Following the lifting of restrictions announced in early May, Sandmill Strollers have met on the first Tuesday of each month having regard for social distancing and the need to stay safe from Covid-19. We have decided to drive separately to local car parks instead of car-share. St Enda’s Park was the choice for our first walk on 2 June as there are wide paths, the walled garden is prioritised for cocooning people during the morning and there is a take-away coffee shop. It felt so good to meet up with friends and to chat as we walked around the park in the sunshine – thanks to OPW for providing this safe space. As I write this in September it seems strange to recall the feelings of anxiety that we were experiencing as we adjusted to life after lockdown. It was agreed to meet in St. Enda’s Park again for our July walk and this we did but on a rather wet afternoon. The early rain ceased and we enjoyed a lovely walk led by Irene as we explored the woodland areas and river (see write up below).
Cabinteely Park has good car parking and so on a beautiful summer’s afternoon, three of us gathered here for our August walk and we set off to walk to Tully Old Church (dedicated to St. Brigid) and Laughanstown. This is an area that is being rapidly developed for housing and soon will be transformed from a rural area to an urban new town. We made the most of the magical afternoon as we explored the river that flows through Druid’s Glen, the Brenanstown Portal Dolmen, the old crosses and churchyard at Tully. This against the background noise from the earthmoving machinery, but that did not spoil our enjoyment of a beautiful area.
In September we walked in Barnaslingan Wood and followed the Dublin Mountain Way for the first part of the walk which led us to the magnificent view across the scalp with uninterrupted views across Enniskerry towards the Wicklow Mountains. Perfect September weather and from the woodland paths we enjoyed stunning views across Dublin Bay towards Howth. Another beautiful place and which we hope will still be available to us for many years in the future. There is a proposed road development in the area which will undoubtedly bring changes.
Our October walk will take place on the first Tuesday of the month (6th) and will be to the Shelly Banks and the Great South Wall. We’ll meet at 1.30 pm at St Philip’s or 2pm at the car park beside the Shelly Banks. As has been stated regarding Covid-19 “being outdoors makes a real difference. Getting outdoors and having social interactions outside reduces the risks.” So, we will continue to meet and walk in the open air ensuring social distancing as we do so.
Sandmill Strollers – St Enda’s Park
This was our second trip to St Enda’s Park, Rathfarnham in as many months but conditions could not have been more different. Hopes that the walk might have been rained off were squashed when texts came in about revised parking arrangements. Surprisingly six hardy souls presented themselves, suitably clad for the elements. The walk commenced through the wooded part of the park over quaint bridges and beside picturesque follies. The Whitechurch stream which flows through the park later joins the Owendoder river, a tributary of the Dodder. We traversed the playing pitches and made our way up the drive to the Pearse Museum. The café beckoned and refreshments were enjoyed in the partially covered courtyard. The rain had cleared but the conversation flowed. The day concluded with a pleasant ramble around the freshly drenched walled garden where the colours and shapes were duly admired. Following a nod in the direction of Liam O’Neill’s wood carving in memory of the Pearse brothers we returned to the car park. The somewhat clandestine distribution of gooseberries from the boot of Sylvia’s car sent us back into the traffic with a smile on our faces. Thanks to Margaret and Jean for arranging the walks. They (the women and the walks!) are greatly appreciated.