Spain. In mediaeval times, Compostella, Rome and Jerusalem were
great centres of pilgrimage with a reputation for curing leprosy
or any skin ailment for which there was no known medical cure.
The feast of St. James
is on the 25th. July each year. Any year that this falls on a Sunday
is a Holy Year in Spain and pilgrims flock to Compostella. A pilgrim
ship from Ireland would berth initially at St. James' Gate, the
home of Guinness' Brewery, in Dublin, and make a further call to
Cork for passengers before departing for Spain.
There was a leprosarium
outside Cork in the region of Glanmire and a lookout would be posted,
at a distance from the city, on the high ground above the River
Lee to watch for the ship's arrival.
The pilgrims would then walk to the ship using the road that still
bears their name Siul na Lobhar' - Lovers Walk'.
But then, there is another
viewpoint on the origin of Lovers Walk'. Local folklore has
it that Sara Curran, lover of Robert Emmet, would stay at the stately
home of the Penrose family in Tivoli Woods, overlooking the River
Lee, and both Sara and Robert were often seen strolling along Siul
na Lobhar'. It is known that Sara spent some time with the Penrose
family, mourning the death of Robert following the failed uprising
For travellers on this
beautiful road, it is perhaps more pleasing to reflect on the notion
that the tragic pair walked hand in hand, as lovers would do, along
this road, 200 years ago