Monday, June 6, 2016

Macroom Mountain Dew – Book Launched on Ireland’s First Rock Festival

Press Release

Over 200 people attended Last Tuesday’s launch of Macroom Mountain Dew – Memories of Irelands First Rock Festival– held at Fitz-Gerald’s Bookshop Macroom.

Festival Vice-Chairman Martin Fitz-Gerald said he had been trying to get a book off the ground for over five years and it was finally take on by author Roz Crowley who wrote and published it through her company Onstream. He said he was delighted with the result and hoped it would bring back happy memories of the seven years of the festival from 1976 to 1982.

Author Roz Crowley talked about how much she enjoyed interviewing musicians for the book, and then talking to those who made the festival possible with their wide range of skills, as well as Cork and local people who attended the festival over the years. She also praised the reporting of journalists whom she quoted and whose on the spot analysis of the time added to the richness of the book. Editor of the Southern Star Con Downing was singled out as having written about all of the seven festivals. She thanked photographers from the Examiner newspaper and the newspaper itself for allowing access to their archives, and freelance photographers Herman Kemp and John Sheehan who supplied photographs, some of them never seen before.

Brother of Rory, Dónal Gallagher, told stories of the festival and some anecdotes about his brother.  He introduced Mike Lowe who was interviewed in the book. He is a partner in Britannia Row, who supplied the sound system for the two Rory concerts at festival. As in the book, he talked about how much he enjoyed the festival.

The book is available in bookshops and at

Macroom Mountain Dew – 
Memories of Ireland’s First Rock Festival
Author: Roz Crowley
Foreword: John Martin Fitz-Gerald
ISBN: 9781897685563
Available in bookshops and on line at

Launch date: 14 June 2016  7.30pm

At: Fitz-Gerald’s Bookshop Macroom

They admit that they didn’t have a clue about how to run a festival. How would they? No-one had ever done it before, so when 13 businessmen came together they were not to know they would be making history.

In 1977, Ireland’s most talented guitarist, Rory Gallagher, attracted 20,000 fans to a quiet market town, with a population of 3,000, in north west county Cork for Ireland’s first major open-air event: the Macroom Mountain Dew Festival. An unforgettable moment in Irish rock history, the festival was a trailblazer.

The brainchild of a visionary group of Macroom locals, the Macroom Mountain Dew Festival was staged annually for seven years from 1976 to 1982 (the first one was mainly indoors) and featured some of the biggest music stars in the world. In this book the Mountain Dew Festival is celebrated with interviews with those who organised the festival, and with stars such as Rory Gallagher’s drummer Ted McKenna, his bassist of 20 years Gerry McAvoy, his brother Dónal, members of The Blues Band, Lindisfarne, Dubliners and many more. Top that with words from the people of Macroom on how the festival affected their lives, and insightful newspaper reports, for a nostalgic, but warts and all, view of what it took to make the festival what it was – a first.

Launched just in time for the fortieth anniversary of the first festival, the memories are captured with some photographs never seen before of this extraordinary time in Ireland’s history.

Roz Crowley is a freelance journalist, writer and editor of best sellers and prizewinners  which include Our Daily Bread, A Kingdom of Wine, The Lettercollum Cookbook, A Pinch of This.  A former regular broadcaster, she still contributes occasionally to programmes.

John Martin Fitz-Gerald is a leading businessman In Macroom, and was on the Board of Directors of the Macroom Mountain Dew Festival for all of its seven years.

Contact:Roz Crowley 021 4385798 086 8242191
Onstream, Currabaha Cloghroe Co Cork Ireland.

Faces of the Cork City Marathon

Faces of the Cork City Marathon 2016

Leading edge

Sideline support!

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Walk in Little Island. Conservation Area Included

A Walk in Little Island
Conservation Area Included
Fifty years ago on sunny Sundays, families in the Little Island and the surrounding area would walk down the Clash Road to the shores of the estuary to enjoy the views, the waters and of course the sun. Just last week, I was back down that way again, to try out a looped walk. And it was very enjoyable, even if the sun was playing hide and seek. It is a walk of just over half an hour on a hard core pathway, with just a slight rise at one point.
When you leave the N25 (main Cork-Waterford road) for Little Island and come off the exit and go through the roundabout, turn left at the Topaz filling station. Then - you’ll have passed the church on your left -  take the second turn right, into the Clash Road, a residential road, so drive easy! You’ll go past the former Harbour Point Golf Club and come to a playground and car park. If you have a dog, keep him on a lead as this is a conservation area.
Good solid pathway
From the car park, head south and you’ll see an old ruin on the foreshore. Across the estuary, you’ll recognise some of the buildings in Mahon. Indeed, you are now directly across from the Estuary Walk on the opposite shore. You can make a very short detour to the shore by the ruin, take in the views and come back to the main path.

There is now a gentle enough rise and this helps you get a better view, out towards Passage on one side and Rushbrooke on the other. As you continue around, you’ll see the railway bridge on the Cork-Cobh line and Fota Island and its folly (a tower).
Lots of mussel shells here
There is a facility (treatment plant) in the middle of the area and you now pass the gate. Turn sharply to your left and very soon you’ll see the boggy conservation area where there are ducks, herons, egrets and more.

Time for a break with a view.
Passage to left, Rushbrooke on right

And the big surprise for me was to see a swan sitting on its nest. Its mate, who I was told is very friendly (and may come out of the water, hoping for a handout of food) was swimming about. I was also told that it is best not to feed the wildlife here and of course keep your four-legged friend firmly on its lead!

A few minutes later, you’ll find yourself back at the car park. You may also do the walk in the other direction. Enjoy!

Martello tower

Bridge on Cork-Cobh railway line

Fota folly

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Holy Ground Once More. A Walk in Cobh

The Holy Ground Once More
A Walk in Cobh
The Haulbowline Naval base.
Took a walk in Cobh the other day (17th April 2016) and saw some things I hadn’t seen before, including a new marina and the Sonia O’Sullivan statue.
New marina at Whitepoint

If you want to follow this harbourside walk, go to the first signposted car park, by Whitepoint. After passing Rushbrooke and its railway station, watch out for the free carpark signs that take you to the right, right down to the water’s edge. From here, it is just five minutes walk to the town centre. Unless you delay of course. Maybe the kids want to enjoy the playground or perhaps the adults want to try the exercise area (loads of machines there to twist and pull you into shape, maybe out of shape if you don't know what you’re doing!).

We were there for the walk so parked close to entrance. If you want to shorten the walk, park up nearer the town. First new thing I noticed was the new marina that has been set up with help from SECAD who are certainly trying to put South and East Cork on the map. This, directly across the water from the Naval Base on Haulbowline, should be busy during the summer.

Exercise? Anyone?

We were now on the quay walk, called the five foot walk I think, the water to our right, the garda station to the left. And from now on, right into the early autumn, cruise-liners will be calling here regularly. You might be lucky enough to see one or better still look up the schedule and visit while one of these attractive vessels is tied up at the deep water dock. This is the list for 2016 and there is usually a mini-carnival atmosphere when a big one comes in.

They “park” - actually seeing one swing around in the water is amazing - right alongside the railway station and the Queenstown Heritage Centre, also worth a visit, details here. Queenstown was the British name for Cobh. The visiting Americans, or at least some of them, used call it Cob (like rob)-H.

Local wildlife

So now we were away from the docking area, the deep water quay,  passing the famous Annie Moore statue and into Westbourne Place. Soon we see the beautiful Sirius Art Gallery and also the Tourist Office where you’ll soon find out that there is much to see and do in this harbour town.

A few minutes later, we stroll through the attractive promenade. There are some fine sculptures here, one commemorating arctic explorer Robert Forde, but the next “statue” that really grabbed our attention was the new life-size (maybe larger) tribute to Cobh running champion Sonia O’Sullivan, a world-class sportswoman and a great sport too.

Cobh's and Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan

Under the shade of the cathedral on the hill, there is a huge memorial to the Lusitania victims. And you can also visit the Titanic Experience and also book boat trips on the harbour, along with walking tours of the town and of nearby Spike Island.

Now, on West Beach (a street, not a beach), we approach the old clock tower, not looking its best the other day, but a very attractive building nonetheless. By the tower, with its Chinese Restaurant, take the left fork up through East Beach. There are some small signs indicating things to see in Cobh and we keep an eye out for those that point towards the Titanic Memorial Garden and Holy Ground. The name Holy Ground is ironic as the piece of ground was the town's red-light district in the 19th century.

The mouth of Cork Harbour

We pass various plaques along our way to Harbour Row, one in the Holy Ground in honour of Cobh native Jack Doyle, the Gorgeous Gael, a boxer, Hollywood actor and accomplished tenor. All the while we have terrific views out to the islands and to Aghada and Whitegate to the east. Straight ahead, one can see the mouth of Cork Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world.

