Where, exactly, are the Irish Hills?


Although the sign above is a little worse for the wear after being struck by plowed snow recently, it clearly designates land east of Round Lake Hwy. as the Irish Hills. Where do you say the Irish Hills are located?

By Matt Schepeler

We are slowly rolling out our new website, If you are reading this, chances are you are visiting it, perhaps without even knowing it. Check out the home page to get up-to-date news.

As the name implies, we are going to use to update residents and visitors alike on current events in real time. Our hope is to grow it into an online version of a daily newspaper that readers can visit regularly to see what is happening in the community.

Accomplishing this will take time, of course. We will need more writers, more news tips, more pictures, support from advertisers as well as input from our readers.

While the benefits of such a site to the community are apparent, we also believe it will make the Brooklyn Exponent newspaper better, as more and more information flows through us. The paper and site are intended to complement each other. The newspaper will often explore issues more in-depth than the website.

Meanwhile, the website will allow us to be a touchstone for residents and people with an interest living outside the area.

So, why are we making the change?

These are challenging times for hometown newspapers, and local journalism in general. You either change, it seems, or you get run over. While the Brooklyn Exponent enjoys strong support in the community, we are opting to stretch and grow, and hope to provide a better service for our readers and advertisers in the process.

Of course, the name of our website leads to the inevitable question: Where, exactly, are the Irish Hills?

That is a question many of us who live here have been asked, and may even have even asked ourselves.

So where exactly are the Irish Hills?

  • Some say the Irish Hills consist of a half-mile circumference around the Irish Hills Towers. “That’s all there is,” they say, “and there ain’t no more”;
  • Some say the Irish Hills includes land a mile in circumference around the Irish Hills Towers;
  • There are those who say the Irish Hills are as far as you can see from the top of the Irish Hills Towers;
  • Others say if you are in the general vicinity of Wamplers Lake and look out your window and see hills, you are in the Irish Hills.
  • Some bookish-types say the Irish Hills are wherever the glacially-cut rolling hills in southern Mid-Michigan begin and end, from Tipton almost to Chelsea and past Somerset Township to the west.
  • Some Brooklyn folks say the Irish Hills include the 52 kettle lakes from Brooklyn outward. No more lakes, no more Irish Hills. There might still be a hill or two, but they aren’t Irish ones.
  • I have even heard the Irish Hills described as “The Exponent circulation area.”

As someone who lives “Deep in the heart of the Irish Hills,” I have two ideas of the Irish Hills’ boundaries.

To me, the “old school Irish Hills” end where the tourist attractions were once located. One of my first jobs was running the Tom Mix Flicker Movie House in Stagecoach Stop, back in the day. Fred Bahlau himself taught me how to run the popcorn maker, wind the movie projector, and call in the customers. “Step right in, ladies and gentlemen. The show’s about to start!”

Knapp Road, shown in photo, is definitely in the Irish Hills

The new Irish Hills, which is a recreational haven, is different. It extends from Onsted to Napoleon, Norvell to nearly Addison. It includes parts of Liberty Township, Franklin Township, and, of course, all of Cambridge Township. Some will disagree, I know, but that is what makes America great. We can disagree without hating each other. At least we should be able to…

To me, Cambridge Township is “Irish Hills Central,” but those in Onsted, which boasts of being the Gateway to the Irish Hills and whose mailing address extends nearly to Hayes State Park, may differ.

Maybe that is part of the charm of it all. Everyone has their own opinion as to where exactly the Irish Hills begin and where they end.

So, for, we will at times include news from pretty much “all of the above.” How can we not? Consider this: My home is just off Mull Hwy., and I happen to live in the Columbia School District, in Manchester Township, in Washtenaw County, and have a Tipton mailing address and a Brooklyn phone number.

If I drive to work one way and home the other, I go through parts of three counties, and never really leave the Irish Hills, at least in my mind.

So, where do you consider the Irish Hills to be?

For most of you reading this, “Home” is probably your answer, or maybe “Where I grew up.”

It is my hope that our efforts to create an online presence you come to enjoy daily and depend on for your local news, will enriches your life and, most importantly, make for a better Irish Hills community.


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