“On a clear day rise and look around you and you’ll see who you are.
On a clear day how it will astound you that the glow of your being, outshines every star.”
(Words by lyricist Alan Jay Lerner, from the musical “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever”.)
This weekend, why not take a leisurely drive into the area of the Knockmealdown mountains known as “The Vee”, situated in south Tipperary on the remote, picturesque borders of counties Tipperary and Waterford.
The Vee, situated on the R668 between Lismore, Co. Waterford and Clogheen in Co. Tipperary gets its name from a V-shaped bend on the road leading to a gap in the Knockmealdown mountains. The roadway itself is situated on the slopes of Sugar Loaf, passing from Tipperary to Waterford; running between Knockaunabulloga and Bay Lough (a low lying picturesque lake) on the right and the Sugar Loaf itself, on the left. Local folklore states that the Vee road was constructed during the ‘Great Famine’, but the area’s Ordnance Survey map of 1840 would appear to contradict this account.
The heavy rain showers during the last few days will possibly have removed a great deal of that sea of pink rhododendron blossoms, stretching for as far as the eyes can see; freely growing in groves in the area, at mother nature’s discretion. However their absence will take little from the rugged, untended, wild beauty of this outstanding landscape, nor indeed the breathtaking panoramic views afforded to travellers and sight-seers.
From this viewpoint almost 2,000 ft above sea level, same lends itself to views across the valley to the towns of Clonmel, Cahir, and the lesser hamlets of Ardfinnan, Clogheen and Ballyporeen, latter village ancestral home to former late United States President Ronald Reagan. You can also view the Galtee Mountains the Comeragh Mountains together with Slievenamon, quite clearly from this vantage point.
Few people today refer to the 1975 British-American period drama film ‘Barry Lyndon’, directed by Stanley Kubrick, which chose this mountainous area ‘The Vee,’ as their period location. Based on the 1844 novel ‘The Luck of Barry Lyndon’, by William Makepeace Thackeray, this film won four Oscars in production categories and is today regarded as one of Kubrick’s finest films ever made.
This film starred Ryan O’Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Krüger and, as shown in the clip above, Leonard Rossiter, the dancing Captain, (Remember “Rigsby” in Rising Damp & in the Title Role of “The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin”). The film recounts the exploits of a fictional 18th-century Irish adventurer.
Samuel Richard Grubb, High Sheriff of Tipperary 1916.
It is here also at this scenic area that a rather curious pile of limestone rocks emerge, dome-shaped, from the hillside. This stone erection is the last resting place of Mr Samuel R. Grubb, appointed High Sheriff of Tipperary in 1916 and who requested that he be buried here to overlook a ‘picturesque and romantic view’ of his county.
Local tales that he believed he would be reincarnated into a bee in an after life situation (memorial shaped like a beehive) and that he insisted that he be buried with his horse standing upright are hardly believable, but facts we do know are recorded hereunder.
Picturesque Obsequies – Burial on Mountain.
Funeral of the late Mr S. R. Grubb. (As reported by the Clonmel Chronicle, 10th September 1921.)
“In accordance with his request, the remains of the late Mr Samuel R. Grubb were interred today on the Sugar Loaf Mountain, on his property. The place selected is a most picturesque and romantic one and commands an excellent view of the county for a considerable area.
The remains arrived in Castlegrace on Friday by motor hearse from Dublin, and the funeral started at 10.30 this morning. The coffin containing the remains was conveyed on a farm cart to the foot of the mountain and then carried on the shoulders of his tenants and employees to the place of internment on the mountainside.
On arrival at the grave the remains were received by Rev. J. Talbot, Clogheen, who conducted the Burial Service.
The scene on the wild mountain side was picturesque and impressive and will long remain implanted on the minds and hearts of those who had the privilege of witnessing it.
The chief mourners were – Major Raymond Grubb M.C. (Son), Mrs de Sales le Terriere (daughter), Mrs Grubb (daughter-in-law), Mr de Sales le Terriere (son-in-law), Mr Cecil Barrington, Mrs Taylor, and Mr James Binny.
There were a large number of beautiful floral tributes from, amongst others, Mrs Grubb (Widow), Major Grubb, Mrs Grubb (Suir Island), Mr and Mrs de Sales le Terriere, Mrs Denny, Mrs Gutherie, Lady Beatrice Pole-Carew and Mr D. Mahoney.
Those present in addition to the chief mourners included – Major Murdock, Major Hutchinson, Captain Seymour, Mr Gerard Denny, Mr Blakeney (Junr.), Dr W. Walsh, Mr Palmer, Mr Kennedy (Derrygrath), Mr Kennedy (Ballindoney), Mr E.Boyle, Mr J. Mulcahy (Corabella), Mr W.Byrne (Ballinamona), Mr Sutcliffe, Mr Geoffrey Prendegast, etc.
Acting in accordance with the directions of deceased, all the tenantry and employees who attended the funeral were subsequently sumptuously entertained at Castlegrace.”
Voluntas Ultima (Last Will)
[The late Mr Samuel R. Grubb, of Castlegrace, requested that his remains should be interred in a beautiful and romantic spot on the side of the Sugar Loaf hills.]
O place me in a silent grave upon the mountain crest,
‘Mid endless fields of golden gorse, the heather on my breast
‘Mid endless fields of golden gorse, O shape my narrow bed,
Nor plant the cypress at my feet, the willow at my head.
O place me in a silent grave on storied Knockmealdown,
The drowsy churchyard’s not for me, in country or in town;
And when the final trumpet sounds and bids the world “Arise”
‘Twill find me nearer unto Thee, wherein salvation lies.