Rolling back the years on the Old Kenmare Road

Once we had gathered in Muckross, Clare Shelley ensured that the 36 of us came under “Starter’s Orders”. The bus ride from Muckross House car park to Derrycunnihy Church (courtesy of the RTAI), had an air of expectancy, a reminder of the buzz of the school tour of yore. A welcome sight on board was newcomers adding to the vigour of our group. The dark grey clouds as we sped along took turns with beckoning sunshine, vivid reminders that we tip-toed between a “sweat-fest” and a serious drenching.

Pat Crowley was our Moses, as we began our wanderings in primeval oak forest, bog, dirt road and raised walk-way. Contrary to his detailed recce notes, the first stage, once blended with the chat and zest of us let loose, ran from 60 to 90 minutes! Meanwhile James covered every angle of walking and resting, as evidenced by the accompanying photos.

The early going was a gently rising slope with little sign of spring. Equally shy were the pine marten and white-tailed eagle, who probably kept a covert eye on us. How wise of God to entrust the care of the Kingdom to the good people of Kerry. No doubt He knew they would mind it and share it. We in turn would not begrudge them a good living from such care and service, delivered with good humour.

In the “always a teacher” tag we bear, having examined the graffiti of James Ó Neill 1815, we concluded he was ready to begin joined-up writing soon.

Post lunch, by a waterfall, the pathway climbed upwards and the sleepy, lazy furze of earlier was now “unprofitably gay”. This prompted an outburst of Oliver Goldsmith’s “The Village Master taught his little school” etc. The polite walkers stealing a breather on the steep hill, gave all the appearance of a generous audience. The reciter was happy to parse the audience no further!

Farther along the path, K. in a modern version of “the lady drops her handkerchief”… dropped her water bottle into the raging torrent [Editor’s note: Tiny gentle stream?] Two latter-day gentlemen risked all to retrieve the bottle and a goodly share of the brownie points!!

At the risk of our grub getting cold at the Killarney Oaks Hotel, the pace quickened. In brave defiance of the forecast (thunder showers and gales), the shower at walk’s end seemed a sort of blessing. We descended below Torc Waterfall, with a brief nod of appreciation to a much-loved landmark.

Soon, we were back at the car park in right good spirits; the combined great outdoors and our physical exertions yielded a natural “high”.  P, on removing his shirt drew a small but appreciative audience, but thankfully did not frighten the horses.

Our hotel was deceptively small-looking from the outside, but once we made it inside, the food and service was perfect for our needs. All in all, it was a very special outing in a most beautiful setting.

Bhí lá dár saol againn i gCill Áirne. Maith sibh, ár gCoiste!

Ár mbuíochas le Seán Ó Callanáin as an tuairisc fairsing, saoithiúil seo.

Buíochas freisin le chuile duine a sheoil chugainn na griangrafanna .

 

 

Corrin Amble

Our latest amble walk took the group of 24 through Corrin Woods ending up at the large stone cross at the summit. This cross was erected in 1933 and nearby is the historical site of the mound ‘Carn Thiernagh’ which dates back to the Bronze age. From there we had a fantasic view of Fermoy town and the surrounding countryside on this lovely day in April. Then it was back to Corrin Event Centre for refreshments and a quick view of the centre. Our thanks to Ber O’Sullivan who led the walk and for the  brief insight to Fermoy’s historical past.

Thanks to Liam MacCraith for this report.

Spring Steps in Ballinaboola

The only motivation we needed was “Anois teacht an Earraigh”, for our 10km walk in Ballinaboola, near Ballyhea, led by Helen Waide. Helen exudes an uaisleacht, such that I suspect we would follow her to the Gates of Hell and a step beyond, if she made to go on.

Coming the week after Cheltenham the early indications were that the going would be soft to yielding. We need not have worried. The pathways proved firm, and wide enough to walk in twos and threes.

As we gradually climbed the 200m to the top, the faraway fleshpots of Charleville/Rath Luirc lay clear to view in a golden vale.

20190320_114235The pace was expertly set by our leader, while Marie Power as sweeper ensured that nobody peeled off the back.

As picnic thoughts began to gnaw our innards – Helen promised a large log that would serve as our table, just around the next bend. The only “picnic log” that greeted us, five bends later, had the circumference of a half-pint beer bottle. Mar a dúirt Pat C. –          “Lag iarracht”.

A strength of our association is that due to a commonality of training and working life, we can absorb new members almost instantly, in shared past experience. I was in Pats with John K. and Kath. Kath taught with Ann whose Dad was a pal of mine, etc.

Admittedly nobody asked, nor perhaps is interested, but the number of men was a modest if magnificent seven of 25.

