Report by Heike O’Sullivan
As regular readers of the Kenmare News know, Brú Columbanus is the fabulous Home Away From Home that offers free of charge accommodation to relatives of seriously ill patients in Cork hospitals. Only a few minutes’ walk from Cork University Hospital, the welcoming and homely 26 bedroom ‘hostel’ relies entirely on donations and fundraising initiatives to cover its running costs. Astonishingly, this non-profit organisation doesn’t receive any financial support from the Irish Government whatsoever. Having benefited from the hospitality of Brú Columbanus staff and volunteers myself last November, I can assure you, dear Readers, that you would support a very worthy cause indeed by participating in the upcoming Kenmare based fundraiser for this hardworking Irish charity.
On Saturday, 17th June Brú Columbanus will host their 7th Annual Walk of the Old Kenmare Butter Road from Galway’s Bridge to Kenmare, possibly one of the most scenic trails in Ireland. Anne-Maria O’Connor, fundraising manager at Brú Columbanus, told me, “Since we started organising this annual walk in 2010, we have been very lucky with the weather. In all the years we’ve had only one rainy day. Kenmare Walking Club is always a great support to us, taking charge of the walk by providing experienced Trek Leaders and ensuring that all participants get back to Kenmare safely and have an enjoyable time on this 10km (6.2 mile) trek.”
Walkers will be bussed to the trek’s starting point at Galway’s Bridge from the gathering place at the Kenmare Bay Hotel. Participants are asked to assemble at the Kenmare Bay Hotel from 10a.m. for a 10.30a.m. departure. Late registrations will be accommodated on the morning insofar possible. The Old Kenmare Butter Road is considered suitable for everyone with a reasonable level of fitness but not for young children. This popular route includes minor roads and paths, trails, boardwalks and stepping stones. “Thanks to the early start, participants will be able to take their time walking,” explains Anne-Maria. “Kenmare Walking Club’s Trek Leaders are used to supporting walkers of varying abilities. We do, of course, recommend bringing a comfortable day pack with items such as bottled water, sun cream, rain gear etc.” Insect repellent and blister relief may also come in handy, as may a walking pole or stick, and sturdy walking boots / shoes are a must. The walk finishes back at the Kenmare Bay Hotel where plenty of praise and refreshments will await the tired fundraisers.
To have enough shuttle buses available, it is important that as many participants as possible register with Brú Columbanus beforehand. This can be done via an online form on their website (www.brucolumbanus.com) or by phoning 021 434 5754.
Registration costs only €20 and additionally a sponsorship card can be downloaded from the website if desired. If you feel that you’re unable to participate in the walk but would like to make a greatly appreciated donation nonetheless, why not see the walkers off on the Saturday morning and drop a euro or ten into a collection bucket, then go for tea and scones at the Kenmare Bay Hotel which is supporting this lovely event?
Report by Heike O’Sullivan