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Sliabh na mBan
Slievenamon 2006-07-01.jpg
Slievenamon viewed from the northeast
Highest point
Elevation 721 m (2,365 ft)
Prominence 638 m (2,093 ft)
Listing Marilyn, Hewitt
Coordinates 52°25′48″N 7°33′47″W / 52.430°N 7.563°W / 52.430; -7.563Coordinates: 52°25′48″N 7°33′47″W / 52.430°N 7.563°W / 52.430; -7.563
Translation mountain of the women (Irish)
Slievenamon is located in island of Ireland
Location in Ireland
Location County Tipperary, Ireland
OSI/OSNI grid S297307
Topo map OSi Discovery 67

Slievenamon (Irish: Sliabh na mBan, [ˈʃlʲiəw n̪ˠə ˈmˠanˠ], "mountain of the women") is a mountain which is situated northwest of Carrick on Suir and northeast of Clonmel in County Tipperary, Ireland. It stands at 721 m (2,365 ft). Sitting at the western end of a range of low hills, Slievenamon is a striking conical mass, offering a dramatic view from the top over the counties of Tipperary, Kilkenny and Waterford. Much of its lower slopes is wooded. A low hill attached to Slievenamon, known as Carrigmaclea (a.k.a. Carraigmoclear), was the site of a battle during the Irish Rebellion of 1798.


Slievenamon summit

The origin of the mountain's name is explained in Irish mythology. According to the tale, Fionn mac Cumhaill was sought after by many young women, but he said that he could have only one partner. His partner would be whichever woman won a footrace to the top of the mountain. Fionn stood on the cairn atop the mountain and gave a signal to start the race. The winner was Gráinne.[1] A more prosaic local explanation of the origin is that from a distance and the right angle (as can be seen in the accompanying photograph) the hill resembles a woman lying on her back. It is sometimes known as the "Hill of the Pap" or just "Pap Hill" to residents of South Kilkenny.


There are two prehistoric cairns on Slievenamon. One is at the very top, and the other is on a lower summit to the northeast known as Sheegouna (from Irish: Sí Ghamhnaí, meaning "fairy mound of the heifers").

Cultural references[edit]

The song Slievenamon, written in the mid 19th century by revolutionary and poet Charles Kickham, is a well-known patriotic and romantic song about an exile who longs to see "our flag unrolled and my true love to unfold / in the valley near Slievenamon". It is regarded as the unofficial "county anthem" of Co. Tipperary, regularly sung by crowds at sporting events.[2]

The mountain appears in the fairytale The Horned Woman as found in Celtic Fairy Tales (1892, by Joseph Jacobs), where it is the abode of a witches' coven. It is also mentioned in the books The Hidden Side of Things (1913) and The Lives of Alcyone (1924, with Annie Besant) written by the theosophist clairvoyant Charles Webster Leadbeater.[citation needed]

Upon creation of the Irish Free State, the name Slievenamon was unofficially given to one of the 13 armoured Rolls Royce motor cars which were handed over to the new Free State army by the outgoing administration. Slievenamon was escorting the army's commander-in-chief, Michael Collins, when he was ambushed and killed near Béal na Bláth.[3] The car, since renamed to the Irish Sliabh na mBan, has been preserved by the Irish Defence Forces.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Monaghan, Patricia. The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore. Infobase Publishing, 2004. p.192
  2. ^ "The Story of Slievenamon". Tipperary Star. 2008-11-03. 
  3. ^ "Kenny first sitting Taoiseach to address Béal na mBláth". The Irish Times. 2012-08-07.