“The Ups & Downs of Leadership”

On Thursday March 10th 2022 we headed to the Galtees in search of Lough Curra. As we headed north to Mitchelstown the Galtees had a Mount Fuji drama about them against a blue sky.

At the Firgrove Hotel the omens were good as no less than 5 Fire Brigade tenders and half a regiment of heroic firemen stood by to keep us safe. Still one is never sure of one’s ground in Mitchelstown, after all they keep their caves in Tipperary!

Given the hard work put in by those who organise & lead such walks (Máiréad Twomey, Ann Buckley &  Nora Farrissey), growing numbers & some new faces must be gratifying. 31 came to post, the final count after the pluses & minuses that reflect the busy lives we lead.

We left the hotel in convoy through miles of hidden Ireland to our base camp. The green & white flags on houses clashed with red and white of fire trucks and snow-covered mountains. The surge of well-being as our boots hit the trail is one of the highlights of any trek. Entering the woods had a timeless quality as if returning to the dawn of time. Soon we broke cover and started to ascend a modest slope promising to blow away cobwebs and stretch dormant muscles. Alas nasty gusts of unpredictable winds swept into us from our left. The likelihood of being knocked over was not fanciful. Some hats took flight and a few backpacks attempted to join them. As we hunkered down below the snow line our leaders were left with a difficult and lonely decision. The wisdom of the Grand Old Duke of York prevailed and we aborted our search for Lough Curra and retreated by a sheltered route to terra firma and our picnic.

Well done, Máiréad & Ann, for bringing us all safely down!

We walked some more and then returned to the Firgrove (to our relief it was not ablaze!) to enable the firefighters carry out a “ceacht samplach” on fire response.

Warm and tasty grub restored all to looking forward to our next outing.

                                      Seán O Callanáin