Foill An Priosun
This cliff is so-named for the two large terraces on which sheep get marooned - prisons.
Location - This cliff is at approx. 500 metres in altitude above the main Carrick-on-Suir to Dungarvan road. It is to the west of Kilclooney Farm which is marked on the 1/2 inch O. S. map but not marked on sheet 75 (1 -50000 series).
Approach - The best approach to the cliff is from the Carrick - Dungarvan road. Cars may be parked at the South end of the forest at Grid Ref. S342097. The forest boundary may be followed easily to the south west corner, then follow some faint sheep tracks (if you can find them) in the direction of the cliff. It stands out as an obvious prow of rock high on the left (south) as you approach from the forest. Allow about forty minutes for the 1. 5 km approach.
Cliff Topo with additional routes
THE GREAT ESCAPE 80m VS 4c, 4c, 4c, 4c, 4c
Opposite the South-facing cliffs, is an arete. Despite its somewhat unprepossessing appearance, this provides a delightful and satisfying outing of five 10 - 15m pitches. Each pitch presents a different challenge and each is fully worthy of its grade. The frequent belays offer repeated opportunities to savour the view and the experience and to light up [smokers only].
1. Start at the RHS of the arete. Climb the jamming crack and wind leftwards under the overhang into a groove. Belay under the overhang.
2. Climb up on RHS and step immediately leftward across the lip of the overhang [small friend in vertical crack] to gain the arete. Continue over stacked blocks to grassy belay.
3. From LHS of arete, follow short diagonal crack to arete and step confidently around to short slab. Belay at large block.
4.Cross heathery slope to easy-looking rock. Closer-up, this has the appearance of magnified congealed porridge. Everything is rounded and keen eyesight is needed to find gear.
5. Climb the obvious wide broken crack. Everything seems to be hunkydory until the final surprise dose of 'porridge'. Belay on spikes at what proves to be a pinnacle.
Descent: Sheep tracks to south, viewed on the ascent look suitable although not used on this occasion.
G.Fogg, M.Griffin; B.McConnell, E.McBride. 24/7/2015. Onsight.
The easiest descent is by making one's way down to the abseil point over Piper's Groove.
Routes described from right to left [east to west]
From large lower ledge
RANDOM FITS o' DAFFIN 30m HVS 5a 5a
This is the corner, just to the right of Maastricht Groove, that marks the boundary between the South-facing and East-facing sections of the cliff.
Approach: As for Greeted by Ants . Clip the peg and continue, with more protection, past Maastricht Groove to gain the corner.
1. 15m 5a Bridge up the corner. At the overhanging blocks, make a move to gain the arete and continue to belay above.
2. 15m 5a Go up, past the next ledge and more easily, until confronted by the huge blocks that bar the way. The gap between them being too narrow to negotiate, traverse awkwardly left and up past a small rowan tree.
3. 5m 4b Climb the back of the 'room' (as mentioned below) to passageway down to the terrace and abseil.
G.Fogg M. Griffin 26/4/2021 Onsight.
MAASTRICHT GROOVE 40m HS 4b
J Bergin, M Keenleyside, June 1996
This route climbs the obvious, [from a distance] double groove at the south-east corner of the crag Note, this groove cannot be seen from where one begins the climb, near the right hand end of the large ledge. Start 10 m right of Shak at right of ledge, just left of hollow shelf.
1. Make a diagonal ascending traverse to the right past ivy to gain access to the base of the large groove on the right edge of the cliff. Belay.
2. Climb the groove, moving to the right where the crack gives two options. A wide bridge at the top enables the climber to reach good handholds so as to exit to the left.
GREETED BY ANTS 45m HVS 5a/b
Start from same point as for Maastricht Groove.
l. 30m. 5a/b Climb easily up to small overhang at 3m [now with peg] Step right to gain shallow groove/crack. Follow this to belay ledge.
2. 15m. As for Shak or else clamber right over holly bush into circular 'room' and climb the back of this to the stairway to the first ledge and abseil.
G.Fogg, H.Fogg, B. Dunne 16/9/2001 onsight.
SKILLIGOLEE 30m E1 5a
Start at same point as Greeted by Ants. The route goes to the left of the little overhang at 3m, following a thin crack towards the left-slanting overhang at half-height. On the way to this, there is a faint bulge; getting past this feels slightly committing as the crack disappears above and the next apparent protection is at the overhang. However, some small wire placements can be found. Above the overhang is easier climbing along the left side of a large flake.
G Fogg, H Fogg 8/6/2007 onsight.
SHAK 45m VS 4c
J Bergin, S Gallwey, 28th. August, 1989
Located near the right end of the SW facing wall of the cliff. Start in a East facing groove approx. 5m from the corner.
