Sunday, 20 May 2018

Cork Walking Week Trip Around Clara Mountain

On Sunday 20 May the club hosted a walk in conjunction with Cork Walking Week. The walk was the Clara loop walk which is 10 klms long. Using the power of social media and some old fashioned posters we advertised in the area.
We timed the walk for 13.30 with registration at 13.15 in the GAA Hall in Millstreet. This was new territory for us and we weren’t sure how many to expect. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors we had an ample supply of fruit, chocolate bars and water available for all walkers.
The turnout was better than expected. It was great to see so many people, young and not so young  interested in doing the walk.
After registration and a quick talk on the rules for the day we headed out of town, down the Clara road. Passing the grotto we turned left and continued for 500 meters before turning right into Mount Leader wood. Through the wood until we reached a stile. Our trail then skirted the forestry. We eventually came to a gate which led to open mountain and the summit of  Clara loomed above us , shrouded in mist. This is where the climbing began and the talking stopped. We regrouped when we conquered the first hump. The weather got misty now and there was a fresh breeze.
Rested we continued upwards until finally the iron cross emerged from the gloom.
Clara at 452 meters is the most easterly summit in the Derrynasaggart mountains. On a clear day it is said you can see nine churches from here. There are some great views to the west and to the east the Galtees can be seen. However today it was not to be.
We continued to the trig point and westward down open mountain. As we descended the day brightened and we got some nice views to the west and north. We reached a stile and went along by a fence before turning right and onto a farm track. We took a breather here. We continued along some fields,then traversed the lower flank of Clara through a forestry. Finally we emerged at the track we had  taken on our way up.From here it was a simple stroll into town.
Reaching the car park we had a roll call to ensure that all had come back safely.
We proceeded to the Wallis Arms for a welcome cup of tea / coffee and a chat about the day. Also we saw the last quarter of the Cork / Clare game. Cork emerging winners.
It was a very good day out and from the positive feedback it seems everyone enjoyed it. We have  beautiful mountains on our doorstep and the best views are from the top. Hope that we will see you all again soon.
Thanks to the club members who showed up to help out. Also to everyone, walkers, sponsors and anyone who contributed to a very successful day out.

        “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out” .........Walter Winchell


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Glanageenty Forest Trail

As it turned out this weekend we had to rearrange our plans due to circumstances but our tour of south Munster still rolled on & we ended up doing the Glanageenty Forest trail in Ballymagelligot  just after Castleisland.
 On an absolute fantastic morning which was warm with clear blue skies & this left us great views all the way back to Mount Brandon & Tralee Bay on one side & The Paps on the other side with Carrauntoohill & The Reeks straight ahead of us. There is really only one thing to say , on a sunny day like Sunday we live in a great country.
 One thing you do notice about this trail is that it is steeped in history as you will find out with all the palques & signs.
 The walk itself was perfect & has a bit of everything with a few short but testing climbs & then into valleys as our route contoured up & down with sometimes in the wide open & next trailing through a forest.

 Not much more to say but a great visit topped up with a great day.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Crohane Mountain

On Sunday 6th May ( Dromtarriffe Well Day ) the club walk was on Crohane mountain the second most easterly summit in the Mangerton mountains. At 650 meters it looms over Glenflesk.
We left town at 09.30 and continued to Glenflesk where we stopped for coffee /tea.
We car pooled from here as there was limited parking at our destination.
None of us had done this mountain previously so it was a new experience. We continued on the N22 to a junction to our left with a sign for Lough Guitane. Turning left here we continued until we came to a tarmac lane on our left. Parking up here we changed and made our way down towards Lough Guitane. Hugging the Mediterranean blue water to our right and Bennaumore straight ahead we continued on the lane. Eventually our way was blocked by a fence so we veered left up the slope of Crohane.
There was no clear path so we had to find our own way. We zig zagged up, it was a tough enough slog, but the views that opened up as we gained altitude, more than made up for it.
The sun shone on the sparkling waters below and the summit of Crohane came into view.Upwards we went marveling at the beautiful scenery around us.
Finally reaching the 650 meter mark we had some very welcome refreshments. It was a fabulous summers day. We stretched out and relaxed. The scenery, the stillness it was heaven.
To the east the Paps, Mullaghanish and in the distance the Ballyhouras. To the west Stoompa the Reeks.
Refreshed we made our way down we decided not to return the way we came up.  So we headed in a north westerly direction. With Lough Guitane as our beacon , with some difficulty we found the sanctuary of the tarmac lane.
Did we pick the best route up ? No.  Did we pick the best route down ? No.
Would we climb Crohane again ? YES.
We changed and made our way to the Torc Hotel for refreshments and to chat about the day. We had MUCH to talk about.
           The family that prays together, stays together........Proverb 22:6

           The family that climbs mountain together, comes down together......... Club motto.

