On Ireland’s western shore.

Bishops Island Nr Kilkee

Beyond the regular walks on its beach or along the well-trodden cliff walks in the west Clare town of Kilkee on Ireland’s western coast can be found  Bishop’s island.  It’s said a Christian monk spent time there, sheep grazed upon it once before the mighty Atlantic Ocean restructured its sides as it pounded the Irish coast with its mighty storms. Majestic above and beneath its wild shore, today it attracts divers to its waters, birds to its cliffs and walkers stopping contemplating nature’s beauty.

The saint’s well remains to this day, the nearby town of Kilkee taking it’s name from his long gone presence.

Well of St Kill near Kilkee Co Clare Ireland.

The Wild Atlantic Way along Ireland’s western shoreline bares testimony to nature’s onslaught but it’s but a short journey away for those who reside on this majestic Island.  On the western shores of Europe lies an island rich in diversity and awaiting your visit.

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Posted in Atlantic storms, Awaiting your visit., Bishops Island, Christian monk, Cliffs and walkers, Discover Ireland, Diving Ireland, Ireland’s western shoreline, Irish coast, Irish tourism, kilkee, mighty storms, Nature, Nature’s onslaught, Rugged Ireland, Sheep, St Kee, Sunset, West Clare, Western shores of Europe, Wild Atlantic Way | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Still running at 50 plus.

 

Still smiling after the Dingle Marathon three years ago in 2014.

Still smiling after the Dingle Marathon three years ago in 2014.

My late father in law once said of someone out running; “Stop him, he’s mad!” So what chance have I got? Well for what it’s worth, I’m still running.  I remember someone saying ‘write about what you know,’ and as I’ve been lacing up my runners for over thirty years now, I probably know a thing or two about this physical activity.

It’s a damp Irish Spring morning with the clouds low and the mist soaking everything. So why strip down to shorts in February?  Even if I am moving  slower these days, at least I’m still moving. Breathing  harder and hurting no one but occasionally myself.

Thankfully over the years I’ve only fallen twice, once in the backside of Cratloe woods when some stones, or was it a root, tripped me up, I only suffered a bad bruise then. Running for over an hour can  make the body a bit weary at times. More recently I had a close encounter with a footpath, having misjudged the height as I had to jump up quickly while on the move as a car rounded a corner. I only knew I’d cut myself when the bright yellow tee-shirt suddenly gained a few darker blotches and I figured this was going to leave a mark or two. It did, I’d two fine bruises for a week or so on my chin and nose and looked as if I’d been in a fight. On that occasion a car stopped not far away and offered me a lift home, though they were complete strangers  I was very grateful as I was actually shaken a bit and I  took the lift. I wasn’t too far from home anyway.

With the increase in charity runs from 5k to marathons, there’s usually some poor soul pounding the footpaths or river or canal banks somewhere not too far away. At fifty eight I’m delighted to still be one of them.

Getting out the door always proves to be the hardest part but with a little will power and a total dismissal of what others think of you, it’s all systems go. Gear on including the vaseline in important places,  water bottle filled, watch set or smartphone if you decide to bring that along to ‘map the journey,’ sometimes these are better left at home. Fitness and adventure are gained and this doesn’t have to cost a fortune, Aldi and Lidl sell great running gear. The only thing I don’t scrimp on are shoes as they can be the difference between healthy legs and trouble.

I ran my first marathon in 1984 in Dublin. It was fifteen years before I ran another one but I’ve run sixteen since and a few shorter ones along the way. Is it an addiction or just something to enjoy. I enjoy it and highly recommend running,  seek advise from those who’ve trodden the roads, join a club or just ask someone out there who runs. There are a few around, mad but still running. Last year thousands ran the three distances of 5k, 10k and good old 42k-that’s the marathon, in Limerick for the Limerick Marathon on the May bank holiday weekend.  I’d hoped to run Dublin again last year after a long gap but I left it too late, such is the popularity of the event and it had been capped. So there certainly are others running out there.

 

Posted in Charity runs, Do the stuff, Doing it for awhile, Dublin marathon, Exercise is fun, Fitness and adventure, Getting out the door, Heading out the door., Healthy legs, International Journalism, Ireland, Irish roads and trails, Irish Runner, Irish Spring morning, Irish Times, Irish weather, Irish writer, Journalism in Ireland, Lacing up the runners, Limerick city, Limerick Marathon, Marathon Running., Mature runners., May bank holiday weekend., Morning Run, Moving a bit slower, newspapers and magazines, online presence, Others running, Run baby run, Runners Diary, Running, Running in woods, Running Injuries, Running Magazines, Running off road, Running over thirty years., Safe and happy running, Self-discipline, Still running, Still running at 50 plus., twitter, Writing. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A few small candles and a bunch of flowers.

limerick-dec-22nd-2016-3cc  She stopped on the bridge and looked at the little candles and flowers and quickly blessed herself before continuing on her way home or wherever she was headed.

Yesterday on the same bridge another woman was huddled over at the same spot weeping, being supported up by three younger women and one young man, all visibly upset. Trying to comfort one another, their great loss almost lost in the busyness of the season upon us as so many passed by.

They’d just placed a small few candles and a little bunch of flowers on the place where their loved one a few day’s ago had jumped into the cold running waters below.

A young man no longer with those who cared for him. His journey ended, his potential gone as  those who cherished him hurt now as their journey painfully continued without him.

The most valuable are too often blinded to their own potential, robbed by harsh circumstances or ill spoken words. Not seeing the value of their lives and if your reading this ; you are of value.

At a season when many pass on gifts, oh to remember that life is the greatest gift you’ll ever have.  Cherish it,  value it, live it and share it,  because truly life is so very precious.

Posted in life is so very precious., life is the greatest gift you’ll ever have., Lost potential., Suicide, Writing. | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Reopened Plassey Bank.

 

Towpath-sign-plasseybank-Limerick-Eugene-Ryan-Landscape-photographer.

Towpath-sign-plasseybank-Limerick-Eugene-Ryan-Landscape-photographer.

The sign did not bring joy to my heart at the time, it was August last year  a little over a year ago now in 2015 but the end result certainly has. The large imposing orange sign basically declared this well traveled  walkway was to be closed as approval from An Bord Pleanala had come through and work would begin shortly.

Students from the University of Limerick and the many other walkers and runners like myself would have to find an alternative route to College or walk and run rather than this beautiful walkway along the banks of the Shannon River as it flowed past the University of Limerick and onto Limerick city. This path travels through a special area of conservation but this appears to have been taken  into consideration with the sensitivity of the work done. It  was once a walkway that became mucky if it rained though that was now about to change,  it’s now October 2016 over a year later but it’s been worth the wait.

 

Plassey Bank Limerick.

Plassey -Bank -Limerick-Eugene-Ryan-Photographer.

It’s now October 2016, a little over a year later and Limerick Smarter Travel appear to have helped transform what was a rough walkway into an outstanding pathway leading all the way from the city to the University.

lights-on-plassey-bank-eugene-ryan-landscape-photographer

Lighting-along-Plassey-Bank-Eugene-Ryan-Photographer.

The pathway now has lighting all along its journey nestled neatly below the tree line discreetly adding not just light but a sense of security on this short journey from the Guinness Bridge at the Canal all the way to the UL Boathouse. Having been closed for over a year its quickly being used by walkers, cyclists and runners all availing of this great asset so close to the city and pulling the University closer to the city it gets its name from.  So for those who have not ventured alone this great amenity at their doorstep, there’s no longer an excuse, your feet will stay dry as long as the river doesn’t rise again. Thank you to Limerick Smarter Travel and all involved in making Plassey Bank a more enjoyable and safe place to travel on.

