New GWC Photo Competition deadline 1st September 2020 . Click here for details: https://galwaywalkingclub.ie/photocompetition/
Geology Interactive Field Day for GWC members, Sat 29th August with Ben Thébaudeau, Education Officer for the Geopark Project in Joyce Country & Western Lakes. Meeting at 10.30 am in Petersburg OEC, duration: 4-5 hours, 7 places left.
Please email email@example.com to reserve your place.
Irish Peaks Walking Guide: The Mountaineering Ireland hardback guide to Ireland’s Highest Hundred Mountains is now available: new routes, complete with inspiring photos, colour maps and over 70 different route descriptions contributed by Mountaineering Ireland members. RRP price for all Mountaineering Ireland members is €22.10 with €9.00 post and delivery with DPD. It is possible to order a box of 8 books with a delivery price of €9.00 for the box. You can order your book here. https://www.mountaineering.ie/shop/
Burrenbeo Trust www.burrenbeo.com ‘Bringing back the Irish Curlew‘, with Barry O’Donoghue at 8pm on Wed, 12th Aug. Register in advance at https://bit.ly/AugustTeaTalk. This talk is free to attend but please consider donating or supporting as a member. https://burrenbeo.com/support-us.
National Heritage Week 15th -23rd August 2020 https://www.heritageweek.ie/ National Heritage Week celebrates all things heritage. It brings together communities, families, organisations, cultural institutions, academics and enthusiasts, to build awareness about the value of heritage and support its conservation.
Galway City Museum – https://www.galwaycitymuseum.ie/exhibitions/?locale=en Two great exhibitions on at the moment, book your date and time on Eventbrite. ‘Monument’ features prehistoric and medieval structures on the Aran Islands, and artists’ interpretations. ‘The Corrib, Myth, Legend and Folklore’ looks at legends and folklore associated with the Corrib River and Lough Corrib.
Galway International Arts Festival – the Autumn Edition https://www.giaf.ie/ A great line-up of in-person and online events from September to October.
Our Wild Calling, by Richard Louv. California-based journalist, author, children and nature educator: Connecting with animals can transform our lives and save theirs. Richard Louv also covers a range of emerging disciplines and themes: anthrozoology, ecopsychology, ecotherapy, ecophilia, biophilic design, soundscape ecology, technological nature, biopoetics, critical anthropomorphism, species loneliness.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer. As a mother, botanist, scientist, member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she links all these roles in her exploration of nature, spirituality and legacy. ‘Take only what you need and use everything you take.’
GWC Photo Competition. Details under the GWC Environment & Access tab. Now we’re back walking, don’t forget to send your best pics to GWCphotocomp@gmail.com
Mountaineering Ireland Covid-19 Advice for Hillwalkers & Climbers Summary Sheet. A quick reference guide updated 29/06/2020 https://www.mountaineering.ie/_files/2020629152622_1c309d3f.pdf
Irish Peaks Walking Guide: The Mountaineering Ireland hardback guide to Ireland’s Highest Hundred Mountains and new routes, Irish Peaks, is a celebration of Ireland’s mountains, complete with inspiring photos, colour maps and over 70 different route descriptions contributed by Mountaineering Ireland members.
The recommended retail price (RRP) is €25.99, however, there is a 15% discount off the RRP price for all Mountaineering Ireland members. which means you pay €22.10. Methods of bulk delivery to Clubs under discussion. You can order your book here. https://www.mountaineering.ie/shop/
Mountaineering Ireland AGM, 24th June 2020. 70 people attended the Zoom AGM, voting in favour of the Adoption of Standing Orders, Minutes of the 2019 AGM, Election to full Membership of 6 Clubs, the Company Secretary’s Report, the Financial Statements of 2019, the Appointment of the Auditor for 2020, two Statements regarding Safeguarding and Anti-Doping, and the nomination of Mr Noel Caffrey to the Board of MI. A Club Support Zoom meeting will be held on Thursday 2nd July with nominated delegates from Walking Clubs.
Burrenbeo Learning Landscape online Symposium Wednesday 8th July- Saturday 11th July. https://burrenbeo.com/learning-landscape-symposium-2020/ Topics include place-based learning, ancestral and traditional skills in nature, environmental and sustainability education, local food and its origins, school gardening, and authors and specialists.
Galway City Museum reopening Tuesday 21st July with two Exhibitions: ‘MONUMENT’ and ‘The Corrib, Myth, Legend and Folklore’. For further information, click here https://www.galwaycitymuseum.ie/
High Nature Value http://www.hnvlink.eu/ High Nature Value farmland defines areas in Europe where agricultural activities support and are associated with exceptionally high biodiversity. These areas are an important component of European agriculture, not only for their natural values, but also for cultural heritage, quality products and rural employment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQuNhNVoFCI
Gerard Walshe, Moycullen, Co. Galway, Farming for Nature Ambassador 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pp5MEfyWd_g
And HNV farmland in the Burren https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTYC3EUeU2w
The Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty. Dara McAnulty, now aged 16, has chronicled ‘the turning of my world from spring to winter, at home, in the wild, in my head’, describing birds, trees, environmental space, with moving, thoughtful, at times humorous, observations about family life and about growing-up. ‘Heart work. Taking the time to observe nature, to immerse oneself in its patterns, structures, happenings and rhythms.’
Weeds, In defense of nature’s most unloved plants, by Richard Mabey – Weeds, their history, medicinal and healing powers, silent tenacity, inspiring soft technology such as Velcro, their place in literature and art. Mabey likens weeds to ‘a kind of immune system, organisms which move in to repair damaged tissue, fill empty spaces’. We judge a weed by our standards, not by those of the organic world they inhabit.
https://www.mountaineering.ie/aboutus/news/2020/?id=276 Mountaineering Ireland AGM 24th June at 7.00 pm. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the AGM will be held online via Zoom and club nominated Walking Club Delegates will be required to register in advance.
https://www.mountaineering.ie/aboutus/news/2020/?id=277 Before you go out, please read Mountaineering Ireland’s advice to hillwalkers.
Galway Beo – Highlights from Week Six – Connecting people, heritage and the natural world. YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeXRQkIKwRc
A collection of photographs taken by the community of County Galway during the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The Burren/An Bhoirinn – Wednesday 3rd June at 9.30 pm on TG4, the 4th and final episode about the Burren, the people, the way of life.
Burren in Bloom 2020 Online, 3rd-6th June: a virtual celebration of the wonderful wildlife of the Burren as it emerges into its full seasonal glory of orchids and gentians, bumblebees and butterflies. Events include online talks, discussions, videos, quiz and workshops and will take place between 7pm and 9pm from Wed 3rd June to Sat 6th June. All events are free with registration online at https://www.burreninbloom.com/ If you would like to support the Burrenbeo Trust, you can become a member or donate at www.burrenbeo.com
Tim Robinson- Connemara, TG4 10th June at 9.30 pm – writer, cartographer, mathematician, artist, Tim Robinson (1935-2020) extensively mapped and studied Connemara for over thirty years. An exploration of landscape, history and mythology – this film acts as an intersection between writing, film-making and the natural world, in memory of Tim and his wife Máiréad who recently passed away. Author of award-winning ‘Stones of Aran’ and the Connemara trilogy among many other publications.
Coillte Nature https://www.coillte.ie/coillte-establishes-new-not-for-profit-coillte-nature/ Coillte has established a new not for profit entity, Coillte Nature, which will focus on the environment and recreational forests, will target the delivery of new woodlands facilitating species diversity, biodiversity and carbon sequestration as part of the Government’s National Forestry Programme. Certain commercial Coillte forests will be converted to recreational forests, notably in the Dublin Mountains. Would you like to see this initiative extended nationwide? Please email your comments to Coillte to firstname.lastname@example.org FAO Anne Brindley.
BirdWatchIreland– Identifying our garden birds and what we can do to make our gardens more friendly to birds and biodiversity
And a highly recommended app for birds, pictures, info and 3 songs per bird. Collins Bird Guide, by NatureGuides Ltd, (RRP 14.99)
Know your Birdsong! https://greennews.ie/know-your-birdsong-click-through-our-quick-guide-to-the-calls-of-common-irish-birds/ A quick guide to the calls of common Irish birds.
https://dawn-chorus.org/en/ The Citizen Science and Arts Platform #DawnChorus is a project by BIOTOPIA (Bavaria’s museum of life sciences and environment) and the Nantesbuch Foundation.The Corona pandemic has caused a severe global crisis. The dramatic silencing of human activities that it has caused is also making the voices of nature resound on an unprecedented scale. In this unique situation in the spring of 2020, the idea was born to make the birds’ voices heard. Your local recordings for the DAWN CHORUS will be mapped worldwide. They will be included in a scientific database for biodiversity research. From now on, the Dawn Chorus project will take place every year and thus provide important comparative data.
National Gallery of Art – Drawn from Nature: Irish Botanical Art. https://www.nationalgallery.ie/art-and-artists/exhibitions/drawn-from-nature-online This exhibition has been extended to the 31st August. The artworks cover three centuries and depict a wide variety of plants – common and rare, native to Ireland and exotic, growing wild and carefully cultivated.
How to Save Your Planet One Object at a Time, by Dr Tara Shine. https://www.tarashine.com/ Tara Shine, policy adviser on climate change and climate justice, explorer, public speaker, TV presenter, entrepreneur, has published a helpful guide on how each one of us can make a difference, one action at a time.
Underland, by Robert McFarlane. ‘the story of journeys into darkness, and of descents made in search of knowledge’. An extensive exploration of all things underground, hypogeal: from burial places of our ancestors; myths and legends; caving; dark matter; potash mining; the woodwide web, the tree as a super-organism; the limestone quarries/ossuaries of Paris; WWII resistance refuges; rivers in Italy; the karst landscape and brutal war history of Slovenia; the petroglyphs of Norway and cave paintings in Lascaux, Ardèche and Lofoten; the glaciers in Greenland; the burial places of nuclear waste.
Galway Walking Club Geology Field Trip – We regret that we will have to postpone our field trip with Benjamin Thébaudeau, GeoPark geologist, until the autumn.
Wild Wednesday Webinars https://burrenbeo.com/events/wild-wednesday-webinars-2/
Upcoming Wednesday topics in May: Managing healthy habitats for livestock, Geology in the Burren, Making nature a priority in the farm business, The Burren in the Bronze Age.
National Botanic Gardens What’s happening in the garden and around us…… http://botanicgardens.ie/
National Gallery of Ireland: Discover the mysterious and surprising qualities of plants that emerge from crumbling buildings, walls, cracks in pavements, on the edges of gardens and roads. What is a weed? A weed is, in its most simple definition, a plant out of place!
Galway County Heritage Office, Headford Environment Group. Walking Wildlife workshops ‘Nature on our Doorstep’ a film of six workshops held in 2019 on Sandybanks Lane, Headford, showing aspects of wildlife and flora. Filmed and edited by Marina Levitina.
All Ireland Pollinator Plan http://pollinators.ie One third of Ireland’s bee species are threatened with extinction due to a drastically reduced amount of food (flowers) and safe nesting sites in our landscapes. The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan is about all of us, from farmers to local authorities, to schools, gardeners and businesses, coming together to try to create an Ireland where pollinators can survive and thrive.
Do a Flower-Insect Count (FIT) https://pollinators.ie/record-pollinators/fit-count/. Watch a 50x50com patch of flowers for 10 minutes and record how many insects visit, April-September.
- Wait for a good day, dry, warm.
- Find a location with target flowers e.g. buttercups, dandelions, hawthorn, bramble, lavender, heather, knapweed, ragwort, red and white clover, buddleja, thistle, ivy…
- Take a photo.
- Print out the recording form with information about the weather and your patch. recording form
A Natural Year, by Michael Fewer. http://www.michaelfewer.com/ Galway Walking Club and other West of Ireland Clubs had the pleasure of a visit and talk from Michael Fewer in the days before Covid-19 changed our lives. Michael Fewer is the author of many walking guides, human and natural history books, children’s Naturama. ‘A Natural Year’ is a delightful read (and particularly while cocooning), providing us with a glimpse of ‘the hidden natural world to be discovered in our immediate surroundings’, in this case in Co. Dublin, the Dublin Mountains, and in Co Waterford. Illustrated and with photos by the author, A Natural Year is available from https://irishacademicpress.ie/product/a-natural-year/.
Galway Walking Club Members’ Photo Quiz 1
Photo Quiz April 2020 Answer sheet
1.Oughterard loop 2.Doughruagh 3.Errisbeg Roundstone
4.Derryclare 5.Glann Road 6.Inishbofin
7.Turlough Hill 8.Quiet Man Bridge 9.Abbey Hill
10.Bencollaghduff-Binn Dubh 11.Benwee Head Co Mayo
With thanks to Gary, Peter, Mary and Pat.
Wish you were Where? Name the place you see in each photo. There are 12 photos.
Number your answers in the correct order, 1-12. Add in your name and mobile number, please.
Email your answers to
Closing date: Tuesday 14th April 2020.
The prize is an Easter egg which will be delivered sometime after Easter!
Many thanks to Gary Johnston, Peter Leonard, Mary McCann, Pat Moran.
Mountaineering Ireland – Covid-19 Update
MI request to us is to:
- Stay at home
- Stay off the hills and mountains
- Avoid travelling for exercise
By doing this, we will all play our part in fighting against this national and global emergency and hopefully support the work of the health services.
Galway Walking Club and Mountain Meitheal West stiles at Ben Lettery
Protecting access in Connemara and working with the local landowners, the local farmer and An Óige, on 5th October 2019, Galway Walking Club/Mountain Meitheal West members, Brian Coyne, John Smyth, Seán O’Donovan, Peter Leonard and John Casserly, constructed a brand-new stile at the An Oige Hostel at Ben Lettery (GR L77674830).
The upper stile at Ben Lettery has long been identified as being hazardous to walkers, with a 10 metre drop below the bottom step. On a very wet day in March 2020, Galway Walking Club/ Mountain Meitheal West members, Brian Coyne, Seán O’Donovan, Peter Leonard, Michael Jennings and Anne Brindley moved the stile approximately 30 metres to the west, along the same fence. The stile was carried using the stretcher-bearer method! New wooden stabilising bars, non-slip tread on each step and a hand pole were fitted to make the stile safer and walker-friendly. (GR L77664851). Bail ó Dhia ar an obair!
The Unofficial Countryside, by Richard Mabey. This reading of the urban edge is as fresh today as when published in 1973, observing the habitats that have grown in the liminal lands created by our human needs, on the perimeters of industrial and housing estates, quarries, golf courses, sewage farms, urban parks. Nature swiftly reasserts herself; plants, birds and insects thrive in these wastelands.
To Speak for the Trees, by Diana Beresford. An interesting combination of Celtic wisdom, scientific knowledge and life experiences. Diana Beresford also provides an annotation of the Ogham script, with letters named for trees and plants.
The Salt Path, by Raynor Winn. A tale of courage, of enduring love, a social commentary. Raynor and Moth Winn, undertake a 630-mile walk on the South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, after losing their home and business.
Mountaineering Ireland Lecture Series
8.00 pm, Thursday 5th March at the Maldron Hotel, Headford Road, Galway.
‘Fifty years Hillwalking in Ireland, France, Spain and Italy’ with Michael Fewer (www.michaelfewer.com), author of 13 books, including guides to Ireland’s way-marked trails, and of over 300 magazine articles. Tickets can be purchased through the link on the MI website and Eventbrite https://www.mountaineering.ie/events/2013/default.aspx?iid=2315 €5 for MI members, €10 non-members. Have your MI membership number ready for the ticket purchase and bring it to the talk.
Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail Festival – 13th, 14th and 15th March. For further details https://croi.ie/tc-events/heritage-trail/
Thursday 5th March: Archives, a valuable cultural resource. Speaker: Patricia McWalter
Thursday 12th March: Shaped by shock: How abrupt climate change helped mould Galway’s landscapes. Speaker: Dr Gordon Bromley
Thursday 19th March: Speculative imaginaries: Rethinking our relationship in the natural world. Speaker: Dr Nessa Cronin.
Thursday 26th March: Some student days from UCG, 1920 Speaker: Patrick Larkin.
Mountaineering Ireland Spring Gathering 2020 – 27th-29th March 2020
Location: The Avon, The Burgage, Burgage Mor, Blessington, Co. Wicklow https://www.theavon.ie/
Hosted by the Wayfarers Hiking Club, 9 walks and Scrambling training on offer with the MI AGM taking place at 18.00 on Saturday 28th March. Click here for registration and further details
New MI Irish Peaks Guide book, to be launched at the Spring Gathering in March. Berna and Tom Reddington and Tom Rea have kindly given their time and expertise to proofread the 6 Connemara walks for MI.
Burrenbeo Learning Landscape Symposium 2020 – 20th-22nd March, Kinvara, Co. Galway
The event will bring together leading national and international specialists on the theme of how best to use our local places as a learning resource through different principles and practice in place-based learning. Featuring keynote speakers, workshops and fieldtrips, the symposium will investigate ways to use local resources to make learning a richer, more exciting and rewarding educational experience, as well as an opportunity to network with individuals that work in same sector. All situated in Kinvara and the Burren, the ultimate ‘outdoor classroom’. Just €80 to attend/ €65 if a member of Burrenbeo Trust. https://burrenbeo.com/our-work/learning/training-events/learning-landscape-symposium/
West of Ireland Hillwalking Clubs Forum. Following on from the MI Regional meeting last November, we would like to set up a communications network between Walking/Hillwalking Clubs in the West of Ireland with a view to sharing information, providing support and promoting events. With this in mind, we propose holding a meeting on: Date: Wednesday 8th April Time: 8.00 pm Venue: Menlo Park Hotel, Headford Road, Galway
All Walking Clubs members welcome!
Women with Altitude Weekend – 15-17 May 2020. The Falls Hotel Ennistymon Co Clare.
Booking on Eventbrite. https://www.mountaineering.ie/events/2013/default.aspx?iid=2316
Mountain Skills, Navigation, Scrambling, Walking, Environment, Rock Climbing, Sea Cliff Climbing, Caving, Hill running, Lowland leading – all on offer over the weekend!
Geology Interactive Day for GWC members, Sat 23rd May with Ben Thébaudeau, Education Officer for the Geopark Project in Joyce Country & Western Lakes. Based in Petersburg and open to all GWC members. Please email email@example.com to reserve your place.
Natural & Human Heritages Spring Lunchtime Series (School of Geography, Archaeology & Irish Studies, NUI Galway) TOWN HALL THEATRE, Thursdays 1.10 pm – 1.50 pm
Thursday 6th February: The Dillon Family of Ahascragh, Co. Galway, Irish identities and the Clonbrock Photographic Collection, 1860s-1930s. Speaker: Una Kavanagh.
Thursday 13th February: Back to the Future: Renaissance Galway in the mid-seventeenth century. Speaker: Paul Walsh
Thursday 20th February: Landscape and environmental history of Galway: prehistoric woodlands in the medieval city. Speaker: Dr Karen Molloy.
Thursday 27th February: Genealogies of Irish dance in Galway, 1922 – 1992, Speaker: Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartáin.
Websites of interest
INFOMAR https://www.infomar.ie/ Ireland’s marine territory is 10 times greater than the land. INFOMAR is a joint programme between the Geological Survey Ireland and the Marine Institute, surveying our unmapped marine territory and creating a range of integrated mapping products of the physical, chemical and biological features of the seabed.
CHERISH https://www.gsi.ie/en-ie/programmes-and-projects/marine-and-coastal-unit/projects/Pages/CHERISH.aspx Climate, Heritage, and Environments of Reefs, Islands and Headlands is an EU ETC (Wales) programme, employing cutting-edge technology to analyse coastal and island archaeology and heritage sites most affected by climate change, coastal erosion, storminess and rising sea levels.
Galway Walking Club 2020 Photo Competition – Take the best photo, and win a PRIZE!
1st prize – €100 2nd prize €60 3rd prize €40
The Competition rules are:
o Photos must be taken on an official GWC walk in Ireland.
o Your name, the location and the date of your photo.
o Submit in jpg format.
o ONE photo per person.
o Photos to be taken between 16th January and 1st October 2020 (last submission date).
o Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org
Terms & Conditions
1. Only Galway Walking Club members are eligible.
2. Entrants to the competition warrant that the photograph they submit has been taken by the entrant on a GWC walk, that it is their own and that as owner they are fully entitled to use it for the purpose of the GWC Competition.
3. Where the photo submitted to the Competition contains any person or persons the Entrant warrants that those persons have given their permission for the photograph to be used in the Competition and on the GWC website and social media.
4. The decision of the panel to judge the photographs shall be final.
5. Entrants who provide false or misleading information will automatically be disqualified.
Natural & Human Heritages Spring Lunchtime Series (School of Geography, Archaeology & Irish Studies, NUI Galway) TOWN HALL THEATRE, Thursdays 1.10 pm – 1.50 pm.
Thursday 23rd January: G is for Gold, G is for Galway – the story of ancient goldwork in Galway. Speaker: Prof Mary Cahill
Thursday 30th January: Bog-deal, in Irish giúis: What is it? What does it tell us about past environments? Speaker: Prof. Michael O’Connell
https://irishuplandsforum.org/publications/ A Profile of Irish Uplands, An All-Island Study Highlighting their Strategic Importance’, by Dr Brendan O’Keeffe, Dr Caroline Crowley. An overview of the status of Ireland’s uplands across a broad range of indicators, natural science criteria, elevation, natural vegetation, land character, location, demographics, socio-economics. Our uplands are a significant national asset, investment in sustaining them is on our collective interest.
Dark Skies by Tiffany Francis. In search of night skies, Tiffany Francis explores the natural world, and particularly the idiosyncrasies of birds and birdsong: ‘ Ripe, silky notes floated through the air and out into the ether, the first symphony of the morning bursting from the dark feathered chest of a male blackbird.’