A Ramble through Cloontabonniv

15 eager walkers travelled to Connolly last Thursday for a 6km guided looped walk around the newly developed Cloontabonniv Bog Walk, which was developed by Connolly Tidy Village and will be maintained by Clare Walks Ltd. maintenance staff.

A few showers along the route didn’t put our walkers off and thankfully it kept the midges at bay!

This is a stunning walk with an abundance of scenery, nature and bird song, so it is definitely worth adding to your agenda.

If you would like any further details of this, or any of our walks, drop us a line – info@clarewalks.ie.

Our next walk will take place on Thursday 27th June at 11am from Ardboula House in Tulla. Hope you can join us!

Active Agers “Shut up and Dance”

Although the forecast was not looking good, 26 eager Active Agers joined us in Ogonelloe last Thursday for our monthly Guided Walk. Surprisingly we experienced only warm and sunny weather throughout the walk and it was so enjoyable to be out.

We started at the Ogonnelloe Hall/Exchange, which is the recently renovated Ballybran School on the main road between Scariff and Killaloe. The building and the facilities are absolutely fantastic and there is huge credit due to the committee and the community who made this happen. There is a fab Community Cafe open here every Saturday from 11am, so if you are passing make sure to pop in for a cuppa.

Before we headed off walking, we did a quick warm up to the song “Shut up and Dance”. We organised this in conjunction with Today FM’s Dare to Care/Be a Dancer for Cancer campaign and all donations from the day will be going to the Irish Cancer Society. We are delighted to have raised €178 on the day! Thanks and well done to everyone who donated. Thanks to Concepta for leading the warm-up.

Although this was a moderate walk of approx. 8km with one or two steep climbs, it was well worth it! We passed through forestry paths parallel to the lake and had to stop to admire the blanket of bluebells. We had fantastic views of Lough Derg to Holy Island,  Mountshannon and to Tipperary on the far shore and Ballyloughnane on the Clare side, and the unexpected beautiful weather greatly added to this.

Thanks to Antoinette for the great photo (above).

On our return to Ogonnelloe Hall/Exchange, we had a well deserved cuppa, scones and biscuits (but nobody was counting calories….)

If you missed this walk, or you would like to walk it again, check out the route details here (Don’t forget to click on the walker at the top)

Our next walk will take place on Thursday 30th May at 11am – see details here!

We hope to see you then!

What a day to hit the trails…….Active Agers head to Tiermaclane!

What a beautiful day it was to hit the trails on our third Guided walk for Active Agers this year.

On Thursday last, 40 eager Active Agers gathered in Tiermaclane (just outside Ennis) to head off on a 7.5 guided looped walk passing Cragbrien, Ballyea and returning to Tiermaclane.
We had a few inclines on the walk but as one walker said “What goes up, must come down” so it wasn’t too challenging for us!
The walk was on quiet local roads passing forestry and a stunning waterfall and we were accompanied by beautiful birdsong all the way. 

Shortly before we reached the finish point, we passed the impressive ruins of the old Woulfe Estate, which has been unoccupied since the 1870’s.

Thanks to one of our new walkers, Nathalie Lauze, for sharing some of her photos.

Making our way back to Carrig’s Costcutter in Tiermaclane, we treated ourselves to tea/coffee and an array of fresh pastries and some of us even sat outside soaking up the sunshine – a real novelty for this time of year!

If you missed this walk, or you would like to walk it again, check out the route details here (Don’t forget to click on the walker at the top)

Our next walk will take place on Thursday 25th April at 11am – see details here.
We hope to see you then!

Sampling the delights of Mountshannon

42 eager walkers headed off from Mountshannon Harbour last Thursday for our second Active Agers walks of 2019 for a 7km looped walk following quiet roads. There were a few hills at the start but the views over Mountshannon, Holy Island and Lough Derg on the way back were worth the climb!

We luckily arrived back to Mountshannon just before the first rain shower of the day.

The newly opened Seasons Restaurant was a welcome stop for hot drinks, home baking and home-made soup. Thanks to Geraldine for welcoming us in to her beautifully decorated restaurant and we wish her the very best for the future.

If you missed this walk, or you would like to walk it again, check out the route details here (Don’t forget to click on the walker at the top)

Our next walk will take place on Thursday 28th March at 11am – see details here. We hope to see you then!

 

Great weather for the first Active Age walk of 2019

We couldn’t have asked for better weather on Thursday last when 45 eager walkers joined us for the first Active Agers walk of 2019.