 

Posted in I love lomerick, Irish writer, Limerick city, Limerick Smarter Travel, New Bridges, Plassey Bank, River Shannon, Running, University of Limerick, walkway, Well traveled walkway | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On the river in Limerick.

kayak 1A new journey began on an August evening recently for almost twenty adventurers as we took to the water in Limerick city. Having put on a wetsuit that hadn’t seen daylight let alone water in awhile, I had brought my own, I was now all geared up to sit onto the boat, not much bigger than myself and head onto the river at the same level as its many swans. These kayaks glide alone the surface of the water as smoothly as a swan about to land. Their hollow fiberglass structures safely carry people on the water making the sport of Kayaking challenging and enjoyable. Seeing Limerick city from the same vantage point invading Vikings once saw it. Though it’s changed a bit sine their day, they’d hardly think it was the same place with it’s high stone walls alone its bank confining the river allowing it to flow faster at low tide.

Along with the others I dragged my little boat down the aluminium slipway stained by the tide to sit into my new home for the next two hours. After being rafted together all the kayaks bobbed about in the water as  two brave ‘volunteers,’  were asked to walk from one kayak  to another, this was the beginning of the fun as one inevitably fell in. I was told the water was warm but I was happy to be on as opposed to in it this time.  All was being overseen by  experienced instructors so we were in safe hands. These guys guided their new visitors on staying safe, correct use of the paddle, how the lifejacket should be worn but at the same time; have fun.  Seeing your town from this new vantage point is a life lesson in itself, learning to be comfortable on the water and know how to paddle all help in making kayaking a great way to safely pass a few hours enjoying nature at it’s level.

As the river rose with the tide , people’s confidence rose with it and it wasn’t long before we ventured down river between the bridges and back across the river through the long line of swans moving like one big white rope across the river.  The lads from GetWest Kayaking know their stuff and this evening I head back for more, ah but it’s worth it as I’m sure there’ll be another story to tell.  As I walked home later my body felt it had been in a war, running and kayaking on the same day-not a good idea.  Guess it takes time to get used to this paddling business but it was worth it to be on the mighty Shannon as it flows through our city on its way to the Atlantic.

Posted in Adventure, Another story to tell, Enjoying nature, Kayaking, life lesson, Mighty Shannon, On the river in Limerick., On the Shannon in Limerick city., On the water, paddling business, People’s confidence, Swans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunshine in Ireland on an Irish beach when the sun came out.

(From HTC510) Fanore Co Clare June 2016.

On an Irish beach when the sun came out!

The multi-coloured wind-breaker was chucked into the car boot having been retrieved from the depths of the attic for the first time in many a year. It was to have a double use on this unusually warm summer day in north Clare.  Besides keeping the sand and the gentle breeze off, it proved to be a great vantage point for observing the behavioural patterns of  visitors to the sandy shoreline. Continuous sunshine, blue skies and temperatures in the twenties, this was a beautiful display of what summer could be like in the west of Ireland. Lasting over a week it caused people to behave as if they were in the south of Spain. People headed to the beaches like other eager fans were heading to France for the football.

The lifeguards are requesting that swimming be carried out ‘between the flag’s’ as it’s easier to keep an eye on people, though it makes the ocean look like a big swimming pool with so many in a designated area with the sea being so open and unrestricted.

The reflection caught my eye from her book cover from the woman lying face down on the sand trying to read her book as the sun caught it. Two hurleys leaning against a large green picnic bag by her side marked her area of the beach while nearby a red plastic shovel was stuck in the sand. Sand shot into the air as two brother’s dug out and marked their own patch oblivious to all around them. This beach is not a quiet place as the squeak of two body-boards rubbing distracted me as the guy in a wet-suit walked past holding them under his arm, today this was an area of high activity. The Aran Islands reflected their presence at the mouth of Galway harbour just over the horizon as the beach became everyone’s playground while the sun continued to shine.

Two men, probably Sikhs from their unique headgear walked past with a large pot carried between them as they headed to their friends further down the beach where a distinct cultural grouping appeared to be gathering.

Sunshine in Ireland, that rare but welcome visitor, draw’s people together, removing inhibitions drawing people together to one big playground-the beach. Sand continues to fly  as the two boys dig their trench and they  appear to be having great fun.

