Flower Festival not to be missed!

Mary O’Brien (Cobh), Cork RTAI, is national chairperson of AOIFA (Association of Irish Floral Artists). During her tenure as chairperson she is staging a Flower Festival in St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh from 27th to 29th September. The festival entitled “Splendour in Flowers and Stone” will feature exhibits both decorative and interpretative in nature by flower arrangers from all over Ireland.

The festival will be open to the public on Saturday 28th Sept from 11am to 5pm and on Sunday from 1pm to 4.30pm. The festival will open with a preview at which Mr. Adrian Gebruers, cathedral organist and carillonneur, will play the recently restored Telford organ.

A concert featuring Amanda Neri, supported by the Cork RTAI choir under conductor Dr. Mary O’Brien, will be held in the Cathedral on Sat. 28th at 8pm. (Tickets available in the Parish Centre opposite the cathedral on the night.)

The proceeds of the festival will go to Pieta House.

This amazing spectacle of flowers is not to be missed.




Darragh Loop Walk

When our hillwalk leaders plan a hike, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work to be done beforehand. An early ‘recce’ walk through the terrain, followed by possibly two more, closer to the date to make sure the path is still clear and safe, are just the more obvious preparations. A thorough knowledge of the terrain is often called for, especially when unforeseeable events occur (more of which anon).

Then there is the equally important question of “Where will we have lunch?

Máiréad and Nora hit the spot for that question! Shortly before 10 a.m. we assembled at the Thatch and Thyme in Kildorrery, for the customary cupán tae, and the all-important Rolla . Further evidence of forward planning….- we were invited to order our lunch before we set off. The thoughts of the feast that awaited at the Thatch and Thyme certainly quickened the step of this hiker!

A short drive later, we were at the trail head and up we climbed towards the summit at Castlegale. All that is left of this edifice is a pile of stones and a 360° vista of the surrounding counties: Cork, Limerick and Tipperary. Somebody once left a tin of biscuits with a notebook and pen here, with the invitation to all who passed this way to help themselves, and sign the book. The biscuits are long gone (although it is said that kindly souls who regularly pass have been known to replenish the supply) however, the RTAI signature is now recorded for posterity.


A short stop, not conducive to delay, as the exposed position forced us to hang on to our hats!

Descending form here, we found ourselves on a sheltered path beside quiet woodland, and then crossing some pasture, where we spotted the most underwhelmingly named “Common spotted orchid”. What a beautiful flower!


Having descended, the inevitable climb back up loomed ahead. However our work was rewarded with great views and our sos beag.

Downhill all the way now, and thoughts of the Thatch and Thyme spurred us on. All well, until we met the lads from Coillte felling trees across our path! A timely juncture for a song! Our “Trusty Troubadour” led us in the singing of “Cill Cais”.


And so to Plan B. Máiréad and Nora had no trouble in finding an alternative path through the pine trees, and our feet were indeed glad of the soft carpet of dry pine needles underfoot.

All paths now led to Darragh, and as soon as we reached the car pool we turned towards Kildorrery, where lunch was served al fresco on the well-appointed terrace of the Thatch and Thyme.

Gura míle maith agaibh, a Mháiréid agus Nora as an siúlóid iontach!

May 30th, Nano Nagle Centre, Douglas Street, Cork

24 of us gathered for a most interesting guided tour of the former Presentation school/convent complex. A very sensitive restoration and transformation project has been carried out here with UCC’s school of architecture and physiotherapy department continuing on the tradition of education on part of the site. This centre is of interest to anyone looking for information on Nano Nagle and her work in founding the Presentation Order, educating the young people of 19th Century Cork and the fabric and architecture of the city at the time.

Throughout each area, including the Goldie chapel and Miss Nagle’s parlour, artefacts belonging to Nano and the sisters are on display and are further brought to life with a very comprehensive audiovisual display. The convent garden and graveyard and Nano’s own tomb with visible coffin is a wonderful reflective space, well worth a second visit. A separate vegetarian café can be visited in the garden also if wished. Many events are planned in the complex during the coming months. Information is on the Nano Nagle Place website.

Warrenscourt Lissarda Amble May 16th

Just back from Tralee it was off to Lissarda the following morning for a lovely easy amble at Warrenscourt Forest Amenity Area just off the main Cork- Macroom road near Mai Fitz’s Pub. Flanked by a meandering small river and dotted with picnic benches the pathway wend slowly upwards through the forest in a loop, giving lovely views over West Cork.

After lunch back in Mai Fitz’s we reconvened at Kilmurray War of independence museum, situated  close by. What a jewel of a local attraction with a wealth of information, artefacts and photos of 1920s west Cork life and history of Michael Collins/Terence McSweeney and other prominent figures involved in those turbulent times. Our very informative guide was equally impressed by our very informative retirees, many of whom had family connections to the area and activities of the time.

Cork RTAI Visit to Tralee May 12th – 15th

While blessed with glorious weather from start to end, 16 of us made our own way to Tralee, via a walk in Muckross Park, Killarney on Sunday, May 12th. We stayed in the Rose Hotel where the standard of food, rooms and service was excellent. Walking off breakfast on the wetlands developed area (pathways, café, interpretive centre) just behind the hotel, we then car pooled and left for Listowel for a visit to the Writers’ Museum.

The works of J.B.Keane, Bryan McMahon, Gabriel Fitzmaurice and Maurice Walsh are eerily brought to life with a superb audio presentation in each room. Foregoing a visit to JB’s pub and other Listowel gems, we proceeded to Ballybunion for the spectacular cliff walk and textbook coastal geographical features. After another superb dinner, a night at Siamsa Tíre with a story of North Kerry dance forms rounded off a great first day.

Tuesday morning we set off for Dingle with another long walk for the more able bodied on Inch beach en route. Dingle town was already very busy with large tourist numbers and on the spectacular Slea Head route they and us were not disappointed. That evening another excellent dinner followed at the hotel and people departed at leisure next morning.