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 the best places to practice beginner skills and has the famous ‘Serpent’s Tail’ rapid for those who wanted to push their paddling to the next level. As the week went on there were repeat trips to the Dee along with trips to the Afon Llugwy and the mighty Tryweryn. Amidst all this kayaking we took a rest day under the surface of the earth to an underground trampoline cavern. A scene to make our own trampoline club jealous.

Sinead Ní Raghaill on The River Dee in Wales Photo credit Eoghan Calnan

Sinead Ní Raghaill on The River Dee in Wales Photo credit Eoghan Calnan

It’s safe to say after a week in Wales nineteen paddlers were truly introduced to a ULKC international trip. After the long journey home, the tired but enthusiastic group cleaned the boats and made their best attempt to merge back into normal society. For many it was their first international kayak club trip but I doubt it will be their last.

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…

  1.    #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 the club I remember seeing how much it meant to both current and past members to win and although I didn’t fully appreciate the effort that had gone in it was clear that this was something to be respected.

Thanks to preparation and training, last February we saw the current club do those who came before them proud again in trying to continue the legacy. With all our work it’s still always a tight race though and the final awards ceremony can be an nerve-wracking experience. When the work paid off and the results were announced it was emotional for some, relieving for others and isn’t a moment those who competed with us will forget soon. For me it made me very proud to see our members commitment pay off and have them rewarded for it.

#7InARow - Photo by Oisín McHugh

#7InARow – Photo by Oisín McHugh

  1.    Island Camping Trip

This one might just be the Scout in me talking but our now annual island camping trip has become a highlight for me. 25 of us left the technology aside,  paddled out, cooked on an open fire, sang songs and slept under the stars. It’s always nice to introduce the less outdoorsy to this kind of trip and I love seeing how easily people bond while there. As long as we’re as blessed with the weather next year it’s not one to be missed.

The View From Our Island

The View From Our Island – Photo Adam McEvoy

  1.    40th Anniversary Weekend

So much to say here. Seeing 40 years worth of the clubs legacy makers return and meet old friends again. Watching over 100 people make their way down Castleconnell, some of whom hadn’t paddled in years. Getting to be a part of such a well planned ball that evening and speaking to the captains who led the club to where it is now and formally thank them all together. Everyone got something from the weekend with multiple people getting back into kayaking because of it and many meeting old friends again. For me though I would describe it as inspirational. Inspirational to see such a big event pulled off so professionally and inspirational to speak to the people who drove the club to being as renowned as it is. Personally awarding the mementos to the captains is a memory that will stick with me for some time.

The Captain's Memento - Photo by Oisín McHugh

The Captain’s Memento – Photo by Oisín McHugh

  1.    Alps – The Middle Guil

Running the Middle Guil was the highlight of the advanced runs in this year’s Alps trip for me. It was the run that brought together everything the group had been learning and provided a good test of peer paddling for everyone. In the group I saw people take on responsibility within the group, take everything slowly and safely as they were always taught to and saw safety setup and rescues dealt with exactly as you would hope for. It made the time working on those skills all worth it and hopefully means good things for the future having these people to pass it all on.

The Middle Guil - Photo by Gavin Sheehan

The Middle Guil – Photo by Eoin Howard

  1.    Teaching, Teaching, Teaching

The fuel that keeps the club going. It’s a satisfying thing to teach someone a skill and have them pass it on to others right away, and in a sport like this where there’s always something to learn the more we’re teaching the bigger and better the heights the club can reach. Luckily this one’s not just boiling down to a single moment, instead it was seen on all the trips, and that’s something to be proud of the club for. It is the quick conversion of students to teachers that got us to where we are now and it’s what decides where your heading years down the line. The Castleconnell trip in the photo below had 25 people on it, all there to learn, be that learn to paddle or learn to teach and it’s trips like these that I love being a part of, where you can really see the difference you make as you teach.

A Sunny Castleconnell Trip – Photo by Eoghan Calnan

So that’s it, sort of. Being captain of this club has given me the opportunity to be involved in everything and it gives me so many reasons to be proud. I haven’t even touched on this year’s huge river clean up, our fundraiser for Limerick Marine Search & Rescue with the help of Get West, the volunteering by our members at the Sean O’Sullivan Memorial Swim and Hell of the West triathlon, people placing in multiple competitions and races around Ireland and internationally, our first club Olympics, our pool parties and of course our internal awards where we named the most improved fresher’s and awarded those whose attitude has stood out to us.

There is constantly something to look forward to, and everywhere you look there is learning, teaching and the transferring of our growing passions for this sport. So to everyone who has been a part of this huge year, Thank You, none of this would be possible without you and it’s because of you that I’m so excited for 2017. If anyone’s looking for a last minute resolution; you will never regret giving back to the club, getting out there and being a part of these experiences as much as possible and adding to them in whatever way you can will give you a lot to be proud of and a lot to be happy about. Happy New Years everyone, get out there and make it a great one.

By Brian O’Mahony

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 by a Leitrim man with an eagerness to kayak beyond our understanding. Soon everyone was fed, geared up, and rearing to go. We got into our kayaks, and after a prolonged struggle to shimmy off the sand everyone was tackling or being tackled by the best waves Lahinch had to offer. A variety of skill was on display for the Lahinch locals but we didn’t mind one bit. Everyone managed to surf a wave by the end of the session and that gave all the instructors a warm fuzzy feeling walking back up the beach at the end of the day.

Saturday night was spent dressing up as every and any kind of criminal and heading to the local nightclub. We had some questionable costumes but ones that stood out for me were Donald Trump and Team Rocket from Pokémon.

Sunday morning, we tackled more Atlantic coast waves after a lovingly cooked breakfast. Everyone was determined to improve on the previous days surfing performance. It was a real pleasure to see so many beginner kayakers improve between the two days and get hooked on the sport of kayaking.

The journey home to limerick was a more relaxed affair with everyone being able to sit back and take in what a great experience the weekend had been. The trip was concluded with a mass clean-up of all the gear and everyone went home for a well-deserved, and probably long awaited, good night’s sleep!

It was an absolutely amazing weekend. I hope you all had as much fun as I had. I can’t wait to see everyone for our next trip.

By Tom O’Brien PRO

Lahinch 2016

Photo Courtesy of Eoghan Calnan

 

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.

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(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.

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(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 Factory and became quickly acquainted with Slovenia’s incredible crystal blue, yet freezing, water and breathtaking scenery. Next was Serp 1 and Serp 2 which boosted our confidence plenty and was a nice little step up. We ran a section of the Soča called Mini Gorge which ended up as my favourite day of paddling and honestly one of the most fun days of my whole life (it was really gorge-ous!!). Having a great day on the river leaves you with an amazing buzz and drive to live life as fully as possible.

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(Photo Courtesy of Eoin Howard)

But with the good times come the bad, and as we traveled to spend our final week France we met a rocky start. The water was faster, pushier and definitely took some adjusting. In this week we were pushed to our limits, and I saw such improvements in all the paddlers who had come on the trip. Us girls stuck together for encouragement and motivation and by the time the Slalom Racecourse came around everyone was back in great form. Racing your friends down a quick, bouncy, 150m stretch of water is seriously fun. I ran that section of river at least six times and competed in every category I could (Duo champs, WOO!).

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(Photo Courtesy of Luize Smith)

We also had a great final day following some of our own paddlers down a grade 4/5 level river hopping out of the Sprinter every five minutes to act as ULKC’s very own paparazzi and cheerleading squad. We were left very proud by what our own boys could do, and followed up their run of Middle Guil with a good aul girls’ day on Sunshine Run which was the perfect round off to an amazing trip (shoutout to Derv for being a class river leader!).

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(Photo Courtesy of Aisling McCarthy)

On the way to catch our ferry home to Ireland, we even got some sightseeing done in Paris and Mont-Saint Michel in Normandy (trust me, you have never seen such a rough-looking, smelly bunch of people in such a pretty, picturesque setting). All in all, this kayaking trip brought me so much more confidence in my paddling skills and brought me even closer to the people I already considered my second family. It was organised incredibly well, there’s no better team for it. Can’t wait for next year, lads. ULKC for life!!

By Aisling McCarthy

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.

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Paddler Conor Bredin ‘cooling his head’ towards the end of the river trip. Photo Courtesy of Eoin Howard.

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 camera! The atmosphere was made all the more vibrant with older members meeting for the first time in years. Everyone settled in at their tables and tucked into a fantastic three course meal. After dinner there was an award ceremony where previous club captains were presented with medals of appreciation for the work they had done for the club. Seeing the drastic age difference between the previous captains was something I will never forget. Each one had put countless hours of work into organizing trips, training and the general progression of the club. After the speeches from Gavin Sheehan and other important actors in the club the real celebration started. Music was supplied by ULKC’s own band BanterStar Galactifunk.

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40 Years in 1 Photo. Captain’s from the past 40 years after cleaning up for the ball. Photo courtesy of Oisín McHugh.

On the Sunday morning weary heads arose to descend on the Curragower rapids located in the shadow of King Johns Castle. The rapids are present 2 hours before and after low tide, with the right water level they form a wave that is known to kayakers as ‘Gower’. Unfortunately the weather was quite poor with strong winds blowing down river making it extremely difficult for us to catch the wave and surf it. As the day progressed the weather improved and a large group of older members turned up. I decided to hop on the water with them just to make sure we didn’t have any surprises with them injuring themselves. While we were unloading our boats one of them spotted a Necky Orbit fish and his reaction was nothing less than that of a child at Christmas. They still knew the wave like it was the back of their hand and taught me a few tricks on how to ferry onto Gower.

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The Captain’s Memento. Engraved with “In honour of your dedication and hard work that made ULKC what it is today, we thank you”, these medals were awarded to the Captains of the past 40 years. Photo courtesy of Oisín McHugh.

A huge thanks to the organisation Committee of Gavin Sheehan, Caoimhe Farrell, Conor Lowe, Brian O’Mahony, Jack Phelan, Daragh Heffernan, Patricia Flynn, Orla Cullen and Stephen O’Dea for their months of work, without which the weekend would never have been the success it was.

7th Consecutive Intervarsities Title for ULKC!!!

#7InARow - Photo by Oisín McHugh

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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 a change in game plan meant UL were ready for war. Quick goals off the break brought the score line to 6-5. Some conservative play and timewasting by DIT meant that the final score was 7-5 to DIT.

 

This loss was not all bad news though as we were still in the 3rd place playoff against NUIG. We decided before the match that we would play a team of only first and second years, which paid off as Conor Lowe shot two screamers past the NUIG goalkeeper. The score at fulltime was 2-1 to UL putting us third place in polo.12716213_228584330811301_5471886035095539862_o

 

The second event to take place on Friday was the flatwater slalom race, a short timed race course with a number of gates which must be correctly navigated. The super-quick UL slalom squad placed 3rd in this event. 12496188_227316300938104_3760754295419399035_o

 

On Saturday morning groggy heads were woken to compete in the white-water event. The race is a timed sprint down a number of intense rapids. ULKCs representatives in this event were: Mark Scanlon, Caoimhe Farrell, Gavin Sheehan and Jack Phelan. Collectively they placed 1st in this event after a blistering run. In the afternoon the freestyle event took place in Tuam, the conditions on the water were less than desirable. A piercingly cold wind and a lack of sunlight meant the competition was set to be a cold one.

 

Freestyle kayaking is essentially trying to do a many tricks on river wave in a set time period, the harder a move is the more points it scores. UL had a solid crew consisting of Andrew Regan, Conor Lowe, Caoimhe Farrell and Eoin Keyes. The atmosphere along the river bank watching the competition was fantastic, UL were by far the loudest with their chanting and cheering whenever one of their paddlers completed a difficult move. UL came second in this event to NUIG, their experienced paddlers and knowledge of the feature made sure they were miles ahead of the competition. The Final event of the competition was the long-distance race, UL paddlers earned plenty of medals in their individual classes earning first place overall in long distance.12440675_228488024154265_8575124033388057289_o

A huge thank you to all ULKC paddlers who competed at varsities, also a special mention to Simon McCormack for training the Polo team and Oisin Farrell for training the slalom team. We hope to see you in 2017 at the University of Ulster. #8inarow

By Sam O’Connor

ULKC Donegal Trip 2016

Here’s a summary of this years January trip to Donegal written by one of our member’s, Joe Doyle.

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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 and got straight into our kayaks to take on the elements of the Duff. With twists and turns at every corner followed by three drops we soon found ourselves staring at the horizon line of a 13ft waterfall at the end of the river. Hearts beating out of our chests we paddled on straight towards it one by one (once the safety had been set up). Personally, coming up to the very edge I didn’t have time to think as soon as I  could see the bottom I was already in the air charging on down towards the water. One brief moment of weightlessness and it was all over with screams of joy and encouragement coming from members of the club.  It was an experience of a lifetime and not to be missed on future trips.

The next day we decided we would give our new freshers a nice old river to hone their skills and develop as proper kayakers. Guided by one of the locals we set off for the ‘Fin’, a river located in Leitrim with an easy get on and a gentle start which was all too needed for a club of kayakers who got up at 8am for it. We spent the day paddling and going over the basics. A necessity for any kayaker if we wish to improve and climb the ranks.

The next day we did the upper section of the river known by its really obvious name ‘The Upper Fin’. This river required some good skills and knowledge of how water flows which we had meticulously drilled into our freshers the day before so we were read to take on the challenge and were sailing on through with ease. This really brought up the comradery and spirit amongst the club to really see everyone improving. Of course this was followed by sandwiches and our daily trip to Aldi to ensure no paddler ever goes hungry! As someone who eats a lot I am forever grateful.

Finally! Our rest day had arrived. To celebrate a day where we could finally relax we all hopped on a bus to see the Giant’s Causeway in the Northern Ireland and walk across a famous rope bridge near-by. Seeing the Giant’s Causeway really stuck with me as I just couldn’t get over how perfectly hexagonally shaped everything was without human interference.  Truly a sight to behold and I would recommend it to anyone. Following this we made food and went to the only Decathlon in Ireland where we basically handed over our bank accounts in exchange for gear!

We spent the rest of the trip paddling the ‘Duff’ at higher waters until we finally had to say goodbye to Donegal and prepare ourselves for the start of another amazing kayak filled semester!

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!

ULKC 40th Anniversary

This is the 40th year of the kayak club in UL and to Commemorate we will be having a weekend of celebrations next semester.Our 40th Anniversary celebrations are taking place on the weekend of April 9th-10th 2016. We would love for as many former members, young and old, to attend no matter where you are in the world.

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It’ll be a rare opportunity to catch up and relive arguably some of the best fun we’ve all had thanks to this club and the opportunities it has given us in life. Loads more information on the event available here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1024827197550516/

And please SPREAD THE WORD! This is a massive milestone for any club and we want to have an event to match the achievement.

Take a look at the video below. Hopefully it resurrects some good memories.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jskCP1J0d90

Wicklow Trip 2015

Here’s a write up by one of our members Josh Morris about this years club trip to Wicklow.

Wicklow Trip 2015

 

            It was a cold, dark evening but spirits were high when we arrived onto the boathouse at 6 o’clock for our weekend long trip to Wicklow! Everything started off well, we were all fairly quick to start packing our gear and making sure we had everything ready for the trip. However it wasn’t long before someone decided to start playing some tunes through the speakers. That’s kind of where it went downhill. All work was ceased and everyone decided to have a bit of a dance off instead. Sure it delayed our set off time but it was well worth the craic! We finished packing the sprinter and all the other cars heading up. There wasn’t a space left unused. We just about managed to load ourselves into the cars and off we went. Everyone was fairly excited as this was the first kayaking trip to Wicklow for most going and the first time on a river for a few!

 

The journey was going well, time was flying by! That is until we reached the Wicklow gap, the fog was so dense that we had to reduce our speed to a literal snail’s pace. We shuffled our way ahead and eventually reached the hostel at about 10. A quick game of Room Roulette later and we all had our rooms for the weekend. We claimed our own bit of space to sleep for the weekend, not that there was much of that. After having a bit of craic in the hostel and playing a few “get to know each other” games we decided to head on down to the local bar for a few quite ones. There was a great buzz around the place but we ended up pretty much taking over due to our sheer number of people. We stayed for there for a while and eventually most decided to head off back to bed. Needless to say there were shenanigans taking place on the short walk back up the road and some Dora’s got lost in the woods on some magical adventure to find an old round monastery tower. We found out, it wasn’t that spectacular especially in the dark. Don’t be fooled!

 

We were woken at the ungodly time of 7 AM, the next morning, which was a major shock to the system considering I had only ever heard of such a time existing in legends of old. The hostel became the new setting for one of the scenes from “The Walking Dead”. We got ourselves a bit of breakfast, shuffled on out to the cars and took our short 20 minute drive to the get on of the river. We had decided to run the Annamoe river section. We began to get changed and were on the river in no time! We weren’t… it was 11:30, why did we even get up at 7? We did the usual stuff of playing some warm up games, which were great fun, and sorting our groups for on the river but most importantly we distributed those all-important (and delicious) river snacks. We had a great run of the river, doing notable features such as the Guinness Rapids. Boulder Garden and the lead up to Jacksons. The level of standards on the river was outstanding. Everyone did extremely well including all our beginners. After the lead up to Jacksons we all got out of our boats to see what lay before use, the wonderful Jackson Falls. Solid Grade 4 water so I hear. I had seen some videos of this but none compared to how it looked from the top of the 30 foot cliff face. Only the more advanced paddlers were being allowed to run this particular rapid due to its technicality and difficulty. All our beginners got out to watch the carnage, all except one. One fresher, known only as Donegal Mark, was so determined to run it we had to let him try. I think it would be an understatement to say that he performed outstandingly!

 

As it were Halloween night some of us decided it would be a waste to get out of our gear straight after the river so we decided to go trick or treating instead! We were rewarded bountifully! It was certainly worth the effort and all the people questioning us on being twelve year olds. We got out of our gear, packed up and headed straight back to the hostel. Everyone was shattered, people were dropping all over the place for a nap here and there all the while a few were busy down stairs preparing that evenings dinner. We awoke refreshed (somewhat) got our dinner and headed straight on down to the bar once more with a special agenda in mind; celebrations for not one but TWO birthdays. Needless to say the craic was has. Celebratory singing and chanting plenty abound. Not to mention the odd twenty or so kisses. A great night was had by all.

 

The next morning there was a little bit of a logistical issue what with someone’s alarm “accidentally” not going off. So we all got a decent lie in. Woop! It wasn’t all fun and games unfortunately. We were kind of in a rush to pack up clean and leave due to our little alarm mishap. It was all go go go from getting up. A quick breakfast, a small tidy and we were once again ready to hit the road for our last river of the trip. We headed up further than the day before to the Loughdan get on. We were running the river section above the section we did previous. All things considered it was another good day on the river despite everyone being exhausted from the weekend. There was that one incident with some horses but we won’t dwell on that! We finished the river for about 4 that afternoon, began packing up all our gear and we were ready to hit the road soon after.

 

We began our long journey home through the dense Wicklow fog and winding back roads. Making progress was difficult enough but it was managed well enough. We all decided that we’d meet up at Junction 14 for some food, after all you could physically see everyone falling away after such a long day on the river. We pulled in, parked up and pretty much took over the shop due to our substantial numbers. The line for Supermacs was practically to the door! I can tell you one thing for sure, the number of 7 and a half ounce burgers that were consumed on that day was roughly equal to the meat from three cows! After visiting Spar and buying more snacks for the remainder of the trip we set off once more! The drive went by quick and we ended up back in Limerick in good time. Back at the boathouse we once again set about putting back all our gear from the weekend, which is a lot. This process was once more helped along by some great music provided by our resident DJs. That was it. Another year and another successful club trip! Just a quick thanks for all who came along to make it what it was! Hope you all enjoyed the weekend! For those who missed out, there’s always next time!

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