(1). 30m. Climb the groove to the top, then break right onto the wall, climbing steeply to a large belay ledge.
(2). 15m. Climb easily but without protection on large holds to the top.
THUNDER ON THE MOUNTAIN 50m VS 4c,4c
Left of Shak, at right hand end of upper narrow ledge [above larger main ledge].
1. 35m Climb detached block to base of left-facing crack. Up this to right-facing flake crack. A detached block on the ledge above forms an overhang but this presents no obstacle. Belay on ledge.
2. 15m Climb the obvious crack to slabby section and follow groove at left to top.
G Fogg H Fogg H Fogg 9/9/2006 onsight
THE WILD SIDE 35m HVS 5a
Start up left-facing crack as for Thunder on the Mountain but instead of going left, go right along grassy ledge to corner. Up this past small overhang and clean slab to ledge, Exit onto either 'Thunder' ledge on left or Shak ledge on right
G Fogg, H Fogg H Fogg 29/4/2007 onsight.
BLACK OUT 55m E2 5b 5b 5a
Start approx. 5m left of Thunder on the Mountain.
Pitch 1 25m 5b Ascend creaky flakes to left-slanting shallow corner and follow this to harder exit left to belay ledge at holly tree.
Pitch 2 12m 5b Climb crack and slab in exposed position with minimal protection to next belay.
Pitch 3 15m 5a To top.
H Hennessy, T Krol 17/3/09 onsight.
From higher up the gully
Getting back down from these climbs is quite complex and a little bit magical.
Head down the most southerly of the east facing part of the cliff. Keep right [looking out] and down-climb easy rock onto a ledge above a hole in the terrace below. The left end of this ledge leads to the terrace. Pass the aforementioned hole [which can be taken but involves a drop at the bottom] and descend the amazing little gully beyond which twists around and down to a second lower terrace. Head north on the terrace to the abseil point above Piper's Groove.
THE OLD RUGGED CROSS 65m E2 5b, 5b, 5a
This follows the sharp-edged left-facing flake crack that starts at 5m and continues to belay at holly tree [shared belay with 'Black Out'].
Start 5m right of 'Echo Crack', directly below right-hand side of big overhang high up.
1. 25m 5b
2. 15m From the belay, step down and make a thin traverse [5b] of the break to the delightful 5a crack which leads to the ledge at the left-hand side of the overhang. This ledge is shared with 'Echo Crack' and 'Jailbreak'.
3. 25m 5a As for 'Echo Crack' : Up crack, traverse right and up huge right-slanting corner.
G. Fogg , M. Walsh , Hh Fogg 24/9/2011 Onsight. One rest for cleaning on pitch 1.
Direct finish ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
As for pitch 2 but continue by bridging up behind the overhanging block and finish up the arete. 50m of pure pleasure. Easy climbing in a stunning environment.
G. Fogg, H. Fogg, Hh Fogg 8/9/2012
ECHO CRACK 50m E2 5b, 5c
Near the centre of the south-facing cliff is a large overhanging block at half-height. The climb starts vertically below this on a ledge at the detached tooth for the belayer to sit on.
1 25m Follow the left-slanting jamming crack to belay in the triangular niche at the top of the pillar
2. 25m From the niche, bridge up and jam the overhanging crack and make a spectacular and exciting move out unto the face at right [crux]. Claw up past vertical grass to ledge. Continue more easily up crack until forced to traverse right and up the pleasant comer to top.
G.Fogg, H,Fogg 24/7/2004 onsight.
JAILBREAK 60m E3 5b,5c,4c,5a,5c 60m
1 25m 5b As for Echo Crack
2. 5m 5c As for Echo crack to ledge. Belay.
3 12m 4c Up crack to overhang. Place gear [2.5 friend] and traverse delicately left until ready to ascend on edges and pebbles to grassy ledge.
4. 8m 5a Clean corner.
5. 10m 6a Eschew the welcoming easy crack and chimney behind the holly bush. Instead, send your second leftwards past this to grovel around ledge, past crack to make a semi-hanging belay on large spikes out of sight. Climb crack to horizontal break [nuts] then fight up to large chock-stone and easier off width finish.
G.Fogg [3,4] H.Fogg  14/8/2005 onsight.
ERunning on Empty' [aka Physiognomy] is the formation that looks like the left-hand side of a face. This likeness may be seen, from, as far away as the road, to right to the base of the climb.
Descent is by abseil from the first terrace above Pipers Groove.
DROP LEFT 30m HVS 5a
From the start of Running on Empty, make exposed moves to gain the arête. Follow this and the crack to the ledge.
