Tag Archives: Events

Any calendar based event

Huge turnout for Great Southern Trail Greenway Christmas Walk / Cycle 2017

Over 200 people of all ages had a most enjoyable 10km walk or cycle along the old railway from Barnagh(N21) to Newcastle West on Wednesday 27  December 2017. The event was organised by the Great Southern Trail, the voluntary group that campaigned, developed and managed the Greenway until 2015). We were blessed with the weather on the day, crisp and bright. It was great to meet old and new faces including participants from our neighbouring counties of Kerry and Cork along with visitors from further afield.

Thanks to Phelim and Margaret of Coach House Travel and Pat Liston, our driver, for transporting everyone to the starting point from where the view over the Golden Vale was at its best . The walkers then had an easy downhill stroll along the Greenway which was in pristine condition thanks to the work of Joe O’Connor and his team in Limerick City & County Council along with the Rural Social Scheme personnel. The newly installed bilingual townland signs were also favourably commented upon.

After a walk of about two hours Triona Dore and her staff at the Longcourt House Hotel ensured that everyone had a nice cup of tea/coffee to wash down the seasonal mince pies. This was the largest ever participation in the Christmas walks/cycles organised by the GST over many years and we wish to thank the local papers, radio and parish bulletins for the generous coverage they have always provided to GST events. Bliain Nua Sonasach daoibh uilig i 2018.

In 2018, please God,  the GST hopes to organise a similar walk/cycle from Barnagh to Abbeyfeale  once Limerick City & County Council have reconnected the wonderful Barnagh Railway Tunnel to the Greenway. [At present the tunnel is a ‘stand alone’ feature and only accessible from the N21 Layby at Barnagh]. With Kerry County Council  preparing to continue the Greenway to Listowel 2018 could also witness an Abbeyfeale to Listowel walk/cycle and we encourage our Kerry supporters to contact their public representatives on the necessity to not alone link Listowel to the Greenway but to continue westwards to Tralee and Fenit along the old railway that Kerry  County Council have already purchased from CIÉ. Greenways revitalise rural communities; one need only visit the Waterford Greenway to witness that at first hand.

Finally, the GST is hoping to visit the Mayo Greenway on Bank Holiday Monday 7 May 2018: The group will be limited to 40 people with the cost being €60 including breakfast/evening dinner and coach travel from Newcastle West but not including bike-hire. Email [email protected] or phone Pat Condon 06962344 if interested.

Great Southern Trail Christmas Walk & Railway Book

The  annual Christmas Walk along the Great Southern Trail Greenway will take place on Wednesday 27th December at 12.30p.m.. Assembly is at the newly opened Longcourt House Hotel (formerly the Courtenay Lodge), St. Mary’s Road, Newcastle West. The hotel is on the N21 and the public bus services stop alongside it. Walkers will be transferred by courtesy coach to Barnagh from where they will walk the 6 miles[10km], all downhill and mostly along the old railway, back to the Longcourt House where they can enjoy seasonal mince pies, whipped cream and tea/coffee at their leisure. All walkers must wear visibility vests as the final section is through the streets of Newcastle West and involves crossing the busy N21 which must be crossed at the zebra crossing close to the hotel. Cyclists, with visibility gear, helmets and lights, are also welcome and we suggest that they also meet at the hotel at 12.30p.m. and cycle outwards along the Greenway for approximately one hour to Barnagh or beyond and then return in time to enjoy the refreshments. Beidh fáilte roimh gach éinne ar an lá.

As Christmas is coming a nice gift to oneself or to family/friends would be the  Great Southern Trail Limited’s newly published “Limerick & Kerry Railway: Twilight Years” by Liam O’Mahony which is laden with information about the Greenway’s railway history. It is not alone a personal memoir by Liam of the 1950’s to 1980’s railway finale but also reproduces several historic documents. These include a list of the 300 or so shareholders (many of which names are still to be found locally) in the Rathkeale & Newcastle Junction Railway Company which built the line to those towns 150 years ago. Another historic gem which is included is a chapter from “Through the Green Isle”; a Victorian era travel guide which extolled  the historic attractions of Adare, Askeaton, Foynes, Ballybunion and Ardfert along with the then newly operational Lartigue railway in Listowel. Liam’s book is  very well illustrated with thirty of the photographs being in colour. Twenty full colour railway posters advertising  excursion trains to Dublin, Thurles, Cork, Killarney, Knock Shrine and Listowel Races during the 1950’s to the 1970’s will bring back memories to many.

Copies of the book will be delivered throughout all of Ireland for €15 (inc.postage). Orders from all of Britain will be £17stg  and  from all other countries €20 due to overseas postal rates. The book has 187 pages including a 32 page colour section. It is 170mm x 240mm format, soft cover. Enquiries to Liam O’Mahony, 9, Bishop St., Newcastle West, Co.Limerick V42HT66, Ireland to whom cheques should be made payable[or phone/text 00353876471956]. If payment by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is preferred please email your name and address to [email protected] and you will be provided with the bank BIC and IBAN. Please remind the bank to include your name on the EFT.

“Stop Killing Cyclists” – Vigil & Demonstration

In the past week two more people have lost their lives while cycling on roads in Ireland, bringing the total number of cyclists killed in 2017 to 14*. That is *four more than were killed in all of 2016, and it makes 2017 the deadliest year for cyclists in more than a decade. The number of people who cycle who have been seriously or fatally injured is available at the Road Safety Authority

The members of each of our groups are sick and tired of the silence and inaction by government, both local & national, when it comes to cyclists’ safety. We have been calling for increased funding and resources for cycling and for the Garda Traffic Corps, so as to increase the member and officer complement from its present low of approx. 700 to a strength of 1,200, but those calls have fallen on deaf ears, and cyclists continue to be killed as a result.

Just yesterday we had a report on Facebook of a club cyclist clipped by an overtaking vehicle while out on a club spin. It was yet another hit-n-run caused by dangerous overtaking, which is a statutory offence covered by the Fixed Penalty-Points regime. However we never see any statistics published by An Garda Síochána to show how many FCNs are issued for this offence. We need this vital data. There is silence and inaction from the key government ministers – Minister Ross (Transport) & Minister Flanagan (Justice) – who hold responsibility for road safety and policing, respectively.

Colm Ryder (Chair of Cyclist.ie) stated: “The number of cyclists dying on our roads is growing, while other vehicle casualties drop.  This government needs to invest in cycling to protect vulnerable road users from these increased tragic losses of life.  Our thoughts are with the two most recent casualties, who came from both ends of the age spectrum.  This trend needs to be reversed, and can only be reversed by the Government making the right decisions and investing more in active travel.  MAKE CYCLING SAFE!”

Dr. Paul Corcoran (Chair of Dublin Cycling Campaign) stated that “the number of vehicle fly-parked in the mandatory-use cycle tracks on the streets of our capital, and right across the land in urban areas, during their period of operation is unacceptable. Illegally parked vehicles force cyclists out into the fast-moving traffic-stream putting riders at increased risk of being hit. They are not an aid to doing business”.

Clara Clark of Cycling Without Age, www.cyclingwithoutage.ie, “asks all road planners and users to respect and look out for cyclists on all our roads. We want Cycling Without Age trishaw trikes to become an accepted form of mobility for our older and mobility-impaired citizens. Cycling offers sustainable and healthy travel to all. Motorists need to recognise and allow space and for safe overtaking, safe road use, particularly at junctions, and parking for cyclists. We call on government and local authorities to consult with cyclists and cyclist groups when planning and upgrading new road layouts. For example, Cherrywood in south Dublin new road proposals offer unrealistic and bicycle-unfriendly junction options”.  

Stephen McManus for IBIKEDublin says: “Death by car should never become normalised in a society that cares for its people. Thirteen parents, children, partners, siblings have been killed while cycling to work, school or while just out going about their lives.
The state must act immediately and make infrastructure safer for pedestrians and cyclists to avoid further deaths.
The Dáil must also pass the Minimum Safe Distance Passing Bill into law immediately.

We must all remember that roads are primarily designed to facilitate the movement of people. The people who choose the most dangerous mode of transportation must carry the most responsibility for the safety of other road users.
Every death is one too many.”

Phil Skelton of ‘Stayin Alive at 1.5’ says: “Many motorists are simply not aware of the rights of bicycle riders and the challenges they face in navigating a road system designed primarily for motor vehicles, underpinning a stubborn prejudice that bicycle riders are “rogue” road users.

While bicycles are defined as vehicles, and given similar rights to cars when on the road, they face disproportionate vulnerability
The Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 campaign, has made use of social media, various awareness videos, vehicle signage, safety campaigns, press releases etc. to ask motorists to “give space” to bicycle riders.  The RSA has been active in this area too, but this has been ongoing with cyclists for some time now and and although has some positive effect it doesn’t reach the target audience we need to engage, those who are might view people on bicycles as road furniture, as an inconvenience, which needs to be overtaken hastily and at the first opportunity. those unwilling to take on the message or dismissive of vulnerable road users altogether.
Introducing a minimum passing distance law would be a significant and progressive step in changing the focus on sharing the road”.

This Tuesday, 21st of November, we are joining forces as #Cyclist.ie #IBikeDublin, #StayingAliveat1.5, #DublinCyclingCampaign and #Cyclingwithoutage to let the Government know that the issue of cyclists’ safety can no longer be ignored.

Join us from 5.30pm as we hold a vigil in memory of the people killed while cycling on Irish roads.

Further information

  • Colm Ryder: 087-237 6130
  • Stephen McManus: 089-977 5896
  • Phil Skelton: 086-811 4118
  • Paul Corcoran: 086-103 5617

Great Southern Trail

On Saturday 27th August the Great Southern Trail (GST) Greenway organised a large group of over forty people to spend a most pleasant day in Waterford City and on the Greenway from Kilmeaden.

The visitors from West Limerick & North Kerry were making their second visit to the Déise. In May they had walked the Dungarvan to Durrow section and on Saturday they took the  narrow gauge train from Kilmeaden to Mount Congreve and walked from there to Waterford. The late  afternoon was spent exploring the city and enjoying the Summerval festival attractions.

Before returning home they had a wonderful meal at L’ Atmosphere Restaurant in Henrietta Street. In the morning an excellent breakfast had been provided at Brazil’s in Tipperary Town. Transport was provided by Coach House Travel, Newcastle West and the Waterford & Suir Valley Railway.
When the Déise Greenway is completed a third visit is planned to include a cycle from Dungarvan to Waterford.

Visitors from Waterford would be much appreciated in West Limerick where the 40km Greenway is also along  an old railway from Rathkeale to Abbeyfeale. This year it has already hosted visiting groups from Spain, Germany and the McAuliffe Diaspora Gathering. The development of the GST, spearheaded by volunteers, was successful in County Limerick but was obstructed in County Kerry. The volunteers also managed the Limerick Greenway until November 2015 when Limerick City & County Council took charge.

A planned further 50km along the former railway from Abbeyfeale to Fenit in County Kerry has been awaiting development since 1988. The fact that this State owned route has been languishing for almost a generation is surely an issue long overdue to be addressed by local and national authorities and politicians.

Photo: GST Greenway visitors from West Limerick/North Kerry with the Thomas Francis Meagher Bridge (N25) in the  visits Déise Greenwaybackground

Sligo Cycling Campaign’s Bike Week Buffet an outstanding success

Sligo Cycling Campaign’s Bike Week Buffet an outstanding success!
On Thursday 19th June over one hundred people assembled in Clevreagh Park ready to set off on Sligo Cycling Campaign’s inaugural Bike Buffet. Chairperson Gemma Woods told the Weekender that cycling campaign members were looking for an interesting idea to mark Bike Week and became aware that their neighbours in Westport have hosted several successful Bike Buffets. Gemma floated the idea to Emer Concannon of Sligo County Council and received enthusiastic support.

The idea of the buffet is that participants cycle from venue to venue and have one course of their meal in each venue. The participating venues were the Riverside Hotel for “Mocktails”, Café Fleur for Starters, the Radisson hotel for a Barbecue and finally the Glasshouse hotel for coffee and dessert.

When booking opened for the buffet, some would-be participants sadly echoed Judy Garland’s lines from the song “We’re a couple of swells” “We would ride on a bicycle, but we haven’t got a bike”. However, Jarlath Gantly of Wild Atlantic Ways rode to the rescue as it were and provided hire bikes at a nominal fee.

In fact not only did Jarlath provide standard bikes but also tandems and even an electric tandem, which of course to those of us of a certain age brings to mind the lines of another song, “Daisy” , “But you’ll look neat going down the street of a bicycle made for two”. Traffic management of such a large number of participants was greatly assisted by support from Sligo Garda, from experienced Innisfree Wheelers marshals and from vehicle support by Jarlath Gantly and Mickey Scanlon.

Sligo Cycling Campaign aims to be a voice for Sligo’s everyday cyclist as well as for people who would like to start cycling but may not feel confident enough to do so. It seeks to lobby local and national government to bring about improved conditions for cyclists. The campaign is affiliated to ‘Cyclist.ie – The Irish Cycling Advocacy Network’ and would love to have new members. The National Cycling Policy Framework published by Government in 2009 has as a target that 10% of all trips should be made by bike by 2020.  However, for this to become a reality changes need to happen and Sligo Cycling Campaign is adding its voice to the call for change.   The campaign can be contacted on Sligo Cycling Campaign (Facebook), twitter @SligoCycling or email

The bike buffet was a leisure activity with the simple objective of providing a fun experience by bike. However, Sligo Cycling Campaign has also received funding from Sligo County Council to make Safe Cycling Ireland’s 1.5 metres please, Share the Road windscreen stickers available throughout Sligo town. The stickers are an initiative of Phil Skelton, a Wexford cyclist, who became concerned at the risk to cyclists from dangerous overtaking.

Many European countries, for example Spain, Germany, France and Portugal as well as several US States have legislated for a minimum overtaking distance of 1.5 metres. Ireland currently has no legislation to this effect but the windscreen stickers can remind motorists to be considerate when overtaking a cyclist. The stickers are available from all Sligo bike shops as well as City Hall, County Council Office at Riverside and the library.

Sligo Cycling Campaign also supports the www.love30.ie campaign for lower speed limits in urban areas. There is overwhelming evidence that lower limits make streets safer and more pleasant for pedestrians and cyclists.

The cycling campaign supports cyclist education, driver education, restricted speed, improved infrastructure, a minimum overtaking distance of 1.5 metres and enforcement of existing road traffic legislation re for e.g. speed limits and parking in cycle lanes.

Cycle City Active City Leicester Conference

Cyclist.ie keeps a close eye on developments across the water in how British cities are changing to accommodate more cycling. As Irish campaigners we regularly travel across to cycling planning / advocacy events and enjoy meeting our cycle campaigning colleagues and swapping notes.

The latest trip was to Leicester to attend the Cycle City Active City conference. Leicester is undergoing a rapid transformation in recent years. Not only does the city boast the largest area of pedestrianised streets of any UK city (with cycle access and no record of serious collisions!), it has also been dismantling some of its gigantic flyovers – classic symbols of 1960s motorised automobility – and promoting urban regeneration. The nurturing of an everyday cycling culture is very much part of this mix. All of this has been helped along by a directly elected Mayor of the City Council (Peter Soulsby) and one of the most dynamic Local Authority Cycling Officers in the UK (Andy Salkeld).

We also heard the latest news from New York (Jon Orcutt) in which cycling is growing through a combination of high quality (protected) bike lanes and a large bike-share scheme, and from London where top notch cycle campaigning (by London Cycling Campaign and others) has prompted a series of directly elected mayors to treat the bicycle as a serious mode to alleviate congestion and help turn London into a more people friendly city. LCC’s latest success is getting a commitment from London’s new Mayor Sadiq Khan to triple the cycle superhighways, enable ‘Mini-Hollands’ in every borough and take dangerous lorries off streets.

Other excellent contributions came from Rachel Aldred, Senior Lecturer in Transport at Westminster University, who is studying how exactly reducing the volumes as well as the speeds of motorised traffic improves the environment for those not wearing a full body metal shell (her blog) and Philip Darnton, Executive Director of the Bicycle Association. Philip’s main argument is that £20M will enable every single school child in the UK to be trained in how to cycle in trafficked environments and every child deserves this training. Meanwhile, cycling journalist and author Carlton Reid recommended that we treat every outrageous / irrational anti-cyclist comment from various celebrities / notice boxes (such as ex- UK Chancellor Nigel Lawson’s as an indication that we are winning the battle: cycling is growing.

All in all, the Leicester conference was excellent. There were over 500 delegates / speakers plus another 300 cycle training instructors in attendance, and the quality of the presentations was really very good. There is an undoubted buzz generated by the more radical interventions on the streets of London to create safe cycling conditions for all – the question and feeling on everyone’s lips was: why should it just be on a handful of London’s streets that safe cycling conditions are created!? Hear hear!

Dr. Damien Ó Tuama is the National Cycling Coordinator for Cyclist.ie. He presented at the Leicester conference on “The (Slow) Progress in Implementing Ireland’s National Cycle Policy Framework”.