Glenbower gets it’s name of “gleann-bodhar” or “Deafening Glen” from the noise the Dissour makes when rushing headlong in winter through the valley.
This glen and the surrounding area was known locally as the “Maiden Estate”, to distinguish it from the other forfeited properties. It remained in the same family since 1172, when, it is claimed, it was granted to Phillip de Cappell, lineal ancestor of Sir Arthur de Cappell Brooke, who in the 1830’s built the present road and bridges through the wood.
It’s worth noting that the de Cappell family retained ownership of the wood from 1182 to 1933.
In the early 1800’s a contemporary writer stated that the sides of Glenbower were richly wooded, and that it was one of the few remnants of the ancient forest which once covered the country. It’s steep slopes being inaccessible and useless for agriculture, it escaped both the axeman and intensive grazing over the centuries when the Irish countryside was generally denuded of it’s timber.
The wood was acquired by the then Forest and Wildlife Service (now Coillte) in 1933 and many stands of coniferous trees were planted in the following decades. In recent years much of this timber has been felled and a replanting programme is ongoing.
Flowing through Glenbower is the Dissour River which gets it’s name from the Gaelic “Dis” and “Ur” or “Twice Wetted”, from the belief that in producing linen long ago, one wetting of the flax in the waters of the stream was as good as two wettings in other water.