A DIFFERENT WORLD: Walk openings, Award Ceremonies, Solstice Celebrations and Village Developments all added to emigrants returns, trad sessions in the local hostelries in making the Christmas and New Year seasonal events extra special in the locality.
AWARD FOR DAN: Windgap Club Founder Dan Phelan, former hurler, footballer, handballer, referee and lifelong GAA supporter will be the recipient of a Maurice Davin Award in the Carraig Hotel Carrick on Suir on Sunday 27th of December. The event will feature personalities of the past, current senior inter county stars and players of the future from the three counties of Kilkenny, Tipperary and Waterford that surround the town on the Suir. The event is open to the public commences at 3pm sharp and all are welcome.
BLESSING FORGE CRIB: The blessing of the Forge Crib will take place on Thursday night, Christmas Eve at 8.45pm just before the 9pm Vigil Mass at the other end of the village street. Christmas Carols will take place at the event if weather permits. Its location is on the site of John Walsh’s village forge with the iconic cut stone horse shoe shaped door. It follows the restoration of the forge frontage over recent weeks by a team of volunteer stone masons with Dermot Houlihan, Seamus Davis, Pat Walsh, Nicholas Hawe, Pat Cooke, John Lanigan, Shay Power and John Ryan being amongst the crew that added the latest enhancement.
WINTER SOLTICE: The Winter Solstice celebrated on Monday last the 21st of December at the Knockroe Passage Tomb known locally as "The Caiseal" attracted a large crowd on Sunday just twenty four hours its Morning and Evening Solstice. They arrived as the weeks of grey blanket clouds accompanied by unseasonably mild temperatures driven by southern and westerly winds moved away to give clearer skies. With the morning Solstice occurring around 8.40 am and the evening event one around 3.40 pm it gave an opportunity to visitors to fit in a visit to the unique site on their day off. Growing in popularity over the past thirty years the sites protection and promotion through local resident Johnny Maher, Professor Muiris O’Sullivan the local residents and the Board of Works has seen it transformed. Weather permitting it was hoped to have Muiris or Robert Duggan give an overview of the high amenity designated area and its history that is again under threat from proposed wind farm developments in the area.
WALKS OPENING: The opening of the two new “National Trails accredited Loop walks will take place on St Stephens Day in Windgap. With registration at eleven o’clock the walks roll out at 11.30. Part of the celebration of the opening of the walks will be refreshments in the Community Hall from 12.30 to 3pm. The fees are €10 for adults and €25 for families to cover the Walk signage and construction. Read on ….
HISTORICAL VILLAGE WALK: The Historical Village walk leaves the Lake and loops through the woodland, amenity area hurling pitch and church grounds. Skirting the Land League house built in Michael Davits time, the house is once again topical with evictions and mass population migrations worldwide. It then crosses the street in the village by the site of the former Dick Walsh’s pub and enters the new cemetery. It then travels via the unique Calvary Grotto with stunning views and pathways before returning by the old rolling cemetery to the village street. Swinging right out the front gate it returns by the newly restored forge. It takes about thirty minutes.
BEARNA BREAC WALK: The longer six kilometre walk leaves the village at the forge and goes by the old RIC Barrack ruins. Passing the village pump it goes up the Barrack Height and travels along the looping and rolling roadway through Oldcastle. With its extensive scenery to the left, in front and behind rising to the top of Blackbog, Kilmacoliver and Beatin, and then away to the high peaks of the Comeraghs and Slievenamon one trod along the foothills of Sliabh Díle where Fionn MacCumhaill hunted deer in mythical times as every bend then and now gave a new perspective. Lined at one stage with an avenue of winter bare sycamores, an array of gates, stone walls and gate posts catch the eye. On the way a grey crow stands sentinel like facing into the wind on one of an ivy clad line of old communication poles. Selecting one with steps, spindles and arms laden with pairs of insulators that once hummed like a guitar as the wind swept through its multiple differently tensioned copper wires. Looking down on the base of Slievenamon, the route takes a sharp right to the wooded Bearna Breac as it passes between sheltered bracken coloured ditches straight to the break in the forestry lined skyline. Promoting a more relaxed pace with grass along the middle of the roadway, the division between the plantations and grassland is pronounced with sturdy stone walls.
COILLTE LOOP: Swinging left off road by the stile the route follows a motorway style woodland path “into the West” where numerous log jumps set on tyres traverse the route and walkers are told they can only encounter horses riding by permit. With the views through the trees giving glimpses of the house bedecked plains stretching away to the North Kilkenny Plateau. The walk quiet and silent bar the wind in the trees, gives a glimpse of Callan town as it passes varying species of deciduous and coniferous trees of varying shapes and colour hues. Of varying ages sizes, one stand had taken the brunt of the westerly winds as they leaned over, were completely tumbled exposing the root masses or snapped like match sticks.