Monday, 23 April 2018


On Sunday 22/04 we headed East to the Galty Mountains for the club walk. We left town at 09.00 and continued on to Kings yard, which was the starting point of our climb. The Galty mountains traverse the Limerick Tipperary border and run from East to West. At 919 meters Galtymore is the highest inland mountain in Ireland.
Leaving Kings yard we headed North East to link up with the Black road. On the slopes to our left there appeared to be some evidence of “lazy beds” which were used in the growing of potatoes before the great Famine of 1845. It would also appear that the mountain was home to a good number of people in the past, judging by the number ruins on its slopes.
Reaching the Black road we went north along the track.Conditions were excellent for walking and we made steady progress. It was a very gradual ascent. There were great views southward to the Knockmealdowns. In the distance the the rounded summit of Galtymore our destination loomed ahead. Reaching a cairn it was decision time. Would we continue on and go to Galtybeg first, or turn left and go to straight to Galtymore. It was decided to keep left, conditions underfoot now detoriated and it got boggy. We set our course for the coll between Galtybeg and Galtymore. The hard slog was from here to the summit.  However the views more than made up for it. Over looking Lough Diheen at the bottom of a sheer cliff. Across the way we could see a fairly large town,  which I can now identify as Tipperary town. The village of Bansha could also be seen.
Finally reaching the summit we stopped in the shelter of some rocks and had a welcome bite to eat, and took some photographs.
Very soon a band of thick cloud enveloped us and it got bitterly cold, with a cutting breeze. We decided not to hang around and made our descent.
As we got lower down the weather improved. Is is a pretty steep descent and care is needed, the knees were feeling the pinch.

Reaching the Attychraan river we rested up and admired the waterfalls. There are the remains of an old settlement here. Also in a hollow of a tree is a notebook where hillwalkers write a few lines. Like a version of a visitors book.  We recorded the club name and date of visit. Following the river we made our way to Kings yard. Here we changed and headed to the Firgrove in Mitchelstown for food and to chat about the day. It was a great days walking and good to see a new member, and welcome back an old one....

      “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going “ ............Beverly Sills

Monday, 9 April 2018

St. Finbars Pilgrim Route -Kealkill To Gougane Barra

On Sunday 8th April the club walk was the Kealkill to Gougane Barra section of the Saint Finbarr’s
Way. After leaving town at 09.15 we made our way to Gougane Barra, where we had coffee and left a car with our change of clothes.
We then continued to Kealkill to begin our walk. As it was Pilgrim Path week the car park was full so we had to park in the village. We started at Carriganass  ( Rock of the waterfall ) Castle.
This castle was an outpost of Donal Cam O’Sullivan Beare. After the battle of Kinsale in 1602, having lost control of his strongholds in Dunboy and Dursey. He led his band of 1000 followers past this castle in mid winter, on a tragic journey to Leitrim. Attacked by both Irish and English on the way only 35 arrived in Leitrim 14 days later.
We continued up the road past the castle climbing all the way. After after a little Bantry Bay can be seen.  Two and a half kilometers later we leave the road crossing a stile on our left, climbing steeply towards Knockbreteen hill. The path is very well way marked. The views are fantastic Bantry Bay to the south. Cnoc Baoi to the north, Sugarloaf and Hungry Hill to the west.

There is a few kilometers of road walking on this walk. When we reached a bridge crossing the Owenbeg river, which is the half way mark, we stopped for refreshments. Here there is seating and it was a lovely place to relax.

Following the markers we reached a lane way by a farm house, from here it’s a steep hard slog to the top of the never ending hill. Finally cresting the hill there are spectacular views over Saint Finbarr’s shrine and Gougane Barra lake.

Ground conditions were extremely wet and boggy after all the rain. Carefully making our way down hill we eventually arrived at the car park. We had hoped to change our clothes in Ireland’s top loo. ( According to The Lonely Planet ) .Only to find them locked and bolted. It even has a plaque on the wall saying Ireland’s Top Loo.  We had to make do with the car. We had no sooner changed when it began to pour rain, we were very lucky that the weather held up for the walk.
We went to the hotel where we had soup , sandwiches, coffe tea etc.

