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Guiding around Gullion: Des Murphy on the rich mythology of South Armagh

13th March 2019   0 Share

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Des Murphy is a Camlough native and has been involved in tourism and recreation in South Armagh for many years – he’s passionate about South Armagh and the Ring of Gullion, and delivers regular tours to international and domestic tourists.

Tell me a bit about yourself, Des.

I’m Des Murphy from Camlough, South Armagh. Age: 58. Married with four grown up daughters and one grandson. Hobbies are hill walking/mountain climbing, with my greatest achievement reaching K2 basecamp(2005) 18,000 ft.

READ: Running the Devil’s Coachroad

The K2 Irish Team in 2005

READ: Majestic Mourne: the story behind the poem

And how did you come to be a tour guide?

In 1980, working as a Chef in a hotel in Limerick, the Head Chef told me that I was ‘a stranger in my own country’. This encouraged me greatly in discovering and familiarising myself with my own country.

Camloch Heritage walk

What does your role involve during each tour?

My role during each tour involves route planning and timing, and to educate/entertain my customers.

Annaclone cross-community South Armagh tour

What sparked your interest in the myths, legends and history of Ulster?

County Armagh has more archaeology and mythology than any other county in Ireland, so it was easy for me to specialise in this area.

Camlough Lake

And which myth do you find most memorable?

The life and times of Cú Chulainn is my most memorable myth.

Cú Chulainn

Do you have a personal favourite place to hike?

Slieve Gullion mountain and the Ring of Gullion is my personal favourite walk/hike.

Camlough Mountain, March 2013

For you, what sets this island apart from anywhere else in the world in terms of its natural landscape and human history/mythology?

Ireland and its people are loved the world over with countless individuals throughout the world claiming ancestry. First inhabited approximately 9000 years ago, Ireland has many archaeological sites with mythology attached still intact throughout the entire island. 350 miles long by 150 miles wide….who could get lost! No weather extremes or natural disasters makes Ireland one of the safest countries in the world to both live in and visit.

Many thanks, Des!

Follow Des on Twitter for more fascinating insights into Ireland’s myths and legends.

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