FAR FROM HAWKEYE: Looking up the straight trunks, one recalled the time before steel or aluminium goalposts were invented, when a good well trained eye was required to see the straight line to the very top of the canopy to select a pair for goalposts for the sports field. Cut, trimmed and shouldered away by a team of volunteers, the poles required skinning and a couple of coats of whitewash before they could be erected to decide the legality of a score by an old brown waxed hemp stitched ball. Lacking a net and often sporting a rope crossbar after over exuberance snapped a lighter pole it added to fare and excitement at the many adhoc evenings games in various fields. Along the Redstone roadway wildlife trails entered and exited left and right as young ferns, bluebell plants and mushrooms of all sizes shapes and colours could be seen.
HISTORY AND HERITAGE: Just as one could almost touch Tipperary and the famed slopes from Carraigmoclear that lie across the main road from Grangemockler to Killamery a sharp hairpin swept to the right taking the lower route back Eastwards. Down below many of the victims of the failed uprising in 1798 are buried in the grounds of the Church ruins near the high cross also noted for the Killamery Brooch. The new route featured increased birdsong, berried holly, colourful wild rose hips, and purple and pink spring flowers. Also to be seen were clumps of Shamrock, furze in flower, and blackberry blossom on autumnal speckled leaves as the roadway trunking turned grey with patches of white quartz. Picking out the mountains of Leinster the road swept right above the timber stack as the white gable of PJ’s House at the top of the road to Coolagh came into view. Along the way the communications mast, visible from both trails was the only artificial structure on an almost perfectly spotless trail as the loop was completed and the paths joined just inside the forestry gate.
HOMEWARD BOUND: Back on the road the downhill slope gives new perspectives on the landscape as the one, two to or three hours on the trail has changed the lighting, cloud formations and the views so many, that were missed on the outward trip. On St. Stephens Day refreshments music and song will greet all the participants in the Community Centre. See you there!
WREN BOYS and MOVIES: For the younger members there will be a Treasure Hunt and Movies for all in the Handball Alley from 2pm.
DEVELOPMENT MEETING: Great progress was made at the recent meeting of Windgap Community Development that took place on Tuesday evening week in the Club Rooms. The highlight was the presentation of extensive plans to upgrade the Parish Hall.
CARDS: The next Hurling Club Progressive 25 Card Drive will be held in Guinans on Friday night 1st. January and all are welcome.
BOUNDARY COMMISSION: Thanks are extended to all who were supportive of the submissions for the Boundary Commission on the Waterford border with Kilkenny. Additional ones can be delivered to any committee member of the local club before Jan. 13th.
CHRRISTMAS MASSES: The Christmas Masses will take place on Christmas Eve in Tullahought at 6pm and in Windgap at 9pm. On Christmas Day they will take place in Tullahought at 10am and in Windgap at 11am.
LOTTO RESULTS: The numbers drawn were 7, 11, 15, 20 and bonus number 21. The draw takes a break for two weeks when the prize fund is €4,950
YEAR BOOK: The Kilkenny GAA Year Book containing photos of the local hurlers, handballers, handball and footballers is now on sale in the local shops.
BRIDGE RESULTS: Winners at the Killamery Bridge Club game held in the Olde House recently were 1st. Maureen Cantwell, Peggy Vaughan. 2nd Noreen Kenneally, Annette Meagher. 3rd. Kitty Meagher and Noreen Kinsella. Best Gross Rita Houlihan, Kitty Meagher.
ANNIVERSARY MASS: The anniversary Mass for Sharon, Nadia and Zara Whelan takes place on Christmas morning in St. Nicholas Church in Windgap at 11am.
OUT AND ABOUT: As soon as the Christmas lights were erected and switched on, a pair of robins arrived instantly looking at the individual lights. After a few minutes deciphering the interruption, they set off flitting around the unlit parts of the hedge. In the prolonged wet spell the well maintained Road Margins in the Tullahought Tidy Towns area have been massacred by vehicles driving on them. A wet fox passing by foraging for snails in the grass would see anyone offer a home in the now so rare henhouse. In the stillness on Saturday evening the birdsong was only interrupted by footsteps in the sodden landscape as the sound of a fast running stream running strong and clear after the heights of the recent floods could be heard. Passing under the oak tree it turned white as it faced and tumbled over the vertical veins in its bed of the local slate formation. A regular haunt for the local pheasant family that had four chicks for the second year in a row, only the hen was present as the evening turned towards roosting time.
WELCOME HOME: A week before Christmas day the first arrivals from across the world arrived home
NUACHTLITIR: Information for the weekly Parish Bulletin at weekend Masses can be emailed to email@example.com or dropped into the Parochial House by Thursday evening. Mobile number (085) 8830756.
NOTES: Contributors and Clubs are invited to email items for publication with a name and contact number to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday evenings at 6pm. For all the local news and photos visit windgap.ie