04 Dec 2021

‘Gout’s pool’ and ‘St. Declan’s Way’in Cashel

The Harpist who played for Saul, from Ardmore Cathedral, getting ready for The Gout's Pool, Cashel - St Declan's Way. Picture courtesy of Stonemad Sculpture Workshops, Thurles.
People might well ask where and what is the Gout’s Pool in Cashel ?

People might well ask where and what is the Gout’s Pool in Cashel ?

The Gout’s Pool lies alongside the Clonmel Road - on the left hand side as you leave the town. It was in great danger of being lost altogether due to changes in the surrounding landscape - possibly due to roadworks associated with construction of the M8 Motorway which passes closeby. You may well be aware that it is actually a pool that forms in natural depressions - where the soil is suitable - following heavy rains.

The name Gout is believed to derive from an old name for what is now Upper Friar St - originally called ‘Gotestret’ - suggesting Scandinavian origin perhaps associated with the Viking invasion. Cashel Tidy Towns Committee - were approached some time ago by the then Cashel Town Council and took on the task of recovering this part of Cashel’s heritage. Over the past year or so the site, which had been in large part abandoned and fallen derelict was cleaned up and serious work commenced. Quite early on it was decided to incorporate elements of St Declans Way - a medieval pilgrimage and trade route leading from Ardmore on the East coast all the way to Cashel. The ‘Gouts Pool’ site now includes lovely carved stonework and landscape features commemorating places and events associated with both the Rock of Cashel itself and St. Declans Way. Getting back to the Gouts Pool itself, you might also be surprised to learn that it is believed to have been used in ancient times as a ‘duck pond’, into which petty criminals were plunged as punishment for their crimes. Although the main physical features have now been finished, a careful planting program will be undertaken stocking the site with trees, shrubs and plants appropriate to the route of St. Declans Way.

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