Blackstairs Mountains , Counties Wexford and Carlow

This long mountain range which forms the border between two countries is known from its appearance as na Staighri Dubha (‘the Black Stairs’) and its scenery is a must see on your Ireland tours. Notwithstanding this name , it is an area of great natural beauty , and boasts as its peak the aptly named Mount Leinster , which rises to a height of almost 2,625 feet. In Irish , this peak is actually referred to as the Sui or ‘Seat’ of Leinster , because of the wonderful view to be had from there of much of the province.

It is said that a boy from that area once went to work in France. He was a handsome and dashing youth , and the daughter of the French King took a liking to him and brought him home to the palace to meet her people. The King naturally began to enquire about his family. The boy answered that he was of exalted lineage , his father being the King of Blackstairs with a seat on Mount Leinster. On further questioning , he revealed that , when sitting to table , his father always had a bearded guard with a halberd on each side of him. The same table-cloth was never used twice , and the food which was left over in the pot was always thrown out.

Duly impressed , the French King consented to the boy’s marriage to his daughter. Later on , however , when he went to visit his royal counterpart on the Blackstairs , he found to his dismay that the mansion was but a tiny cottage near the top of the mountain. The ‘King’ sat to table with two billy goats standing beside him. The ‘table-cloth’ was but a layer of straw which was wiped away after each meal , while a pig had its head in a pot eating the leftovers!

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