At the end of Harbour Row, there is a modest semi-circular car-park and a few seats inside the wall, maybe a few old-timers sitting there and taking in the view. East Hill rises up to the left but, you’re in luck as your destination is on the right via Connolly Street. Soon you’ll see a little pier, a few boats there including a clearly marked pilot boat or two. Now you are on The Mall and your destination is just ahead.

 You pass a modest building as you enter the Titanic Garden but a very important and busy building as it is from here that all water traffic into and out of the port is monitored.

The memorial garden (SECAD are also helping this project) is a work in progress at present. The main piece is a glass wall directly opposite the harbour mouth. The middle section is dominated by a line-drawing of the Titanic and on either side are listed the 123 people who boarded her in Cobh, those that survived (44) marked by a star.

So a few minutes and a few photos later, we were heading back the way we had come. The round trip took about an hour but we had quite a few stops for photos and so on. It is all on footpath or street and there is a moderate rise towards the end but nothing too difficult! Enjoy.
See general map of walk here.
She's a champ! And she's clean.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Blarney - Waterloo - Blarney Looped Walk

The Blarney - Waterloo - Blarney Looped Walk

I enjoyed this very pleasant walk recently. I think it took us a few minutes over an hour, but there were some stops for photos. Of course, you can turn around at many points and come back if you want a shorter walk. It is easy enough as it is mostly on the flat and the paths are good. Just be careful when you have to go out on the road on the approach to the Waterloo Inn. The pictures and words below will help you on your way.

Coming into Blarney from Cork City, via the Mallow Road,
turn right onto the Waterloo Road (signposted).
After a few hundred yards, you'll see the walk car-park
on your right. Just follow the path, with the river on your right.
Picture above was taken as I looked back soon after the start.
Making progress, with River Martin along side.

There are a few of these plaques along the way in the early stages

The final 600 metres or so of the outward stretch must be done on the public road.
There is no footpath so be careful and stay inside the yellow line. Just after the Inn,
turn right and take the Stony Path up towards the church.

As you get up close to the church, you'll spot a "tunnel" to your right. Go under
this - it takes you under the road - and take the path, again to the right. 
You are now on the return stretch. There is farmland to your left and a belt of trees and bushes
to your right between you and the main Cork-Mallow Road.

Continue on this path - you may well see this lady on the left - until it ends.
At that point, you'll see this bridge and the main road below.
Use the path to cross and now you're on the final leg.
It is mainly down-hill now, passing quite a a few housing estates as you
near Blarney on the Station Road. Turn right at the end, when you see
this small shopping area, and make your way back to the car-park
on the Waterloo Road.
Hope this helps. If there are any errors, please let me know.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Magic. And Easter Eggs at Lifetime Lab!

Magic. And Easter Eggs at Lifetime Lab!

Falconry, magic shows and make and do are just some of the activities on offer on Friday March 25th (Good Friday) at Lifetime Lab during the Easter Egg Challenge to support Bishopstown Primary Schools.

A fantastic family fun day out is guaranteed as children undertake a treasure hunt to solve clues on the way to finding a secret egg depot. The Easter Bunny has left an egg for everyone who completes the challenge and will bring friends to entertain on the day.

Lifetime Lab and Bishopstown Lions Club partner for the event with all proceeds going directly to local primary schools in the Bishopstown area. Mervyn Horgan manager of Lifetime Lab stated “We are delighted to be able to give back to the local schools which have shown great support to Lifetime Lab, last year over 1300 Easter eggs were handed out and we have lots of different activities that will suit all age groups. Local children’s entertainers are volunteering their time, everyone gets an Easter egg and local schools benefit financially”

The event has so far raised over €60,000 all of which is donated to primary schools in Glasheen, Ballinora, Curraheen, Farran and Bishopstown. Kieran Kelly  President of Bishopstown and Area Lion’s Club said “We are delighted to partner Lifetime Lab to raise funds for local schools in the area and extend our thanks Country Clean  for making the event possible this year ”

The Easter egg challenge will run from 10.00am - 4.00pm on Good Friday March 25th tickets are available online at and participating schools and priced at €5 per child and adults free.

For further information, contact Lifetime Lab at: 021-4941500

  • Lifetime Lab Easter egg challenge will run from 10.00am - 4.00pm Good Friday March 25th 
  • Tickets are €5 per child, adults free and available online at
  • All entertainers/staff  have donated their time free of charge for the event
  • To date over €60,000 has been raised with all proceeds donated to participating schools
  • Lifetime Lab is located at the old Cork City Waterworks on Lee Road and comprises of an interactive Visitor Centre, a steam centre, a schools resource centre, a coffee dock, a picnic area and a children’s playground and is fully wheelchair accessible.