Wild Wales in Winter 2017

ULKC Paddlers in Wales. Photo courtesy of Diarmaid Moloney

The trip started as it went on, nineteen paddlers, waking at a ridiculous hour all in the name of the glorious sport we call kayaking. With the vehicles packed and ready to go we left from UL with excitement and encouraged by members who had gone before that it’s some of the best paddling we’ll ever do. The trip to the fabled Jesse James Bunkhouse consisted of a lot of sleeping and wondering why Welsh has such a lack of vowels in the language. Upon arriving we were left loose on the rooms to choose our beds for the week. It was a tough competition where friendships ran thin and the scars resulting from it can still be seen today. After a quick trip to the local paddle shop and an early night we were truly settled in to our new surroundings in rural Wales.  The next few mornings the early risers of ULKC were most definitely rewarded by what they found at the river. The question of why go to Wales in the middle of winter was without a doubt answered by the wonder that is the River Dee. A river that suits all levels of paddling. One of … Continue reading

2016 Wasn’t All Bad

A Sunny Castleconnell Trip

2016 has definitely gotten a pretty bad name for itself for a lot of reasons, to the point that I’ve seen books solely about why it’s the worst year ever. For those of us lucky enough to be involved in ULKC though, apart from a lack of rain I think there were a lot of good memories created this year, ones that have me excited for what 2017 has to offer. As we’re about to close the door on the past year I wanted to throw together this defense of 2016, a year in review through my eyes. If I somehow wrote up all that ULKC’s members managed to do in the past year it would be far too long to read with trips all over Ireland, the Alps and people competing in Germany and Scotland so instead I’ve chosen five moments that have stood out to me. Five times that I was reminded of all we get out of this club. So, in no particular order, and without further adieu…    #7InARow When UL won the kayaking intervarsity’s in 2010 I doubt anyone expected that trophy to be staying as long as it has. During my first year in … Continue reading

Surf, Donald Trump and a Whole Lotta Kayaks. ULKC Lahinch Trip 2016

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It was that time of year again. The time of year for the kayak club to make its yearly pilgrimage to the seaside village of Lahinch, Co. Clare. Some say UL kayakers have been going to Lahinch since before kayaks began. Other more learned people say it’s closer to the last 30 years. The weekend started at our own boathouse with a flurry of last minute packing of boats, wetsuits and enthusiastic but nervous new kayakers. With everyone piled onto three buses and what seemed like 100 head counts we were on our way west to Lahinch. The hour and half journey felt like so much less than that with songs being sung and stories being told for the entire journey. By the time the hostel was reached everyone was assured of exactly what the hole in the Rattlin bog contained. A game of room roulette divided up the beds to ensure that everyone was making friends with someone new. The night continued with name games and after an exhausting night of getting names wrong everyone dropped away to bed with dreams of surfing some of the best waves in Ireland. Saturday morning most of the kayaking contingent was woken … Continue reading

The Alpine Dream: 3 Weeks, 1 Wedding and Whole Bunch of Smelly Paddlers

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Our adventure begins in Dublin Airport at 5am, Guinness in one hand, Burger King bag in the other, giving Ireland the send-off it deserved. There we were, 20 or so overly-excited kayakers on a plane looking down over the expansive Alpine mountains that we soon hoped to conquer. (Photo Courtesy of Jessie Langridge) We arrived in Italy at around 10am and the vibes of the two weeks to come started to settle around us as we pulled out our bright blue wife-beaters and five ukuleles and lay ourselves in the sun. Eventually, the oh-so-familiar UL Wolves Sprinter and Minibus came rolling around the corner with kayaks in-tow and suddenly the butterflies set in and the adventure was all too real. We set up camp in the tiny village of Kobarid in Slovenia and tried to mentally prepare ourselves for what was to be some of the most incredible, beautiful, exhausting yet hilarious few weeks of our lives. (Photo Courtesy of Daragh Heffernan) The first few days were spent along various sections of Slovenia’s 138km Soča river to give our advanced lads a chance to relax and us beginners a chance to settle into our new kayaking routine. We ran Prijon … Continue reading

