The Maharees walking trip

Thanks to Aidan Buckley for a wonderful few days in the Maharees and for the following report

A group in excess of 40 travelled to the Maharees on Tuesday Sept 3rd for two days of walking and exploration.
The Maharees Peninsula is a place of flower rich sandunes, offshore islands and coastal grassland. Having lunched in Harbour House, Fahamore, adjacent to Inis Tuaisceart behind which the Aud ( with Roger Casement aboard) dropped anchor on Holy Thursday 1916, we assembled at Beal Geal, Maharabeg, to commence our beach walk.
We traversed Scairt Beach at first, admiring the views across Tralee Bay to Fenit, Banna Beach and Ballyheigue. This beach is home in Winter time to a significant number of Brent Geese. We then skirted the village of Kilshannig to arrive at the local graveyard where we viewed the ruins of the 7th Century St Seanach’s Church which was a parish church up until the 13th Century. Within the walls can be found a Chi-Rho Cross slab. We then walked across the beach at Port an Cathasaigh. From nearby Scraggane Pier cows were obliged to swim 1 Kilometre to Illauntannig for Summer grazing. Here a small monastery was founded by St Seanach in the 6th Century containing 3 beehive huts, 2 oratories and a Celtic Cross nearly 2 metres in height.
Onward then to walk the beach at Corrlougha which merges with Clocha Dubha Beach. Here there were spectacular views over Atlantic breakers across Brandon Bay to majestic Mt Brandon where in 1868 an estimated 20,000 pilgrims attended mass on the summit celebrated by the then Bishop of Kerry, David Moriarty.
The crews of several Allied aircraft perished on the slopes of Mt Brandon during World War 2. However, the crew of a German aircraft which crashed in August 1940 had a miraculous escape. They subsequently spent the rest of the war in the Curragh Camp where two of the crew would meet their future wives.
The extent of the ongoing coastal erosion was only too apparent as we neared the end of our walk on this more exposed beach. In the distance towards Killiney we could see the spot where the Port Yarrock, a 3 masted barque, floundered in mountainous seas in January 1897 with the loss of its 20 strong crew.
We returned to the car park at Beal Geal across grassy fields close to ponds which are home to the Natterjack Toad, one of only 3 native amphibians.

On Wednesday September 4th we explored the Loch a Duin Valley, guided by Daithi O Conaill who worked as a Principal in the North Monastery Primary School for 15 years, and is now domiciled in Tralee. This valley contains a remarkable number of monuments from the Bronze Age (2000BC- 500 BC). There are 89 stone structures including wedge tombs, standing stones, rock art, Fulach fia, a fortified island and over 12 kilometres of prehistoric pre-bog  field walls. The head of the valley is dominated by a spectacular waterfall with waters from 3 small , mountain-top lakes cascading downward into the valley below.
Bhuaileamar an bothar ansin go teach tabhairne Mullally’s in aice le Ce Bhreanainn, ait a raibh bia den scoth againn roimh filleadh duinn ar an mbaile.

September Events

There’s something special about September, when you’re a retired teacher. Here’s a few ideas for activities you might like to enjoy this month:

3rd and 4th: Tuesday and Wednesday. Hillwalkers trip to Castlegregory. Leader Aidan Buckley.

6th: Friday. Social coffee morning. Clayton Silver Springs Hotel. 11 a.m.

12th: Thursday. Amble in Garnish Island. Details will be announced by text.

12th: Thursday. Camera group planning meeting. SMA centre. 2p.m.

22nd-29th: Trip to Lake Como with the Travel Department

27th – 29th: Friday to Sunday. Flower display, and concert. Cobh cathedral. Organised by RTAI member, Mary O’Brien (AOIFA National Chairperson) See earlier post.

CHOIR. Members have been notified of rehearsal arrangements. New members welcome! Contact Mary Fitzgerald 086 830 1195 as soon as possible.

DRAMA. Rehearsals are ongoing. New members welcome, for all theatrical roles, onstage and backstage. Contact Marian O’Callaghan. 086 407 2037 or rtaicorkblog@gmail.com

Meitheamh 2019

The following events are planned for June:

5th – 12th. Our Choir will visit Krk, Croatia.

7th. Friday. Social Coffee Morning. Clayton Silver Springs Hotel. 11a.m.

13th. Thursday. Amble. The Gearagh.

19th. Wednesday. SUMMER MEETING. Oriel House Hotel. 12p.m.

26th. Wednesday. Hillwalkers. Darragh Woods, led by Nora Farrissey and Máiréad Twomey.

Details of times and meeting points will be sent by text message and email (hillwalks).

A reminder to download the Text-a-Parent app. Never miss a text from RTAI, and store all your RTAI messages in one place!

 

Lough Hyne and Cape Clear

 

“I know a lake where the cool waves break,

And softly fall on the silver sand –

And no steps intrude on that solitude

And no voice, save mine, disturbs the strand”

 Such is the description given by Fitzjames O’Brien of the beautiful Lough Hyne which was the first port of call for the RTAI group, who enjoyed a wonderful two days of walking and talking in stunning West Cork.  While the weather was inclement on the 7th of May for our first walk, it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm or enjoyment of anyone.  This was a looped walk which headed from Lough Hyne to Barlogue Beach and back again and took 1.5 hours.    For those who stayed overnight in Baltimore, a wonderful meal was had in The Waterfront Bar with all looking forward to our trip to Cape Clear on the Wednesday.

Fortunately, the weather proved friendly as 38 explorers headed out of Baltimore Harbour to one of Carbery’s  100 isles.  We were greeted by Diarmuid O Drisceoil who lead the group on an historical guided tour of the island which lasted for 4 hours.  History is often described as the extraordinary stories of ordinary people;  this perfectly described the tour given by Diarmuid as he took us through the history of the island as lived by ordinary people especially members of his own family who originated from the island.

On leaving Cape Clear and heading back into Baltimore Harbour, all were agreed that the trip was most enjoyable and informative and that the arrangements made by Clare Shelley facilitated a wonderful few days.

Thanks to Seán McCarthy for this recount of a wonderful visit to Lough Hyne and Cape Clear.  Thanks to all who sent photos of the trip. 

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.