Monday, December 14, 2009

The End

So that's the end of my little Irish adventure. Almost two years after arriving in Ireland I flew out of Cork yesterday (Thursday 10th Dec) to spend some brief time in Birmingham with Mum before heading off back to Jersey where I landed today (Friday 11th Dec).

I had every intention of staying in Ireland permanently but the combined effect of the wretched economy and personal financial circumstances mean that I am returning to the Channel Islands where I lived for over 30 years and where there is always a need for accountant-type people. I hope.

In due course I'll maybe write a proper retrospective. But for now, things I'll miss about Ireland.

• My many friends at Crusaders AC in Dublin - I just can't believe that I'll never see many of them again
• The Irish people
• Ringsend and Sandymount Strand
• The Athletics/Running/Triathlon forum on - I will still contribute I suppose but now as a bit of an outsider
• Waterford, despite a short and ultimately painful spell there
• My friends and relatives in Cork, especially my beautiful cousin Mary, her sister Ann, husband Henry and their impressive daughter Eibhlin together with my great and longtime friends Deirdre and Joan
• Guinness
• Setanta Ireland and RTE2 for their sports coverage

But I won't miss

• The circumstances that led to the birth of the so-called Celtic Tiger that ultimately handed us the present basket-case economy
• The lack of runnable footpaths and rights of way across private land that are taken for granted in the UK (and Jersey)
• Not being able to listen to Radio 5Live

I guess I'll start a new blog shortly (check profile) but for Roy In Ireland this is a wrap.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bat Out Of Cork

The present lousy weather isn't, of course, confined to Cork. However yesterday (Saturday) in the city centre was one of the gloomiest, wettest and windiest days it is possible to have. Happily the city has places like the excellent English Market and the Crawford Art Gallery to dry out in whilst hoping that the River Lee remains where it is on the spring tide. The recent flooding was most unwelcome with the Mardyke, including the first class UCC sports complex, being particularly badly damaged.

Today (Sunday) was a distinct improvement with only a couple of drenchings as I made my way from Togher up Spur Hill and into the countryside beyond. At three miles I hit a nice rhythm and, with a little right and left, found myself on a proper country lane - the type with grass growing down the middle. It is not so easy to find these in modern Ireland - lanes which lead pretty much nowhere and where the only traffic consists of those who occupy farms or properties along the road in question. The sun even came out on a couple of occasions and showcased many of Ireland's forty shades of green.

Turning around at six miles my iPod selected Meat Loaf's quite brilliant live version of Bat Out Of Hell - he certainly sounds better on that than he did at the Marquee in Cork last year. I was on the third repeat of the 11-minute track when one side of my earphones decided to pack up. Why is it that those things have a working life of only about 12 months? But it was no bad thing as, for the last few miles, I was able to fully appreciated the sights and sounds of the Cork countryside.

12 miles in 2:08 for just 22.5 miles on the week. And, if as seems likely, this was one of my last runs in Ireland, it was a nice one to go out on.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

1,000 Miles

I had resolved to do the final seven miles this morning and the weather gods weren't going to stop me. It was lashing down and the wind was howling as I set off from Togher up Spur Hill. Truly it was a day when the general populace is proved correct in regarding us runners as slightly insane.

Within 48 hours the wind had come around 180 degrees and was now blowing a gale from the south. I was instantly soaked through and quickly at that excellent point where I couldn't get any wetter. Glasses into pocket as being of little use in the circumstances I splashed through the puddles and streams and finally turned around at 3.5 miles.

At least it wasn't too cold. My thoughts turned back to the Jersey Half Marathon back in November 2007, the 9th and last that I organised. The conditions were similar to today but with a much lower chill factor. Three runners were hospitalised and many others treated by St John Ambulance for hypothermia. I consider that we were fortunate and still wonder if we ought to have cancelled the whole thing. A difficult decision as so many had travelled to Jersey especially for the race.

Whatever, I turned around today and with the contours and conditions now very much in my favour I scooted back at a fair old trot and fairly flew (for me) the last couple of miles in sub-8s.

In a year in which my running has been fairly aimless (since Connemara in the spring anyway) the 1,000 mile thread on has given me a bit of focus anyway and has got me on the road when I otherwise might not have laced up. So thanks guys.