The many charms of Gougane Barra embraced all 42 of us on February 2nd. The wildness of the landscape seemed to reward those who took the chance and put their names down for a trek where the weather was unknowable and rain, despite any forecast to the contrary, a certainty. In the event only the tiniest drops of mist were a reminder of just how lucky we were. Spring was holding its breath as we headed off with our able leader, Tadhg Harrington, setting a forgiving pace and hardly scaring any of us with the words “coronary” and “failure”. The real alarm for some of us was how many “young” folk seemed to have infiltrated our retired teachers’ group! To balance such youth two of the party celebrated birthdays with Clare Shelly providing a cake and the members singing “Happy Birthday”. Those who underestimated the ages of the birthday folk got big slices of the cake; those who guessed all too accurately got the crumbs! Seartan’s fed us well and the surrounds were relaxing.
How blessed we are with such treasures as Gougane Barra. The air, the views and the peace are balm for all at any age. The RTAI raises our horizons and the generosity of our volunteers enhance the retirement of those who turn up. We are blessed indeed.
Poet JJ Callanan, born 1795, was so impressed as were we with Gougane.
“There is a green island in Gougane Barra
Where Allua of songs rushes forth as an arrow
In deep-vallied Desmond a thousand wild fountains
Come down to that lake, from their home in the mountains”
Seán O Callanáin