P Britton, C Ennis 17/3/09 onsight.
RUNNING ON EMPTY 35m E1 5b
Climb the right-facing corner to the first overhang [nose), move right under this and up to second overhang [eye-socket], right under this and up to terrace. Good protection.
J Bergin, M Lyng 12/9/1996
PIPER'S GROOVE 30m VS (1957 grade)
When Ronnie Wathen climbed this in 1957, it was thought to be the hardest route in the country. It was repeated by Emmet Goulding in 1959. It received its third ascent (in all probability) 18th June 2021. If Quartz Gully is Glendalough’s ‘time-tunnel to the Classic era’, this the Comeragh’s time-tunnel. Modern grading is not well-adapted to this sort of route, but it’s no pushover.
T J Meldrum, R J Wathen 1957
BRIAN'S SLAB 30m E1 5a
The slab to the right of Piper's Groove. Totally absorbing climbing. The start is the hardest where the rock is broken and slightly undercut. Above, follow the crack near the left side of the slab for protection. As this fades to the left, transfer to the crack to the right and repeat higher up. Small gear throughout.
G Fogg H Fogg S. Gallwey 21/4/2007,
PARCHMAN GROOVES 35m VS 4c 4c/5a
These are major features, easily seen on approach (in fact, clearly marked, although not named, on the topo for the East- facing cliff).
The lower groove leads to the Northern termination of the lower ‘prison’ terrace (although the terrace does continue, past the groove, to Crosseyed and Painless bay). The upper groove is an obvious open-book feature, capped, precariously, by a large block, that leads to the upper prison terrace.
1. 20 4c Enter the gully and bridge up the groove. At threequarters height is a squeeze chimney - should you choose to enter it.
2. 15m 4c/5a Climb a short slab to the groove. At the top of the groove - at the block, exit right (or left for variation).
G Fogg M Griffin 7/6/2021 Onsight. Major cleaning on lead on pitch 1.
At the right hand [North] side of the east facing cliff is a bay with a big overhanging shelter over a slab. The following climbs are in this bay.
- AMULET 16m HVS 5b
On the left i.e. north-facing wall of the bay, near the outer edge.
Climb the thin crack and escape left onto platform, Up slab to second platform. Up crack to terrace.
G.Fogg, H.Fogg ,H.Fogg P.Melanophy 28/8/2004
OLD DOG 14m E2 6a
4m right of Amulet. From the ramp, climb the short crack to where it splits the small overhang. Past this [crux] and follow crack to ledge. Top as for Amulet
G.Fogg, H.Fogg 28/8/2004 onsight.
ECO VANDAL 15m VS 4c
Start to left of Cross-eyed and Painless. Follow thin crack up ramp to vertical section then move left and up crack to vegetated ledge. Up short corner crack to terrace.
G.Fogg H.Fogg H.Fogg N.Walls 5/9/2004
CROSS-EYED AND PAINLESS 15m VS 4c
Climb the right edge of the ramp, then ascend steeply up a thin crack to gain a ledge at the beginning of a niche which is climbed more easily to the top.
S. Ryan, J Bergin 26/7/1989
WHIPPING BOY 15m E4 6a
climbs the roof crack four meters right of cross-eyed and painless. Belay from a grassy ledge below the back of the roof. Climb the slab to gain the crack, climb this to a difficult move over the lip, continue up crack until it is possible to step right underneath smaller roof, climb through this on good holds and finish up short corner.
H.Hennessy (unseconded) 24/4/21 (ground up after cleaning, one piece insitu from previous attempts)
YONDER COMES MY MOTHER 40m E1 5b
To the right (North) of Cross-eyed and Painless bay is a buttress. The right side of this is defined by a scar running the full height of the cliff - an obvious feature on approach. A long ramp, capped by a roof trends up to the right from this point. Closer up, the scar resolves into a corner facing NE, with a ragged crack in the back.
- 25m 5b. Climb the corner. At about 8m, an intermediate belay may be taken on the top of the large flake on the right. The crux is at the top, where the crack overhangs significantly. A no.4 Camalot gives some comfort at this point. Committing to the exit delivers one into a deep gully. Find reliable anchors for the belay further up the gully and return to the lip of the overhang to bring up your second.
- 15m Bridge easily but without protection up the gully and exit right, keeping alert for the possibility of loose rock.
G. Fogg M. Griffin 18/6/2021. Cleaned previously on abseil.
From first terrace
- RAVEN'S WING 8m HVS 5b
South from the abseil point on the first terrace, at bottom of `stairway' descent from second terrace. Bridge up under overhang to trapped flake and move out right to finish up cleft.
G.Fogg H.Fogg H.Fogg 5/9/2004