On Friday, Pat Lehane and Jack McGrath, Killarney GSRMA with support from the Central Committee organised their second walking-trek to the top of Clara Mountain outside Millstreet. One year ago, five members completed the task in 3.5 hours. However on Friday, the number increased by 100% when ten GSRMA men came together from Killarney, Limerick, Fermoy, Blarney and Cork City.
The weather was ideal, as lads put on the hiking gear, laced the boots, collected the black-thorn canes, and slung the nap-sack over the shoulders. At 12.40 pm, a prep-talk was over and we were following the trail, where Pat Lehane and Jack kept a close eye on the new-entrance to the sport. Along the upwards Forest track, Pat pointed out the moss along the old stone-walls which was as as old as Methuselah and on the very same stones we observed a soft silvery-white metallic element which is known as Lithium Oxide.
Out through the Forest Gate-way, a lovely path took us along the edge of green pasture where a fine dairy herd was grazing. At various “Viewing-Points” we were able to read Tourist Board Notices and take-in the scenery. We were now reaching the centre-field area of the walk. There, on the mountain side we stood to view the “Green Glens of Millstreet” & site of the Old Drishane Convent, in the background as many cameras came out to capture the scene.
Joe Watkins (Fermoy), Gerry McManus ( I./C. Ballyduff, Kerry for yrs.) John McSweeney (Cork), Tony Kennelly, and Pat O’ Neill (former JLO Kerry) kept all entertained with yarns. At this stage, we were all together, and it was not possible to identify a winner.
A large steel Cross at the peak of Clara Mountain, came into view and it became the main focus. Suddenly, some of our junior lads — up the tempo while others felt the need to pull-out the water bottle and locate the bananas to get energy for the final furlong. Wise old heads like Jerry Cronin, kept a steady-pace all the way and was delighted to make it to the top for the second year in succession. It was marvellous to see Michael O’ Donovan (who served in Cork as Cigire) giving moral support to his branch colleague.
At the top, we sat on the mountain heather (which was like a mattress), pulled-out the “Nose-Bag” and enjoyed the contents. The appetite was huge, fresh air plenty as we all enjoyed the tea/sandwiches and of course the craic. While there we inspected the huge steel cross that was erected in Jan. 2012. This was the 4th Cross to be erected, with the 1st in 1950, next in 1967 and No.3 in 1984. Back in 1967, our GSRMA colleague = Tim Callaghan (Blarney), was part of a relay-team that carried buckets of cement to the top of the 1400 mountain. After we got back down to Millstreet at 4.10 pm, we enjoyed lovely refreshments sponsored by the Garda Síochána Retired Members Association (GSRMA.) Our sincere thanks to Pat Lehane & Jack McGrath for guiding us along the right path. Thanks to the Central Committee and Paschal Feeney (Gen. Sec.) for financial support.
Hopefully, the GSRMA we may be able to encourage this physical activity to other areas of the country. Some spoke about a walk on Slive Na- mBann Mountains (Tipp Lads) but if you have ideas, share them (Pat Lehane= Mobile No. 086-8139 416) and we might go in your direction.
Finally, we can share a few photographs from Millstreet (courtesy of Pat & Joe) and you should be able to make-out who was first to reach to top.