We left Newmarket-on-Fergus, walked through the town towards Kilnasoolagh and then headed for the remains of the late Bronze Age Hillfort at Mooghaun. From here we continued on our 7km loop back to Newmarket-on-Fergus, where we stopped in the Weavers Inn for a welcome cup of tea and a delicious (but not so healthy) snack.

For anyone who missed this walk, or anyone who fancies doing it again, please see map of the route here.

Don’t forget to join us for our next walk on Thursday 28th February at 11am in Mountshannon. Hope to see you then!

 

Guided Heritage Walk & Mince pies go down a treat!

It looked like it was going to be a wet day, but despite that, 18 eager walkers turned up last Thursday for our 5km Guided Heritage Walk for Active Agers in Tulla, and we actually managed to stay relatively dry!

The walk was guided by Jane Halloran, an accomplished Genealogist and Local Historian, who provided some fascinating information on some of the historical residences and some stories from the townlands we walked through, including Cragg House, Cloondorney More, Cloondroney Lake, Annagh and the Bog Road.

Thanks to Jane for sharing her wealth of knowledge with us.

As always, we finished off the day with a welcome cup of tea, some scones and gorgeous home-made Mince pies which were made especially by one of our walkers Mary Carmel. Whatever calories were burnt off during the walk were certainly put back on by the time we had finished our mini-feast.

We would like to say a big thanks also to Mike Hoey and the Tulla United Soccer Club for the use of their club house on the day. All were in agreement that this was a fantastic facility and great credit is due to the committee/club for their dedication to providing such a great facility here in Tulla.

We will probably take a break for Christmas now but we will be back walking again at the end of January 2019 so get ready to come along and walk off the extra Christmas pounds………..

This Guided Heritage Walk was kindly supported by

A beautiful Autumnal morning in Mooghaun

26 of our Active Age group, along with some new members, joined us in Quin last Thursday for an 11km guided looped walk. Yet again, we had beautiful weather – a clear, crisp morning with the most fantastic autumnal colours.

This walk started at Quin Community Centre and up to Mooghaun Hillfort, which was built at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age around 950 BC. The largest and most spectacular hoard of prehistoric gold in Western Europe was found at Mooghaun Lough 1km north of the hillfort. This demonstrates the enormous power and authority of the hillforts occupants. The Mooghaun gold hoard is now on display in the National Museum of Ireland Dublin – Source: Discover Ireland.

Thanks to Brendan Cooney for providing some great history on the old Dromoland Estate, Mooghaun Hillfort and the Mooghaun gold hoard as we passed by the site where this was found.

After a quick break to admire the scenery in Mooghaun, we started on the 5km walk back to Quin Community Hall where we had some very welcome tea/coffee and scones waiting for us.

Our next Active Agers walk will take place at the end of November in Tulla – details will be confirmed soon!

Kindly supported by: 

 

 

Local history, beautiful scenery, tea and scones; oh and some walking aswell!

We were joined by 25 walkers for another fabulous walk in Whitegate yesterday as part of our Active Age monthly guided walks. We couldn’t have asked for better weather for this 7.5km loop which started at the Half Barrel Bar & Restaurant and took us along quiet roads where we were surrounded by scenery and history.

Local man Tom Holland joined our walk and provided the most fantastic historical knowledge on the route, including;

Williamstown Quay, where, during the Famine many Irish people started out their journey to a new life (and in more recent history, where local men rowed their boats across the water to the dances in Dromineer, Co. Tipperary for a drink and a dance); The maids quarters at the back of the former Williamstown House, where Michael Egan, Brud McMahon, Alfie Rogers and Martin Gildea – the Scariff Martyrs – were captured in November 1920, taken by steamer to Killaloe and shot on the bridge by a force of Auxiliaries.

We also stopped and took time to admire a fairly well preserved Lime Kiln and the beautiful and peaceful Dromaan Harbour.

Returning to Whitegate, we were delighted to take the opportunity to sit and indulge in fresh baked scones and as much tea & coffee as we could drink (all for just €3.50) in the Half Barrel and we would like to say a huge thanks to the management and staff here for facilitating us.

The next Active Agers walk is scheduled for Thursday 25th October at 11am – it will be hard to match the Whitegate walk so we are still trying to decide on  the route for this but we will keep you posted.

 

History and Views galore in East Clare!

East Clare saw some fabulous weather last weekend for our Guided walks. Looking at the weather forecast in the days leading up to the weekend, we had fears of needing to cancel our walks due to the threat of storm Bróna arriving just in time to “blow us off course…….”

However, we were able to continue with our planned walks; both of which proved to be most enjoyable.

Pictured at the entrance to the site of the former Tulla Workhouse during the Tulla Famine Walk.

On Saturday 22nd, we were joined by 28 walkers who were eager to learn about the buildings, sites and the people associated with the Great Irish Famine in Tulla. Tulla was one of the hardest hit parishes in Ireland with a population decrease of over 20% in ten years. This was the second time we had run the Tulla Famine Walk – due to it’s popularity during Tulla Weekend of the Welcomes and Heritage Week 2018, we decided to run this again and we definitely made the right decision. The group heard stories about starvation, disease and separation of families; our ancestors from 150 years ago.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Jane Halloran, Dalcassian Origins and Tulla Reaching Out for her fantastic research for this guided walk.

On Sunday 23rd, 38 early risers headed off from Two-Mile-Gate (Ballycuggaran Blue Flag Beach) at 6:30am to walk the Ballycuggaran Looped Walk to watch the sun rise over the beautiful expanse of Lough Derg.

Could we have asked for a better morning? As they say, a picture paints a thousand words……………………

All monies raised through these walks will go towards the future maintenance of both the East Clare Way and the Mid Clare Way walking routes and with a great contribution of €250 raised from these walks, we would like to say a huge thank you to all who came along and supported Clare Walks Ltd.

Keep an eye on our Events page or our Facebook page for our future guided walks.

The mysterious woman on the plaque……

Have you ever heard of Annie M.P. Smithson?

I hadn’t until our Guided Heritage Walk on 19th August last brought us past her former temporary residence – a small cottage near Kilnasoolagh Church of Ireland chuch in Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare.

A few of us stopped outside the wall of the cottage as we were intrigued by a concrete plaque which hung on the wall of the cottage which read “Chónaigh ANNIE M.P. SMITHSON Údar agus Banaltra anseo 1907 – 1910”.  For those who don’t speak Irish (or those that have forgotten it from your school days) it reads “ANNIE M.P. SMITHSON Author and Nurse lived here 1907 – 1910”

I took a photo of this plaque so that I could do a little bit of research on this lady and her link to the area. I must admit I was a little in awe when I started doing some research on this lady and her fascinating life.

Annie Mary Patricia Smithson was an Irish novelist, poet and Nationalist. She was born into a Protestant family in Sandymount in Dublin in September 1873.

Her mother and father were first cousins and her father died when she was young. About 1881 her mother married her second husband, Peter Longshaw, who owned a chemical factory in Warrington in Lancashire. As a result Smithson lived for a number of years in England. She disliked her stepfather and referred to him always as Mr Longshaw. There were five children from this marriage.

She was christened Margaret Anne Jane, but took the names Anne Mary Patricia (Annie M.P.) on her conversion to Catholicism.  She converted to Catholicism in March 1907 and became a fervent Republican and Nationalist. She became a member of Cumann na mBan and campaigned for Sinn Féin in the 1918 general election.

Smithson always had dreams of becoming a journalist but abandoned this ambition in order to train as a nurse and a midwife. She trained in London and Edinburgh, before returning to Dublin in 1900. In 1901 she took up a post as district nurse in Millton, Co. Down. There she fell in love with her colleague Dr James Manton, a married man. Deciding that a relationship was impossible, she left Millton in 1906. They kept up a correspondence until her conversion to Catholicism in 1907, when she burnt his letters.

 

She was Secretary and Organiser of the Irish Nurses Organisation from 1929 to 1942. She wrote for the Irish Nurses’ Magazine and edited the Irish Nurses Union Gazette.

In 1917 she published her first novel, Her Irish Heritage, which became a best-seller. It was dedicated to those who died in the Easter Rising of 1916. Smithson published many journal articles but is best known for her romantic novels which have a strong Nationalist tone. In all, she published twenty novels and two short story collections. Other successful novels included By Strange Paths and The Walk of a Queen. Many of her works are highly romantic and draw on her own life experiences, with nationalism and Catholicism featuring as recurrent themes. In 1944 she published her autobiography, Myself – and Others.

From 1932 onwards she shared a house in Rathmines, Dublin with her stepsister and her stepsister’s family. She died on 21 February 1948 of heart failure at 12 Richmond Hill, Dublin and was buried in Whitechurch, County Dublin. What an amazing life she led….and she lived in Newmarket-on-Fergus.

Just goes to show, you never know the history you are passing by when you are out for a walk!