With the measuring statistic of a 4% chance of rain, nobody was surprised that the minute we stopped for grub, the first drops located us. Post picnic it was all downhill, not re our enjoyment, just the gravity induced race to the bottom. The dry main road back to  Corbett Court mocked the rain sodden locks of the hat-less.

The soup was warm, tasty and comforting, full marks indeed. The huge and colourful dessert plates seemed to me the size of some of our off-shore islands. A quick calculation confirmed that 18.75 plates would tile an average bathroom. Given the loud yellows and reds, and early morning shower might indicate the wearing of sunglasses.

20190320_144849As we finished our grub, the lively chat proved the perfect leaven.

The insistent piped country music at Corbett Court distracted this scribe. Thoughts of line-dancing in Wilton a whole 48 hours away with the incomparable Helen had my weary walking feet twitching to dance.

Travelling out and back with Clare, Mary and Ann, the minute planning and pains taken to offer our members a fun and safe outing struck me forcibly, as the plans for Cape Clear etc were discussed. The vitality of our association is dependant on those who go the extra mile that others may partake in and enjoy our wide range of events.                        Go mba fada iad faoi bhláth.

le Seán Ó Callanáin.

Ringaskiddy rings a Bell

On Thursday 14th March, the Amblers assembled at the National Maritime College, for a most interesting walk led by Angela Foley. Although we were greeted by a downpour, we adopted the motto that there is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing!

Angela led us up to Loughbeg, where we saluted the manufacturers of replacement hips at De Puy, hoping we would never need their services, but comforted by the knowledge that spare parts are locally available!

Ambling along, we took a secret delight in passing Ringaskiddy N.S. leaving the torch in the capable hands of the staff within. A little further along the road we came to Tobar Lic. A restful pause can be taken here, while remembering some locals who loved to pass this way.

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Angela told us the story of Castle Warren, which we passed a short while later.

20190314_112244Our walk took us back to Ringaskiddy village where we stopped to visit the beautiful oratory.  This building which dates from 1923 has been beautifully renovated. The altar itself has been carved from a 250 year old section of sweet chestnut. Interestingly, the bell over the oratory door was salvaged from RMS Celtic in 1933.

 

Our walk took us back to our starting point, from  where we proceeded to Rocky Island, better known today as The Island Crematorium. Angela had done her research and was able to tell us the history of the vaulted building on the island, which served as a gunpowder store in the years before Irish independence.

We enjoyed viewing Cork Harbour from aspects which we hadn’t previously encountered.

After a bracing walk back to Ringaskiddy, we were welcomed at the N.M.C.I, where we enjoyed a tasty lunch.

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March 2019

The following events are planned for March:

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

(Reminder! Over 50s Expo at City Hall. 9th & 10th March)

12th. Tuesday. Camera Group outing. St. Finbarr’s Cathedral and Elizabeth fort.

14th. Thursday. Amble. Ringaskiddy. 10.30 a.m. National Maritime College. Followed by lunch.

14th. Thursday. Cork Opera House. “Leeside Story”, 8 p.m. and dinner at Luigi Malone’s from 6 p.m.

20th. Wednesday. Hillwalk. Ballyhoura. Details will be sent by email, to those on the hillwalking mailing list.

28th. Thursday. Camera Group meeting. SMA. 2 p.m.

Our Choir continues to rehearse on Monday afternoons.

Line dancing continues on Friday mornings.

 

February walks

Spring is in the air, and our walking groups have embraced the outdoors with relish! After the cancellation of the Mount Hilary hike (due to snow), our walkers were eager to get out, come rain or shine.

The amble in Doneraile Park on 14th February was well attended, and it was great to catch up as we walked along, as well as over the welcome lunch. Thanks to Nora Farrissey for leading this amble.

On Tuesday 19th, a group of 20 hillwalkers met at Cuskinny, on Great Island, for a coastal walk, along the shore and through Marlóg Wood. Mary O’Brien was our local guide and with the help of Deirdre Ryan, shared lots of interesting facts about the history and topography of the area. Once again, the company was great and we enjoyed the chat as we trekked along, hardly noticing the rain!

Ath-bhliain faoi mhaise!

We wish all our members and their families the very best of happiness and health in 2019. Here is the list of events planned for January.

4th. Friday. Coffee morning at Clayton Silversprings Hotel. 11 a.m.

17th. Thursday. Annual planning meeting for walkers and hillwalkers. SMA centre, Wilton. 2 p.m. All those interested in walks for 2019 are invited to attend.

31st. Thursday. Photography group meeting. SMA centre. 2 p.m.

Choir, art and dance groups will resume this month. Notification will be given to the members of each group.