At the Water’s Edge: Two Boats – Around Ireland by Kayak
At the Water’s Edge
is based on a log that Timmy Flavin kept during a 942-mile paddle around the coast of Ireland with Donal Dowd, a kayaker and mountaineer. They left Courtown harbour in Co Wexford on May 11, 1991 and returned just four weeks later, paddling an average of 50 kilometres (31 miles) a day.
Timmy Flavin died of cancer four years ago and his wife Bríd Farrell has published an illustrated book based on his log. It includes tributes from Dowd, other paddlers, and friends. Cathal Cudden and Bernard Forde, well known in the mountaineering community, were involved in the design and publishing of the book.
To Order a copy:
At the Water’s Edge: Two Boats sells at €15 a copy.
The book is also available in Polymath Bookshop in Tralee (+353667125035) and Woulfe’s Bookshop in Listowel (+35366821021).
Forecast was for settled weather. There was a little rain at the beginning but it remained clear for the rest of the walk. Conditions underfoot were good, especially on the bog between Barnacurrane and the Devil’s Punchbowl.
A panorama taken from a spot height on the ridge south of Barnacurrane.
We assembled in the carpark above Torc Waterfall, reached by a side road to the left about 300m metres from the main entrance to Muckross House on the N71. We left the carpark and headed south, climbing through the forest on deer and mountain bike trails – watch out for bikers hurtling through the forest – until we reached the end of the forestry track.
We climbed the final section of forestry to reach Barnacurrane, a gap in a rocky outcrop that marks the boundary between the lowland and the mountain. The trail is well worn and there is a steep section just below Barnacurrane. There used to be a stepped path here but that has mostly disappeared and good footwear is essential.
Nuala Finn and Bertie Hickey heading towards Barnacurrane.
At Barnacurrane one of the group pulled out and Ciarán returned to the carpark with the member before making the return trip to Barnacurrane. His route on the day is marked in blue on the map above.
The red route shows the line taken by the rest of the group. It climbs across the bog, following the line of a wall and the dry ground alongside the stream to reach the track leading to the Devil’s Punchbowl. From, it follows the track/trail to the summit (843). From there it crosses the plateau to the aréte descending northwards to the ridge formed by the Devil’s Punch Bowl and the back wall of Glangappul.
Careful navigation is needed here in poor visibility. Sean O’Suilleabháin warned mountaineers, in his classic guidebook on climbs in the southwest, that Mangerton means the “deceiving one.”
The route continues up to the unnamed summit known as Mangerton “North,” heads East on the southern ridge of Glangappul before descending to the trail that leads into the valley. It follows this trail until it turns northwest from the lake shore, crosses the Owgarrif River –caution – and continues across bog close to the foot of the mountainside until it reaches the track for the Devil’s Punch Bowl.
It follows the Finoulagh River downstream for about 300m and heads west into Tooreencormick, the site of a battle between McCarthy of the Glens (Old Kenmare Rd) and the Normans in 1262, during which Cormac Mac Carthy died. The place name marks his burial on the site of the battle. Keith Woodard, a photographer based in Killarney, gives a really good account of events leading up to the battle.
From Tooreencormick the route continues west, into the forest and back the caprpark.
I was going through Tom Finn’s (1927-2007) slide collection today and came across this photo, probably taken back west. We are not sure who the men are, let alone the nuns they seem to have rounded up. We think the men are Tom’s climbing buddies Brian Daly, Denis Switzer, and Bill Edwards. If anyone can confirm this, we would be delighted.
Tom was a founding member of the club, a pioneering mountaineer, and a keen photographer. He usually had his camera with him when he went mountaineering and illustrated details of all climbs were entered into a club logbook or a personal journal. These provide a fascinating insight into the development of mountaineering as a sport in Kerry, as well as the history of Tralee Mountaineering Club.
If you have any ideas about what was going on in this photo, or a suitable caption, get in touch!
“You know the nun in the square wimple is wearing a habit like Auntie Pat’s but I don’t think it’s her. In the early days she had to stay in a convent – she used to stay at Pres but I don’t recognise any of the nuns. I think it’s definitely Denis, Bill and Brian.”
“I like the symbolism of the nuns on the mountains on today February 1st the feast day ‘Saint Bridget’ which traditionally marks the beginning of spring representing rebirth and renewal, hope, youth and growth.”
Picking up on Mags’ point about Lá ‘Le Bríde or Bridget’s Day, just in case people think that it was a man only club “back in the day,” women were just as involved in the development of TMC from the beginning, as this early photo of a climb on Brandon shows: