Mangerton – what a feat!

Congratulations to the twelve intrepid RTAI climbers, and their guide, Josie Heffernan, who conquered Mangerton (snow and all) on Thursday Nov 24th.

“A great day was had by all 12 of us. On Thursday, 24th November we climbed to the Devils Punch Bowl on Mangerton. We could have been in the Alps. Snowdrifts abounded; so too frozen lakes & the distant snow-capped peaks of the Reeks.  Mar is gnath, we ended our adventure with a well earned meal in Muckross Hotel.”

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Sheep’s Head and Sherkin

On Wednesday and Thursday, 14th & 15th September, the Ramblers had an overnight outing to Sherkin Island and the Sheep’s Head Peninsula.

The hike on Sherkin was part of the Taste of West Cork festival and we joined a larger group of hikers on the day. We had a calm crossing from Baltimore, followed by tea and scones at The Islander’s Rest, for an early taste of West Cork! Suitably fortified, we set out under the watchful eyes of Gary Minihane and Don Davis, our guides for the day.

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It was a varied hike, over paths, road, rocks, grass and beach. We stopped at various points for photos, and to get orientation from our guides. It was interesting to see Baltimore and the Beacon from a new angle! Also, Oileán Chléire was clearly visible from our vantage point above the beach.

We didn’t escape the rain, but we were well insulated! The great feed of mussels (and more) at the Islander’s Rest on our return was just what we needed to warm us up and send us merrily on our return to Baltimore.

Later that evening, a few group members took a boat trip up the Ilen River, and reported very enthusiastically to the rest of the group, over dinner.

Some people stayed overnight in Baltimore, some stayed in Bantry, and others joined the group the following morning for the Sheep’s Head hikes.

Although the morning was misty, the sky cleared over Sheep’s Head and another great day was had by all.

Ballycotton Cliff Walk

On Thursday 8th September we had an “Amblers adventure” on the  Ballycotton Cliff Walk. 31 walkers took part in fine fresh weather along the coastal path and completed the 10k looped route ( by agreement !) in under 3 hours with some stops on the way. We made it back just before the rain for wonderful seafood at the Schooner Bar  where we were well looked after by owners Mike and Brid O’Shea and lovely staff Cliodhna and Marion.

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Stepping it out on the Ballycotton Cliff Walk.
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Tony and Tomás setting the pace.

Lough Hyne & Liss Ard

On Tuesday 26th July a group of Amblers and Ramblers assembled at Liss Ard Country House near Skibbereen, for a visit to the Sky Garden. Our guide Ann Collins Mac Seoin was very knowledgeable and shared with us, the story of the house as well as the Sky Garden. The Sky Garden is the work of artist James Turrell. A living breathing work of art, which is all about the experience of entering the hollow and lying down to observe the sky, in peace and tranquility. Our members were fascinated, and had many questions for Ann. Just as well, because Ann kept us on our toes with spot-quizzes along the way!

After this, we all trooped in to the beautiful house where tea, coffee and scones were waiting for us in the long dining room. More rapid-fire questions from Ann, and the lucky ones won spot prizes!

From Liss Ard, we made our way by car to Lough Hyne. Ann led us up through the mist, to view the lough from above. We had to imagine what some of the landscape in the distance would look like, through the mist. However, the mist didn’t dampen our spirits. There was even an impromptu woodland concert!!

On we hiked, through the woods, climbing over a few obstacles(!) with a little sliding(!), until we were back on the road to the lakeside.

On our route back to the lake we encountered a couple of shrines, or grottoes. We could understand why such calm beautiful places had been chosen by those who set them up.

We were glad to retire to The Church Restaurant in Skibbereen for a hearty lunch!

Tigh Molaga

The Amblers were blessed with bright sunshine for their trip to Timoleague (Tigh Molaga) on Thursday 14th July.

Meeting below the Abbey, we were greeted by our knowledgeable guide, local RTAI member Dónal Whooley. Dónal is a veritable fount of knowledge about the area and its history. He told us the heritage of the Barry and McCarthy families in the area – some lively stories!

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Our walk took us out of Timoleague in the direction of Ummera (well known for its smoked foods). On our way we passed Argideen Lawn Tennis Club, with its immaculately maintained courts for both tennis and croquet.

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As we ambled along, Dónal drew our attention to the various points of interest, which could be seen in the distance. The old railway line followed the path of the Argideen river, but is now overgrown in places.

At Inchy Bridge we saw the original railwayman’s cottage. More interesting, at Inchy Bridge, was the specially developed space for disabled anglers. This peaceful spot is wheelchair accessible, and is further enhanced by a beautiful sculpture of a heron.

 

Following further ambling uphill, we were rewarded with stunning views across the Argideen Valley, and Dónal pointed out certain features of the landscape visible from various viewpoints as we walked along.

Returning to Timoleague, we first of all visited the Catholic church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, to view the Harry Clarke windows and the replica of a chalice. The original chalice dates from the 17th century, and had probably been removed by the monks for safe keeping. It was found some centuries later on Cape Clear Island!

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Next we visited the Anglican Church of the Ascension, to view the amazing mosaics and interesting stained glass windows.

Our next port of call was the Abbey of Timoleague. Once more, Dónal gave a detailed guided tour, pointing out unique architectural features and relating the history of the abbey for us. All in all, it was a most interesting and enjoyable walk.

After all that walking and talking we retired for a tasty lunch at Monks Lane!

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