The annual Christmas Lunch was held at Hayfield Manor on December 13th. The choir entertained us in spectacular style on the beautiful staircase in the hotel lobby while all present enjoyed a seasonal glass of mulled wine. This was followed by a very tasty lunch in The Orchids Restaurant. All present enjoyed the festive mood and ambience.
The annual Charity Coffee Morning was held on December 6th in the Clayton/Silversprings Hotel. The event was very well supported by members who donated generous gifts. The raffle created a great buzz. Indeed there was something for almost “everyone in the audience” as they say. A total of €1,810 was raised and this year the chosen charities were Marymount Hospice and Focus Ireland. The amount was topped up from RTAI funds so each organisation received €1,000. Great credit is due to Pádraig O Conaill for his superb organisation of this event.
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.
The proceeds of the festival will go to Pieta House.
This amazing spectacle of flowers is not to be missed.
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!
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.