2009 AGM Report

The 2009 AGM of the Galway Walking Club took place on October 15th 2009 in the Marriot Hotel (on the Headford Road in Galway) at 8.30 pm. You can read the report below.





OCTOBER 2008 –  OCTOBER 2009

Prepared by: Loretta Needham, Chairperson, Galway Walking Club

1. GALWAY WALKING CLUB – COMMITTEE- (October 2008 to October 2009)

Chairperson: Loretta Needham

Vice Chair:                                                             Noel Browne

Honorary Secretary: Paul Brown

Honorary Treasurer:                                     Maura Faherty

Membership Officer:                                      Caroline McGrath

PRO: Helen Dolan

Committee Members:

Phil Clerkin

James Sheerin

Tommy O’Connor

Walks Sub Committee

A Hill Walks: James Sheerin

B Hill Walks: Tom Reddington

Rambles: Jerry Lalor

Short Walks: Phil Clerkin

Marathon Committee Coordinator:

Martha Higgins

Route Organisers:

Patricia Flemming

Jerry Lalor

Tom Rea

Tom Reddington


Alan Brannely

Anne Brindley

Phil Clerkin

Patricia Flemming

Anne Hession

Liam Kenny

Jerry Lalor

Leny Mannens

Barbara Mulry

Mary Murphy

Loretta Needham

Tom O’Connor

Ray O’Keeffe

Tom Rea

Berna Reddington

James Sheerin

Kay Smyth

Sabina Sheppard

Coordinator of Catering:

Maureen O’Hara

Catering Committee:

Noel Browne

Helen Dolan

Maura Faherty

Mary Heneghan

Tom Huban

Catherine Ormond

Tom Reddington

Dolores Tierney

Patricia Wynne


Mel Faherty

Website Committee

Web Manager John Smyth

James Sheerin

Loretta Needham

Access person            /Environment Kevin Kelly


2008/2009 has been a successful and stimulating years.   Our success is not measured in how our membership is or is not growing but in what we have done and in what we are doing.   The Club is firmly recognised throughout the City and County as representing walkers and walking and has achieved much credibility.   All this is due to the incredible commitment by all club members who participated and helped out with events.    You deserve all our thanks –  well done!

Our walks programme offers an increasing number and range of walks suitable for most people in both rural and city locations.   We will continue to strive to cater for all walking needs.   The “Short Walks” continues to be very successful offering much shorter walks for those who want them.   Special thanks must go to Phil Clerkin and her team for co-ordinating the short walks over the years.

We have an official ramble every two weeks under the coordination of Jerry Lalor. We would like to thank Jerry for taking on this responsibility as an ordinary club member.

We cannot forget Tom Reddington, who has many talents and his bunch of leaders, ably manages the B Hill Walks. Thank you Tom.  Our very own James Sheerin manages the A Hill Walks.

Of course, we could not do this without our wonderful guides\leaders, so we salute them with gratitude.   Thank you also to our skilled walk leaders who start with apprehension but soon learn that even some totally challenged by lack of sense of direction can still lead walks.

The work carried out by the Walking Club is very wide ranging and the committee meets separately to plan events, particularly in the earlier part of the year. It would be my intention to make members more aware of the range of work being done in the club.

I would like to thank everyone who has worked to ensure that the Club functions and provides walks and other activities, which give pleasure to so many. Special thanks to all those on the Committee who manage affairs, send out emails, update websites, lead walks, collect money for membership, sign in walkers previous to walks, manage money, organise week ends away, take minutes, deals with public relation activities and to all those who offer to coordinate activities. I would like to thank all the committee members for their individual contributions over and above the call of duty. There would be no Club without such people. I would like to officially acknowledge the committee:

  • Noel Browne, Vice Chair for his contribution to the communications aspect of the club through emailing.
  • Paul Brown for his excellent work in recording the minutes of the club and organising events.
  • Maura Faherty for her hard work in the role of Treasurer. Thank you Maura.
  • Caroline McGrath for her dedication to the role of Membership Officer, which brought her to the Omniplex when she would have preferred to be elsewhere.
  • Helen Dolan for her excellent contribution to the role of PRO and her efforts to further increase the profile of the club.
  • Phil Clerkin for her continued efforts to ensure the smooth running of the short walking group and her culinary expertise for events.
  • James Sheerin for his contributions to the website and particularly for lending his expertise to the A walking section of the Club.  His contributions in developing lots of new challenging walks in this area.
  • Tom O’Connor for his efforts in attempting to get the club trained to be leaders.

I would like to thank all the committee members who turned up at the Omniplex to sign people in on Sunday mornings, whether they wanted to go walking or not.

Some other contributions should be noted.

Tom Reddington who has organised the B Hill Walks for the last two years.

Jerry Lalor who has started organising the Rambles

John Smyth for his contribution to the website.

Martha Higgins for coordinating the Marathon for the last two years.


Some walks were cancelled through lack of numbers or inclement weather. On the whole the numbers appear to average out fairly similar to last years. Lots of people achieved lots of goals on all level of walks.  Many peaks were conquered on the hills, many miles covered on rambles, some for the first time for some walkers! The weather was not always right but the walks were enjoyed.


Short Walks

The Short Walks Clarenbridge- Woodlands and Road, Headford –Road Walk, Barna Golf-Road Walk, Kilcolgan Pier, Furbo-Track and Road, Renville Woods, Spiddeal, Menlo, Oughterard, Moycullen, Tawin-Maree, Abbey Hill, Kilcolgan Pier, Tracht Shoreline, Newquay and Doon Roscahill.

Walk Leaders: Phil Clerkin, Mary Fahy, Monica Quinn, Eileen Letsome, Catherine Joyce and Una Lalor.


We had some of the usual routes like Abbey Hill, Carron, Corkscrew Hill, Mount Gable, New Quay, Ougherard, Ballinahinch Castle, Upper Mask Walk, Derrybrien, Glenina, Killary, Ballynalackan Castle, Caoran na gCaroach, Mannin- Loop, Diamond Hill, Ballintubber Abbey, Mauméan, Partry Hills, Kilkerrin, Cong and Lough Greaney in Clare.

Walk Leaders: Jerry Lalor, Tom Huban, Kevin Kelly, Martha Higgins, Noel Browne, Patricia Flemming, Caroline McGrath, Liam Kenny, Matt Flesk, Phil Clerkin, Eileen Letsome, Paul Maloney and Tom Reddington.

B Hill Walks

Lackavrea Mountain, Abbey Hill, Leenaun Hill, Knocknahillion, Garraun, Croagh Patrick, Ben Lettery, Ben Baun, Central Maumturks, Ben Gorm, Maumturkmore, Letterbreckaun, Knockbrack, Corcog and Mullaghmore.

This was a new walk Knocknagussy.

Walk leaders: Tom Reddington, Tom Huban, Patricia Flemming,  Jacqui O’Dowd, Kevin Kelly, Tom Rea and Loretta Needham,

A Hill Walks

We had many of the usual routes like Corcog, Benbaun, Derryclare Circuit, Ben Creggen, Mid Turks – Failmore Circuit, Glencraff Horseshoe (Leenaun Hill/Heartbreak Ridge Area, Benchoona, Letterfrack area and Sheefry Hills.

The new routes were many:

  • Corcog to Maumeen and Southern Turks.
  • Mid Turks – Starting on Ben Chaonaigh.
  • Northern Turks all with preparation for the Maumturk Challenge in the mind of the participants.
  • The Western Bens – Muckanaght, Benfree and Benbaun were all attempted together.
  • Ben Creggan from the North and Maumtrasna and Devils Mother.
  • The second section of the JCC- (Ben Cunnacoineen Ridge) were done with the JCC Challenge in mind.
  • Another new walk was Binn Ban, Benfree and Binn Breac.

The walk leaders: James Sheerin, Patricia Flemming, Fintan O’Meara, Jackie O’Dowd, Sean O’Carroll, Alan Brannely, Miko Keane, Tadgh Kenny and Loretta Needham.


Membership is a little down in the past year, however women still outnumber men.

There are still a small number of young members in the Club.

Membership Statistics at 15th October 2009

Number of Members

Ordinary= 159

Women   and  men



I am not going to name people at this point, approximately 28 people

helped out in some way in the overall running of the marathon.  I would like to complement Martha Higgins on a job well done and all the people involved with the marathon.


We also had some map reading and compass work delivered by James Sheerin. The numbers of trainees was disappointingly low. The committee will be reviewing training to be offered prior to next year and encouraging members to take part in order to increase their leadership skills.


I would suggest that the Galway Walking Club with all its strengths has two weaknesses:

  1. The lack of new leaders
  2. The lack of young people taking on more roles within the club.

Lack of new leaders

There is lack of new leaders in the Rambles and Hill Walks Section. There is a need for the current leaders to take on the role of “budding” new leaders.  This practice works in other clubs and is encouraged by MCI.  In order for people to do this, there needs to be a willingness on the part of both existing walk leaders and new leaders to take ownership for the “budding” process.  It is past time that club members started taking responsibility for this aspect of the club. The rambling members of the club needs to start to train themselves in “orienteering skills” and some “map reading” in order to increase their confidence level in leading walks, this together would “budding” should produce new leaders.  If we do not act soon the club will die with its leaders.

Lack of young people

It has come to my attention that in order for people to lead hill walks, you need a lot of skills and a good level of fitness is required.  Young people need to train themselves now, if they wish to have a club that is suitable for their needs into the future.


The Galway Walking Club throws social events throughout the year unlike any other walking club in Galway. With no detail forgotten, we strive to provide you with unforgettable nights surrounded by good company.  We start each year off with our largest event, the Christmas Social. Last year this took place in Burke’s in Clonbur. This year the annual dinner will be held in “The Station House” in Clifden.

-Members enjoyed the lead up to Christmas with Social Events outdoor e.g. The Spirit Walk.

-Nibbles at the cheese and wine doo in February made for a festive night.

The Mannion Loop Walk followed by barbeque in Keoghs, Ballyconneely…..The sun did not shine on the walking club that day.

All these events were much talked about.  All 4 events were well attended. This would indicate that there is a large interest in the social side of the club.

Members also tested their brains at the annual Table Quiz…. Quiz Master Noel Browne, attended by Una Lalor and Kay Smyth who kept score.  I still wonder about the winners.

We had the Marathon Review and Celebration in Tonery’s, Bohermore in September.


We had three week end’s away this year. The Donegal Week-end took place in October. On Sunday the hill walkers did the bridle path walk starting at Glenveagh Castle, over the hills via the bridle path and down the Poison Glen. On Saturday the whole group went to Glenveagh Castle and watched an information video of the area, its wildlife and flora. Some members did the Glen walk that day just up to the waterfall and back because the
weather was so bad.  On Sunday the ramblers were led on the Horn Head walk by Manus Kelly. On Monday on the way back some members climbed Errigal. Thanks to Paul Brown and his organisational skills that made this a week end to remember for lots of reasons and thanks to friends the walk leaders and the hotel we stayed in was Ostan Loch Altan in Gortahork and B and B’s.

Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo in May exploring Ben Bulben and the Ox Mountain area. I would like to thank the people that travelled to Sligo before this event to find suitable routes for the walkers on the weekend: Paul Brown, Kevin Kelly, Tom Rea and Loretta Needham.  I would like to thank the people that lead walks on the weekend: Kevin Kelly, Jerry Lalor and Tom Rea. Once again I would like to thank Paul Brown for organising this week-end.

This year we had a “real Island week end” in Achill Island in September. The week end was a great success. We climbed Croaghaun -this Walk took us through areas of scenic beauty and archaeological and historical significance. We visited the highest sea cliffs in Europe. The ramblers walked from the Deserted Village to the Reservoir at Dooagh. The short walkers followed in the footprints of Paul Henry a famous Irish Painter on Keel Beach. The Club walked on “The Coffin Trail” on Sunday over Minaun.

The weather was good and the scenery spectacular and for once the club members got ample food to keep all happy in The Achill Island Hotel.  The club members appeared to be quite happy with their accommodation in the various B and B’s, Hotels and in Glendarrary Cottages. I would like to thank the people who travelled to Achill before the event to select suitable routes for walkers: Tom Rea and Loretta Needham.  I would like to thank the leaders on the week – end: Phil Clerkin, Matt Flesk, Tom Rea and Rosaleen Needham.

We look forward in anticipation to a trip to France in October in the St Dalmas De Tende Region, among the French Alps.

Tom Huban was Chairman previous to this. We thank him for his service. Within the terms of the existing constitution I was promoted by executive decision to the role of Chairperson in October 2008. I prepared this report under those terms.

It was with great sadness that we lost Patricia McCaul– a true stalwart of the Club and a fine singer. I would like to acknowledge all the deceased members of the club and their friends and relatives.

Finally, I hope everyone remains fit and healthy: keep walking.