The name means "Town of the Irish Vikings" and it is reckoned to have been settled by Norse sheep farmers who crossed over from Ireland.
Sheep farming is still predominant in this beautiful unspoiled area which lies at the very tip of North Lancashire and the boundaries rise from around 250 feet to 2,000 feet above sea level at a point where two very long drystone walls meet in the limestone dales.
Over the right drystone wall is North Yorkshire and the Yorkshire dales. Over the left one is Cumbria (nee Westmorland).
A handful of houses cluster around the Beck (Norse for "Stream") which runs through the middle of its one main street and the village nestles at the foot of the emerald green Ireby Fell (Norse for "Moor").
From here can be reached the Three Men of Gragareth which are a trio of mysterious and ancient large cairns which hold sentinel over Leck Fell. Gragareth is also the highest point in Lancashire.
The views from Leck Fell extend as far as Blackpool Tower, the white-domed Ashton Memorial just outside Lancaster and across Morecambe Bay to Barrow.
Ireby Cavern and Marble Steps Pot are also within walking distance on Ireby Fell. But beware - the latter is 430 feet deep.
Ireby is mentioned in the Doomsday Book as being part of the holding of Earl Tostig (King Harold's brother) and in 1292, the Knights of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem owned about half the manor and it is thought that they built a rest-house there.
Nearby is Cowan Bridge where the Brontes went to school and Thornton in Lonsdale where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was married. Three miles up the A 65 into Yorkshire is the town of Ingleton with its very beautiful Waterfalls Walk. Three miles the other way is the enchanting old market town of Kirkby Lonsdale with the age-old Devil's Bridge astride the wonderful River Lune and a selection of Jacobean pubs. Here, Ruskin's View is one of the finest in England.
But back to Ireby...
In his book "Wainwright in the Limestone Dales", the author described the stonebuilt village as being "Very pleasant, but its attractions are not sufficient to engage the attention for half a day."
He was probably right.
There is an old clapper bridge. A cluster of old houses - some dating back to the 1600's.
There is an old-fashioned red telephone box standing beside the small bridge over the beck.
The school bus calls every morning to take the big and the little ones to big and little schools.
The little school has approximately 25 pupils.
Among the frequent and infrequent visitors are the grey heron; great spotted woodpecker; the kingfisher; squirrel; brown trout (very small); the dipper; the grey and pied wagtail; the spotted flycatcher; the wheatear; the cuckoo; the skylark; the goldfinch; little owls; tawny owls; and oodles of curlews; oystercatchers; pheasants; buzzards; sparrowhawks; chaffinches; thrushes (song and mistle); blackbirds; rooks; wrens; siskins; goldcrests; meadow pipits; robins, swallows; swifts; blue tits; long-tailed tits; great tits; coal tits and jackdaws. A red deer was spotted venturing on the green lane some while ago.
There are no pubs; no shops and the silence at night is tangible. The stars shine down in all their glory on Ireby.
PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINKS IN THE TABLE BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION ON IREBY.
|IREBY IN THE DOMESDAY BOOK|
|EXCERPT FROM HISTORY OF IREBY|
|THE WILL OF JOHN REDMAYNE OF IREBY 1669|
|IREBY TODAY - PHOTOGRAPHS|
|OVER HALL FARM , IREBY IN 1935|
|SOME IREBY FACTS|
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