ULKC 40th Anniversary Celebrations

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The University of Limerick Kayak Club’s 40th Anniversary celebrations kicked off on the 9th of April with a trip down the Castleconnell section of the Shannon. The Castleconnell has been a training ground for the UL Kayak Club since its inception and in recent years has proven its worth by aiding ULKC to win their 7th consecutive Intervarsity title this year. Overall we had more than 100 people kayaking down the river on the day, the group I was placed in had 30 members both young and old. We paddled down the river and after some of the more challenging rapids you could see the smiles of older members as if they had experienced the thrill of white-water for the first time once again. I overheard one person say ‘I forgot how much I missed this!’ We paddled the river quite quickly and without incident. At the get-off there was soup and tea provided by the volunteers who made the trip a roaring success. Later that evening celebrations took place in the form of a black tie ball in the SouthCourt Hotel. A prosecco reception welcomed both previous and present members, with some less than sober students hogging the photographer’s … Continue reading

7th Consecutive Intervarsities Title for ULKC!!!

#7InARow - Photo by Oisín McHugh

ULKC have matched NUIGs record for most consecutive Irish Kayak Intervarsity titles after winning their seventh title in a row on the 7th of February.   The weekend consisted of paddlers competing in five different disciplines of kayaking. Canoe Polo kicked off the competition on the Friday morning. For those unfamiliar with the rules of Canoe Polo it’s a team event with 5 players on each side, it also has some similarities to hurling, rugby and soccer.   UL had been seeded into the toughest group in the whole competition with Letterkenny IT, NUI Maynooth and DCU to play and get to the semi-finals. The DCU game was our first match and also the most important, in the past matches had been settled with only one goal in the difference. UL managed a huge upset victory against DCU along a massive score line of 10-2. That wasn’t the only score line ULKC dominated, Letterkenny and Maynooth were beaten 10-0 and 9-0 respectively.   In the semi-finals UL faced an extremely strong and intimidating DIT team with a number of international paddlers in their ranks. After the first half UL were 6-1 down, a quick team talk at half time and … Continue reading

ULKC Donegal Trip 2016

Here’s a summary of this years January trip to Donegal written by one of our member’s, Joe Doyle. ULKC GO UP THE DUFF! On a fine, crisp winters morning the UL kayak club set off on yet another one of our notorious end of semester trips. This year we went to Donegal for a week of intense kayaking and seeing a few sights around the north. January 16th we set off from the UL boathouse with a minibus and sprinter loaded up with some of the finest kayaks and kayakers ever to grace the university… Kind of.  To kick start the journey we had to endure a 3 hour packing session that involved the essential spice bag break. 6:30pm we were off on the road eager to get at some of the rivers in Donegal. On the first day we took on the great ‘Duff’ river but thankfully in low levels of water as it becomes an entirely different river with a bit of rainfall in the surrounding areas. It was a short river requiring some skill and thought to take on. Thankfully we had some adrenaline hungry paddlers ready to get on at a moments notice. We hopped into our gear … Continue reading

ULKC 40th Celebrations!!

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jskCP1J0d90 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pPz_r5WLlM Tickets for our 40th anniversary celebrations taking place on April 9th-10th 2016 are ON SALE NOW! Follow this link to purchase your ticket: http://www.eventbrite.ie/e/ulkc-40-year-anniversary-tickets… Tickets are 50 euro with a 3 euro Eventbrite service charge. Places are limited so if you want to attend make sure to buy your ticket soon! Upon purchase, you will receive an email with detailed information about the weekend including discounted hotel room rates around Limerick City. The ticket price goes towards a champagne reception, a 3 course meal, the band, DJ, professional photography, discounted drinks, a full magazine to commemorate the event, mementos for all attendees and also some speeches from some special guests! All paddling activities are free! Please keep spreading the word. All members old and new are invited. We hope to see you there!