Mount Hillary Hill walk February 13th, 2020.

The February Hill walk of the RTAI took place at Mt. Hillary in Banteer North Cork, and twenty nine hearty souls participated. Mt Hillary is known locally as ‘Cnoc an Iolar’, the Hill of the Eagle, although there have been no sightings of the golden eagle here in the last century. Mt. Hillary is part of the Boggeragh Mountains which lie between the River Lee and the Blackwater.

As there is limited parking at the trailhead most walkers met at The Wild Goose Restaurant between Dromahane and Mallow and carpooled from there.

The walk was ably led by Norah Farrissey. We set off from the carpark at the entrance to forestry in Knightfield on the northern slopes of Mt. Hillary at about 11.15 am and we followed the red arrows. This looped walk ascends gently through forestry roads and woodland trails. Swathes of spruce, pine and fir trees surrounded us as well as open ground with gorse and boggy terrain. We frequently had to pick our way around watery pools deposited by the rains of the night before in particular. Indeed, we were blessed with the mostly dry day and occasional glimpses of sunshine.

The summit is 391m or 1,283 ft high. We picnicked, finding slabs of concrete here and there to rest on, among the four telecommunications masts at the top. Oh, the peace and the freedom of it all to be out in the wide open spaces enjoying spectacular views over the surrounding countryside. In the plains below us the River Blackwater could be seen meandering its way through Duhallow. Farther away we glimpsed the mountains of Kerry, Tipperary and Limerick. Ancient and mystic names like the Mullaghareirk, Galtee and Derrynasaggart as well as the hills and countryside of Ballyhoura.

After a short rest we began our descent enjoying good company in the peace of the countryside. We reached the car park at around half past two and then set off for a spot of lunch at the Wild Goose, famished after the 10k hike.

Thanks to Kathleen Flynn for the report

Trip to Garnish Island

On September 12th, 2019 a group of 32 RTAI members travelled to Glengarriff to visit the renowned and beautiful island commonly  known as Garnish or Illnacullen (Island of Holly).

Garnish Island is located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff  It is a small island of 15 hectares (37 acres) known to horticulturists and lovers of trees and shrubs all around the world as an island garden of rare beauty. The gardens of Ilnacullin owe their existence to the creative partnership, some seventy years ago, of Annan Bryce, then owner of the island and Harold Peto, architect and garden designer. The island was bequeathed to the Irish people in 1953, and was subsequently entrusted to the care of the Commissioners of Public Works. To-day management of the island is in the hands of the Office of Public Works.

Ilnacullin is renowned for its richness of plant form and colour, changing continuously with the seasons. The vivid colours of Rhododendrons and Azaleas reach their peak during May and June, whilst the hundreds of cultivars of climbing plants, herbaceous perennials and choice shrubs dominate the midsummer period from June to August. Autumn colour, particularly on the magnificent heather bank, is rich during the usually mild early autumn months of September and October. Because of its sheltered situation and the warming oceanic influence of the Gulf Stream the climate is in some respect almost subtropical.

Gardeners, nature lovers and historians among our group really enjoyed the visit. Leo Lowney acted as guide and MC for the trip and shared his local knowledge throughout the day. He pointed out landmarks of interest while sailing across on the ferry and we were very lucky to be treated to a spectacular close up view of the seals which were preening themselves on the rocks.

The group split into a number of groups on the island. Walkers enjoyed the magnificent walled gardens and  a trip up to the Martello Tower while smaller groups visited the house which has been beautifully restored to its former beauty. We learnt of Maggie O Sullivan from Glengarriff who worked as a housekeeper there from her early teenage years  until her death about 20 years ago. She was known locally as “Maggie the Island”. Of particular interest was her recipe book where she meticulously recorded her recipes in beautiful handwriting.

Particular thanks to Brendan O Sullivan and his crew for their help in organising a wonderful trip. The group enjoyed a delicious lunch in the famous Casey’s Hotel afterwards.



Beannachtaí na Féile libh agus athbhliain faoi mhaise dhaoibh go léir

January 2020 is here and RTAI Cork members have a number of activities to look forward to. Wishing you all a very happy New Year and hoping that you will join us for some of our events during the coming year.  You will receive a text about each activity as it occurs and you will be asked to confirm interest/attendance by return text.

Féilire Eanair 2020

Seo thíos na himeachtaí a bheidh ar siúl i Mí Eanair

Friday, January 3rd  Social Coffee Morning Clayton Silversprings hotel                                organised  by Pádraig Ó Conaill

Thursday, January 9th  Amble, Compass Hill, Kinsale organised by Clare Shelly and notified by text.

Friday, January 10th  Visit to Collins Barracks at 2 p.m. organised by Mary  Cahill. Notification by text. Free of charge.

Thursday, January 16th:    2.30 p.m Walking “Think-In” in SMA, Wilton. Ambles and Hillwalks will be planned for 2020

Line Dancing with Helen Conroy will commence at the end of January and a text will issue. Early booking is advised. Seán McCarthy and Mary Cahill are the organisers.

Hillwalkers have been notified by email of the upcoming Hillwalk in Kinsale on Thursday, January 9th led by Angela Foley

Sicily is the destination for the annual RTAI Cork Trip in September 2020. Notification was sent before Christmas and there was great interest in this hugely popular event.  Mary Cahill and Frank Tobin organised and surprised us with an early “reveal”.

Drama, Choir and Camera club will be in contact with members when activities resume. For more information about any of the events/groups  and if, for any reason, you are not in receipt of texts or emails please contact Marian at 0864072037 or


December Dates

The following activities are planned for December:

5th. Thursday. Launch of the Photography Exhibition, Picture That! 6pm – 7.30pm, Bishopstown Library, Wilton. All RTAI members and friends welcome. The exhibition is kindly sponsored by Comhar Linn and continues until 20th December.

6th. Friday. Charity Christmas Coffee morning. Clayton Silversprings Hotel. 11a.m. Bring a prize and you might get lucky!

12th. Thursday. Amble. Ballincollig Regional Park. Leader Anne Durity.

13th. Friday. Christmas Lunch and Choral entertainment. Hayfield Manor. Organiser Kathleen Lowney.

Guímid Nollaig faoi shéan agus ath-bhliain faoi mhaise ar na baill uilig.

Magical Muckross

20191120_121647Adhering to the maxim of Alfred Wrainwright that,  “There’s no such thing as bad weatheronly unsuitable clothing”, 16 hardy souls set out from Cork in torrential rain, on the morning of November 20th to gather in Killarney for the final Hillwalk of the year, in Muckross Park. Cork people often experience feelings of trepidation on crossing the county bounds into Kerry, but on this occasion we were welcomed with open arms and clearing skies!

Suited and booted, we set off, under the capable leadership of Joan McCann and the patient stewardship of sweeper Angela Foley. Our first stop was at Muckross Abbey, sadly in ruins since Cromwellian times. One could easily spend a few hours here exploring the ruins and the adjacent graveyard. It’s the burial place of Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin, Aogán Ó Rathaille and Seathrún Ó Donnchú. Two of our group found the grave of a family member here too. The yew trees are impressive!

Yew tree, Muckross Abbey

From there we crossed Muckross Road and followed the Queen’s Way up to the beautiful woodlands, our path dappled in shades of gold, red, yellow and brown. Someone recalled the “Autumn” essays of our teaching days.





Tar éis sosa bhig, leanamar orainn i dtreo an tsean-bhóthair idir Neidín agus Cill Áirne. Bhí an méid sin cainte is comhrá ar siúl nár airíomar go rabhamar ag déanamh gan mhoill ar eas Toirc. Is fíor an seanfhocal:

Giorraíonn beirt bóthar:




We were so lucky with the weather! Apart from a light mist on the higher ground, we saw nothing of the deluge that afflicted the folks at home. So, with one eye on the sky and a careful eye on the path, we wound or way down to majestic Torc.


After nearly 3½ hours in the hills we were delighted to reach the welcome comfort of the Muckross House Cafe and tuck into warm food. In a throw-back to those aforementioned school essays, I would like to confirm that, “we returned home that evening, tired but happy”.

Christmas at Muckross Cafe

Mags McCarthy.

Ardmore Amble

A great day was had by all 19 of us on a recent amble in glorious Ardmore. The sun shone, skies & sea were blue with clear views along the Waterford coastline. We ambled the cliff walk at a leisurely pace taking in the local attractions – St. Declan’s Well, the rusty Samson Shipwreck, the signal tower, Pluais na Ron, with Capel Island & Knockadoon to our west. We then meandered back to the village via the cathedral & round tower to a well-earned lunch in The Round Tower Hotel.

Lots of camaraderie between new friends & old- what a lovely way to spend an October Thursday! Mile buiochas, Helen & Eleanor!


Samhain 2019

5Seo hiad na heachtraí atá geallta le haghaidh mí na Samhna:

1st. Friday. Social coffee morning. Clayton Silver Springs Hotel. 11 a.m.

7th and 8th. Thursday & Friday. Drama performances at Lee Valley Golf Club. 8 p.m. A few tickets still available!

13th. Wednesday. AGM. ORIEL HOUSE HOTEL. 12.30 p.m.

13th. Wednesday. Drama performance. White Horse Inn, Ballincollig. 8 p.m.

14th. Thursday. Amble. Crosshaven.

20th. Thursday. Hillwalk. Muckross.

28th. Thursday . Camera group. SMA. 2p.m.

29th. Friday. Christmas flower arranging DEMO with Margaret Ahern, AOIFA. SMA. 11a.m. Booking essential. See Text message.

Ongoing activities: Choir, Tuesdays. Dancing, Fridays.