Summer Meeting 2019

The annual summer lunch is an occasion to which many of our members look forward eagerly each year. It’s an opportunity to don the summer frocks, the short-sleeved shirts and the open-toed sandals, while anticipating the lazy, hazy summer days ahead.

As in previous years, our lunch meeting was held at Oriel House Hotel, and no lunch was had till we had completed our business first! We are fortunate to have our wonderful choir to entertain us. They opened the proceedings with three  sweetly sung and beautifully harmonised songs: The Bells of Shandon, Jubilate Deo, the Londonderry Air and When You Believe. A sure sign that our choir is going from strength to strength is that they could perform so expertly under the guidance of a guest conductor. Indeed it seemed that they were able to put her at her ease, so confident did they appear, after their recent tour to Krk, Croatia.

Our secretary Marian O’Callaghan then outlined the wide variety of activities that are available in our Branch. As an illustration of that, our Camera Group exhibited a fine selection of photographs taken during the past few months. Marian emphasised that the committee are open to all ideas, and are willing to consider any proposal put to them by our members.

General Secretary of RTAI, Billy Sheehan addressed the meeting too. His address covered the following topics:

  • RTAI current position
  • Pensions
  • Changes to the PSPR – end in sight!
  • Changes to Branch funding formula
  • GDPR
  • INTO
  • Membership Plus
  • Contacting RTAI – please call early in the day! 01-2454130, alternatively email, or see the website

One of the results of discontinuing the Membership Plus, is that there is extra funding for RTAI bursaries and for the counselling service, Inspire.


One of the recipients of a bursary this year was RTAI Cork member, Michael Duggan. Maith thú, a Mhichíl. Go n-éirí leat!



Once again the staff of Oriel House put on a great spread for our lunch. Compliments were flying to the chef!


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The advantages of retirement include plenty of time for chat and catching up with old friends.  When those who lingered did eventually get up to leave, we were met at the door by a torrential downpour!

Ah, summer!

Notes from an Island in the Sun


Following a very happy tour to San Marino in 2017, our choir felt their musical wings were up to further flight. To help whip us into shape Mary G. O’Brien, our conductor entered us for Féile an t-Samhraidh in Midleton with happy results: (a) We upped our performance, (b) We brought home two trophies.

Planning for a choral tour takes lots of tedious and often exhausting preparation. Mary Fitzgerald (our founder) made a great hand of much unseen heavy lifting.

Starting last September, the research, planning, saving and learning steered our course for the island of Krk, off the coast of Croatia.

Thirty singers, some guests, our conductor and Antoinette, our accompanist boarded Ryanair for Zadar, Croatia, on Wednesday 5th June. After a flight of 3 hours, and a bus trip of 4, we reached our island home, tired but energised for our adventure. Our hotel was in a perfect setting, within 3 minutes of a clear blue sea, most inviting at 18 degrees. The buffet meals catered exhaustively for all tastes. The hard working highly efficient staff might crown their C.V.s with a smile for guests and a bit of banter. The almost reverential hush of the dining room was subdued mood music to the more boisterous ways of choristers on tour.

The boss man in the dining room, a one-man “Checkpoint Charlie” seemed a two-ulcer man with a three-ulcer job. When some of us on occasion forgot our room card numbers, he seemed to wilt a little further each time.

The popular belief that singing is thirsty work came under pressure as our conductor exhorted us to abstain and mind our voices. Some despairing voices were heard to moan, “Are we a temperance choir?” Balance and moderation prevailed.

To plan an outdoor concert, months in advance, without fear of rain is a luxury we don’t enjoy in Ireland. Two local choirs joined us in the square of the little town of Omišalj. The applause was generous, and despite the difficulty of the local language for us, we found Ireland had a bigger profile than we expected. Sadly, Croatia has lost half a million of its 4½ million in recent years. Ireland it seems, has become the destination of many. The name of our city and their island, C-O-R-K and K-R-K was commented upon. Post-concert, informal singing and grub, Alen our excellent guide brought us on an “in-the-dark” tour of the town, his home. The late hour lent its magic to the lanes, buildings and spaces of a very pretty time-warped town.

For our second outing, we headed to the mainland, to Rijeka, Croatia’s third largest city. After practice, practice, practice we finally made it to Carnegie Hall, for that indeed was the venue as we sang for the Slovenian minority community in their club venue. The full hall, reminiscent of the “halla” in my own school, made us feel at ease. Trasna na dTonnta wooed them early in our recital, and we gave them of our best. Once again we were warmly welcomed and fed, and the unexpected connections with Ireland were explored. With one more public performance to come, we had an early night, but not before rearranging our music for our church performance the following day.

Krk Cathedral has been a space for Christian worship for 15 centuries with features that represent each milestone in that time span. We sang the Lord’s praises as Laidin, as Gaeilge agus as Béarla. The congregation were later our audience, immediately after Mass, and we gave them a short recital.

Afterwards, our parched throats led us to “Titanic”, a bar and pizza spot by the pathway that led from the walled town of Krk to our hotel. With no icebergs in sight it was a wise choice. Individual party pieces were let fly with impromptu harmony, giving soloists a supported, if rocky ride. With duty done, Monday beckoned, with a 5 hour sea cruise among the islands. Two swimming stops along the way made it the perfect post performance release. A special bonus was our sighting of a griffon vulture with its wingspan of almost 3 metres, and its demanding chick. Long may this endangered bird be free to float above us.

With the food so good and pounds being gained, we all resolved to be active on the long shaded walks in temperatures hitting 30 degrees, or spending more time enjoying the salty water experience. Further visits to “Titanic” called forth Plans B, and C, as no party piece was allowed a repeat. The growing sense of comradeship among the choir made it possible to enjoy any meal or outing with any random members and feel perfectly at ease. With our Euro worth 7 Kuna it was difficult to get rid of one’s spending money. We tried a little harder and just about managed to shed our “funny” money.

Then suddenly we found ourselves mentally packing and gearing up for the return trip. With little extra weight by purchase, may I now inform Ryanair that we may have boarded with extra carry-on weight!!!

Our Croatian driver loaded us up, and off we headed once more for Zadar Airport. Alternatively the most barren, rocky landscape could give way to lush growth and harvests to come. The stone walls of Connemara are works of art in comparison with the mounds of Croatian rock walls that speak of surplus of rock and lack of inspiration.

At the Airport, the greeting that our flight was delayed struck some as an overture to worsening bad news to follow. Thankfully we got away in just under an hour late. Once we landed in Dublin it took us a while longer to come down from the natural “high” of our trip. Yes, we are back, but our photos, recordings and especially our memories will keep Krk 2019 in a warm and special place in our hearts.

le Seán Ó Callanáin

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Dráma 2019

Tá Grúpa Drámaíochta an RTAI ag eagrú seó an Fhomhair faoi láthair. Taréis roinnt cruinnithe san SMA i Wilton I Mí na Bealtaine, tá an clár nach mór socraithe anois. Bheadh fáilte is fiche roimh bhaill nua, idir aisteoirí, scríobhnóirí nó éinne gur mhaith  bheith leo  bheith bainteach i slí ar bith leis an ngrúpa. Téigh i dteagmháil le Marian má tá suim agat bheith linn- 0864072037.

Ba bhreá linn dráma aon-ghníomh nó sceits as Gaeilge a léiriú  i mbliana. An bhfuil script  nó smaoineamh do script agat? An scríofá sceits nó dráma dúinn?

Slí iontach isea an drámaíocht chun cairde nua a dhéanamh, bíonn an chraic go diail ar fad agus is mór an sásamh bheith ar stáitse. Is iontach an rud é an lucht féachana a shásamh agus go deimhin táimíd fíor-bhuíoch as an dtacaíocht  dhílis a thugann sibh dúinn.

Táimíd ag tnú go mór   le Mí Dheireadh Fomhair agus Mí na Samhna 2019 le  seó úrnua.

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 .