Just offshore a guy on a paddle board paddles  as the guy on the large inflatable seat turns himself to get an all over tan; equality has arrived as regards how people look on a beach in  Ireland.  I notice the tide doing a ‘pincer movement,’ as it comes in around the sandbar, won’t be long now and this beach will get even more crowded. A young woman passes with her small child in a sling followed by another in full body suit to protect him from the sun.

More Sikhs walk past as a girls voice shouts “did you bring the picnic towel?” as now a changing tent and umbrella are erected just in front of us! The advancing tide appears to cause people to be even more inconsiderate to others on the beach.

Just spotted a serious swimmer, there’s always one though our view is beginning to be obscured by a large sun-brolly being erected- right in front of us, the cheek!

Behind us are sand dunes , while in front the wild Atlantic with the Aran Islands on the horizon. Down the beach the Sikh men playing volleyball though they’ve no net! Improvising on an Irish beach. “Dad, let’s go for a swim?” I think it must have been three years since I last swam in the sea, must have been something to do with Irish weather or I’m getting lazy.

This fine day has caused a community of people to gather on the beach who will probably never meet again. Then I heard the best comment of the day; “I’ve sand in my nickers,” Funny how self-consciousness goes out the window on a fine day.

In Southern Oceans seals and sea lions lie on the beaches. Why do so many people lying on an Irish beach look so much like this on a fine summer afternoon?  I notice  the Sikh men  even in the water do not take off their head coverings. We had our swim, it was cold though refreshing then the wind breaker was folded up and off we went! Oh, after my swim I noticed water in my supposedly water proof watch! On the way home the alarm went off and the watch was wrapped it in a towel and thrown in the boot with the windbreaker.

Great day but need to replace the watch! Must have been the cold Atlantic!

 

 

Posted in area of high activity, “I’ve sand in my nickers, black wet-suits, Coastal shoreline, cultural grouping, everyone’s playground, Fanore beach, France for the football., Fun, Improvising on an Irish beach., Ireland, Irish coastline, Irish tourism, Irish writer, Modern Ireland., Nature, newspapers and magazines, On an Irish beach, Rugged and wild Irish landscape., Seasons, serious fun, Social Media., Special day in the sun., special place, Sunday Times, Sunshine in Ireland, Time for coffee, Tourism Ireland, what summer could be, Wild Atlantic Way, Writing. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Twenty euros and an army boot.

A euro coin“Do you have a note for coins?” he said as he took twenty single euro coins from his worse for wear paper cup, placing them neatly on the counter. I’d only just ordered fresh cod and a large chip as a takeaway sounded good.

He didn’t look like your typical homeless man, mid-twenties with his hair tied up, a blue blanket sticking out of his rucksack and dressed in a casual military way. Taking the coins from the cup he quickly laid out twenty euros in two neat lines. As quickly the girl behind the counter took a neat twenty euro note from the cash register and passed it across to him. Maybe this transaction had been done here before as chippers and small shops often need change.

Das bootWhat’s happening now and why does a homeless man need a note as opposed to coins, I thought to myself. “They shake me to see have I anything, I need it for medicine,” he said in his eastern European accent, maybe Polish. No one had time to ask as he removed his heavy army style boot.

“Will I wrap them all together? Do you want salt and vinegar with them?” said the girl as she wrapped my order smiling at me and looking over at our friend as he carefully tucked his twenty euro note inside the lining of his boot. As I paid for my order he was gone back to a hostile world trying to survive in twenty first century Ireland with its diverse population and purposes. From the ‘take-away’, we can take more than food as other needs appear and show themselves in their own unique ways.

Posted in Army boot., diverse population, facebook, Fish & Chips, Homeless, Homeless in Ireland., http://www.irishpost.co.uk/, Irish writer, Journalism in Ireland, Limerick, Lose change, Personal thoughts, The new Irish., twenty first century Ireland, Writing. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment