20th Anniversary Celebrations
The formation of the Galtee Walking Club was the brainchild of Billy Kingston, Helen Morrissey and Mandy Parslow, who were all members of Aherlow Fáilte. They presented their ideas at a meeting in O’Heneys in Bansha on January 21st 2003, and a committee formed soon after. The Aherlow Walking Festival was originally run in conjunction with the Tipperary Hillwalkers, but this club did not get back together after the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001. There was a need for walk leaders for the Aherlow Festival, and so the Galtee Walking Club was born! The first walk, on February 2nd 2003, left from the Christ the King statue and was led by the then club chairman Larry Joy.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Galtee Walking Club. Last Sunday, February 12th, Goretti Campbell organised 3 walks and a get-together to mark this milestone in the club’s history. There was a great turnout, with 56 people partaking in the walks, and several more past and present members joined the reunion at the hotel.
The 3 walks commenced at the Aherlow House hotel at 11am. Denny O’Dwyer led a group of 14, including a few toddlers, around the Nature Park up to the Christ the King statue. En route Denny gave a talk about the Bianconi horse-drawn carriages that used the route in the mid-19th century to transport people. This is the reason behind the naming of the nearby ‘Coach Road Inn’. In addition, the Stafford O’Brien well near the Rock an Thorabh car park was used to provide water for the horses. The group on Denny’s walk finished first and enjoyed the scones at the hotel before the other two groups got there!
A second walk was led by Club President, Danny Bailey. This walk also commenced at the Nature Park, from where the group went to the Christ the King statue. The trail continued through Cordangan Wood, where you could hear the harmonious chatter as the walkers strode at a very rhythmic pace to the Millennium Stone. Here, Rody, our Poet in Residence, gave a rendition of his poem “The View from Lyracappul”, with Goretti Campbell reciting 2 verses of the “Slievenamuck Marathon” also written by Rody. Song followed the poetry, with Thos O’Neill leading the way with “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”. After that, the group was ready to hit the trail back to the hotel for the well-earned tea and scones.
James Bourke led the longest walk of the day – the 11 km Dolmen Loop. From the hotel they went through Ballinacourty Wood, up to Moanour mountain and on to the Dolmen for lunch. They had great views and plenty of sunshine at the highest point of the route, Slievenamuck, which is marked by a trig pillar.
Group photos were taken at the hotel, to remember this momentous occasion. Special thanks to Denny, Goretti, Hilary and James for capturing the day on camera. A huge thank you to Danny, Denny and James for leading the walks and to everyone who came along to help us celebrate. Finally, thank you to Aherlow Fáilte for their generous donation to the club and we look forward to working with you for many years to come.
12 Feb 2023: 20th Anniversary Walk