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!

Tulla Famine Walk – back by popular demand!

Join us on 22nd September to walk the places around Tulla associated with the Famine and hear about the effects of the Famine on our parish.
This 7km guided walk will pass some of the buildings that played important roles in the Famine in Tulla and you will hear about some of the people in Tulla who tried to assist those in need.
Following the success of the Tulla Famine Walk in August as part of Tulla Weekend of the Welcomes, we have decided to host this event again as part of the Clare Walks Ltd. walking weekend.
Meeting Point: Tulla Library. Registration from 1:30pm with walk starting at 2pm. Parking is available throughout the village.
The walk will take approximately 90 minutes and light refreshments will be served afterwards.
This walk is free of charge with an optional donation.
All monies raised will go towards the future maintenance and upkeep of the East Clare Way & the Mid Clare Way walking routes.

For further details contact us on 065 683 5912 or 086 358 6293
info@clarewalks.ie

The walk is being organised by Clare Walks Ltd and all research for this guided walk was carried out with thanks to Jane Halloran, Dalcassian Origins & Tulla Reaching Out.

Dawn Walk on Ballycuggaran

Leaving Two-Mile-Gate (Ballycuggaran Blue Flag Beach), Killaloe at 6:30am, we will follow the Ballycuggaran Looped Walk and climb to a height of approx. 250 metres.
At the highest point of this looped walk with the beautiful expanse of Lough Derg beneath us, we will watch the sun rise.
This walk is being organised to coincide with the Autumn Equinox (There are two equinoxes every year – in September and March – when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal).
Afterwards we will continue on the looped walk returning to the start point. The looped walk follows forest road, forest track and minor road through dense forest and open hillside. Parts of this walk can be strenuous. Please wear suitable footwear, suitable clothing and bring a torch, fluid and a light snack.

€5 pp.  All monies raised will go towards the future maintenance and upkeep of the East Clare Way & the Mid Clare Way walking routes.

Active Agers head to Connolly

The sun shone down on Connolly last Thursday as our Active Agers descended on the village to walk the newly developed Cloontabonniv Bog.

The walk started at Carney’s Pub, just outside the village. We would like to say a huge thanks to Julie who opened up especially for us and who provided very welcome cups of tea and coffee and sweet treats on our return.

We were joined on the walk by a large number of committee members from Connolly who have been, and are still, involved in the development of this bog walk to make it an accessible amenity and also to preserve it for future generations. It has certainly been a labour of love for this group over the last number of years.  The stories we heard on route, from people who came to this bog as children, to the history of the bog and the families who worked it, made the morning all the more enjoyable for the walkers. A neighbour on the route even picked plums from the tree in his garden for us, and they were possibly the sweetest I have ever tasted.

With stunning views of Mount Callan, surrounded by forestry, with streams running down the side of the road, we crossed over the start of the Inagh River and a even had a quick stop to watch a baby frog crossing the road – this was certainly a walk in nature. We all agreed that it was a very enjoyable walk.

Well done to all involved in the Cloontabonniv Bog.

 

Great turn out for Tulla Famine Walk (& we didn’t get wet!!!)

Over 60 people joined us in Tulla on Thursday evening last for the Tulla Famine Week. This guided historical walk was jointly organised by Tulla Reaching Out and Clare Walks Ltd. to celebrate Heritage Week 2018. Jane Halloran, Dalcassian Origins, provided the historical information for this Famine Walk.

The walk started outside Tulla Library and provided information on the people and buildings associated with the Great Famine 1845 – 1849 in Tulla.

We heard of Fr. Patrick Sheehy, the Parish Priest of Tulla during the Famine and his Church of Ireland counterpart, Rev. Richard Brew who joined forces and seemed to put aside their religious differences to try and ease the suffering of the people of Tulla.

The route took us passed the site of the former Coffin House on Main Street, where coffins for those who died during and after the Famine were made;    The Soup (or Souper) School, a small Church of Ireland school which at its height, had about 160 Church of Ireland and Catholic pupils in 1846 & 1847.  During the Famine, many children attended the school as by doing so, they were also entitled to a free meal; Tulla Courthouse, which was erected in 1838 and was the main judicial building for the Tulla district for almost 163 years.  During the Famine, cases were heard for those accused of stealing.    However, the Courthouse was also used for the meetings for the Tulla Poor Relief Committee; Tulla Bridewell or Gaol (now Minogue’s Bar) throughout the 1800’s was the building where prisoners were often kept overnight to appear in court the following day and also prisoners who were due to be transported to a new country as punishment for their crime would have been held here overnight.

The final part of the walk brought the group down to the  entrance gates of the former Tulla Workhouse. The Workhouse was completed on 22 February 1850 and started to take in the impoverished people of the area  in 1852. Within several months of opening, it was overcrowded.  These conditions continued to persist for several years. The high stone walls and galvanised gates guard the spot where the workhouse once stood – only one small pillar marking a former entrance and a very eerie tree remain inside the gate today.

On our return to Tulla we were treated to a welcome rest in Minogue’s and an even more welcome cup of tea and biscuits.We would like to thank Minogue’s bar for making their facilities available.

Again, we would like to say a huge thank you to all who joined the Tulla Famine Walk and we are already looking at ideas for future historic walks on the East Clare and the Mid Clare Way walking routes, so make sure to keep an eye on this website or follow us on Facebook.