Belturbet

Community Development Association

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Belturbet Walks and Heritage Group

Belturbet Walks and Heritage Group

13 years walking

Belturbet Walking GroupBelturbet Walks and Heritage Group has a sort of soul or spirit of its own. Conceived and born as it was on the hollowed sloped of Slieve Na Callaigh as a Belturbet group returned by bus from a visit to Loughcrew. That was on Sunday 8th August 1999. Oliver Plunkett has beckoned us towards the pre-Christian site hallowed by our ancestors five thousand years ago. On the return journey I asked the pilgrims would they like to climb another mountain but it was really on 22nd August 1999, that the group put on their first walking shoes. With staff in hand and following an old bog track we conquered Sheeaun (the hill of the fairies) overlooking Lough Melvin and the North West of Ireland, One of the lasting memories from that maiden outing was the crawl on all fours to the summit. Captured on camera, like so many other highlights of the past thirteen years. This was a whole new world to people who lived in the Erne basin, with its own distinct culture and heritage.

 

Culture and HeritageBelturbet Walking Group at Pa Joes

Culture and heritage that is one of three priorities of the group. The story of the place brings us into contact with the people who lived there down the centuries. Their way of life, how they adapted to their surroundings, coped with challenges and developed skills are all imprinted on the landscape in features such as lime kills, seed beds, the finger stones on Shatemon the projecting Dolmens in the Burrens of West Cavan and Clare, The smugglers walks or cattle trails across Swanlinbar or Cooley Mountains, a trade route through the Glenties in Donegal, Grace O Malleys’s exploits and shipwreck disasters along the West Coast including the Spanish Armada captive held in the blacksmiths forge to powers the forge bellows in Leitrim, all have their story to tell.

Loughcrew 1999 Belturbet Walking GroupThe more recent corrib Gas story in Belmullet, the story of Hannah the Goat commemorating the foot and mouth sheep slaughter in Cushendun in 2001. The light house at Inisowen, the crossing the sea dry foot to the burial ground on Omay Island off Clifden, and stories nearer home on walks through Derravona, Quivvy, Refian, Drumlane, Rann Point, Kill na Shan Ratha, Kilmore, Killykeen, Derrykerrib, Castlesaunderson, Crom, Galloon Island, Devenish and on our doorstep Turbet Island 1130, Town Charter 1613, Military Barracks c1753, Dual Guage Railway Station 1885 and Irish Shoe Company Ltd 1936. Here we find ourselves meeting the people we talk about as we creep into the house of ruins. It is like the story on the Kavanagh trail when his writings become alive as you look over at the Hanging Hill. Or standing as we did on the very same road where he in sprit pictured himself at the dance in Billy Brennans Barn. We looked across the gate to the house where his father played the Melodion on Christmas morning, as his mother milked the cows. Then again the story of the past is conserved in the very place names such as Bunanumery i.e. the end of the Rodge and The Bloody pass.

For that reason we always have a guide who puts us in touch with the story of the place. Like the monk who reappeared on Devenish Island and told us the story of life in the monastery several hundred years ago. The stories and oral traditions that bring the place alive and bring on stage people, who walked the roads, worked the fields and carved the landscape. So much of our culture and heritage which has been carefully recorded and caught on camera for each walk from the Loughcrew picnic and the Sheeaun climb in 1999 to the forest trail through Drumalee on January 2012.

Speaking of picnics, the social dimension to our group helps to make us welcoming and inclusive. We always bring and share refreshments, just as in the past one was never allowed to leave a house without a cup of tea or some form of hospitality. The Christmas walk includes a Christmas Party which is always held on the 3rd day of Christmas. Indeed our recent walk in Derrykerrib relit the big heath fire in a house vacant for forty years. There was music, singing, dancing and stories. The annual May weekend outing is the highlight of the year when we visited such places as Glencolmcille, Glenties, Inichowen, Cushenda, The Mournes, Kinvara, Clifden, Inish bofin, Birr, Glendalough, The Slieve Blooms.

Belturbet walks MassEvents have occurred that could not be planned or arranged, such as the day we found ourselves in the heart of Connemara and no milk for our midday tea break, when a brand new travel-shop-van on its first day journey stopped and supplied our needs. After our refreshments the owner took an accordion out of the cab and sitting of the step of the vehicle struck up music for an impromptu crossroads dance at two o clock in the afternoon on a Monday Bank Holiday. Manna and music from Heaven.

We are aware of the nature and creation all around us. With our own environmental officer truly familiar with the flora and fauna, especially the trees and the birds. Different members of our group have a great feel and knowledge of local history.

We enjoy our outings. Most of our regular members are local but we are joined regularly by others who come for certain occasions. Visitors are welcome to sample our way of doing things. There are insured for two initial outings and thereafter can become insured members or provide their own insurance.

P.J.C.

Contact 049 9522214 or 049 9522819

Belturbet Walks and Heritage Group 2012 Calendar

 

January 15th Kinaghmore/Tunker

February 12th Derrykeribb

March 11th Bawnboy

April 11th Castle-Leslie Monaghan

May 5th/6th/7th Donegal

Bank Holiday

June 10th Carlingford

July 8th Loughcrew

September 16th Hill of Tara Meath

October 14th Drumlane Abbey

November 11th Castlesuanderson

December 27th John Henderson Rafian

Christmas Walk

Dates are subject to change due to adverse weather conditions or any other circumstances.

Download Belturbet Walks and Heritage Group 2012 Calendar

049 9522214 or 049 9522819

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Belturbet Walks and Heritage Group