Gougane Barra is the burial place of  Tim Buckley and his wife Anastasia, better known as  the Taylor and Ansty from the book by Eric Cross published in 1942. The book was banned by the Censorship Board after a three day long debate in the Senate.Where some politicians made asses of themselves. What’s new.??  Some days later three local priests arrived at the Taylors home in Garrynapeaka near Gougane Barra and forced the 79 year old Taylor to burn his copy of the book in his fire place.The Taliban were alive and well then also......I know it has nothing to do with walking.

“ A star danced and under that was I born “
Tim Buckley’s ......  Epitaph..

Monday, 26 March 2018


On Sunday 25 March the club outing was to Killarney. Our intention was to do Mangerton / Stoompa
loop. We set off from town at 09.00 everyone had remembered to put their clocks forward.
We arrived at Tooreencormick and parked up. It was a beautiful sunny day and there were a good number of hill walkers about. It’s good to see so many people heading for the hills.
Safety being paramount in the club, we had dispatched a member to scout out the terrain earlier in the morning. Due to the previous heavy rain and melting snow, there was a possibility that the Owgarriff river which would have to be crossed after Stoompa might be in flood. The scout was to do the route in reverse and meet us on top of Mangerton. The clubs two way radios were put into action.
Leaving the car park we headed off through Cormacks Haggard resplendend in our new snoods courtesy of Flahavan’s. “The perfect food for hillwalkers”.
Conditions underfoot were muddy for the first couple hundred meters. We made steady progress gaining altitude, conditions improved. We followed the well trodden path towards the Devils Punchbowl.
The radio crackled into life and contact was made with the scout, who had by now reached the summit of Mangerton. He had a panoramic view of our group an we snaked onwards and upwards.
The views were fantastic over the lakes, towards the Reeks and in the distance the faint outline of the Galtees merged with the sky. The sun shone and one could think of no better place to be.
Finally we made the summit where our scout informed us, that to cross the Owgarriff river he had to remove his boots, socks and fold his trousers up to his knees. Also ground conditions were slippery and the boggy ground was hard going.
We had some welcome refreshments and took in the panoramic view and got a few photos. Well done to those who scaled Mangerton for their first time. They were blessed to have such a clear day. Let’s hope they won’t expect every summit to be as accommodating.It was decided that we would not continue with the Stoompa loop due to flooded river and poor ground. A wise decision. Having reached 839 meters we were happy with our lot.
We retraced our steps and made our way down carefully, keeping in mind that most accidents on the mountains happen while descending.
We all reached the car park safely. We changed and it was decided to call to the Lakes hotel to relax and chat about the day. There is no place at this table for people of a sensitive disposition.
A fantastic day out. Thanks to the scout who braved the unknown so that we migh all come safely home.

 “ No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path “

............Gautama Budda, sayings of Budda

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Trip to Moylussa & Ballycurragan Forest

In our constant search for new routes and mountains to climb, our outing on Sunday 18/03 took us to east Clare. Moylussa the highest point in County Clare at 532 meters part of the Sliabh Bearnagh range was our destination.
After turning off the motorway at Killaloe exit we stopped for some tea / coffee. While we were here the weather took a turn for the worst and there was a snow shower. We considered our options and decided to press on.
Passing over the 300 year old bridge we crossed the Shannon and entered Killaloe,birth place of Brian Boru. We took the Scarriff road and parked up at a car park near the entrance to Ballycuggaran wood. Ballycuggaran is named after the O Cuggarans who were an important clan in the court of Brian Boru.
Initially this walk is on forest paths and it follows the East Clare way for some time. It’s a fairly steep walk and with the snow fall getting heavier as we gained altitude, we assessed the situation and decided to carry on.
After some time the forestry gives way to open mountain, and there is a sleepered section leading all the way to the summit. Visibility was down to about 200 meters at the summit, and with driving snow and a biting wind we did not linger long at the boulder marking the summit at 1748 feet.
From the summit the expanse of Lough Derg can be seen, as well as the Slieve Mish mountains in Dingle and across to the Galtees. Today however with swirling snow we had no view.
Retracing our steps we made our way carefully down hill. This was quite tricky in places as the snow and steep gradient made for slippery conditions underfoot. Thankfully everyone made it down safely and there were no fallers. As we descended visibility increased and we got tantalizing views of Lough Derg spread out below us. It whetted our appetite to return again, when hopefully the weather would be kinder to us.
We reached the car park where there are toilet facilities, however these were locked, not much point in having them there if you can’t access them.
We continued on to the Lakeside Hotel in Ballina where we had some well earned refreshments and a heat from the stove in the cozy bar. Everyone agreed that despite the weather is was a good walk and well worth the journey down. Definitely have to return.

PS  Don’t order the chowder it’s bland and tasteless.

“My father considered a walk among mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing “...Aldous Huxley.