The Nire Valley

The Nire Valley
The Heart of the Comeragh Mountains.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Cinderella and the squirel.

Nire Valley
Ever wonder about Cinderella and the wisdom of wearing glass slippers? We'll more about that later. One of the great natural sights in the Nire Valley at the moment are its red squirrels. Around October every year the squirrel population in the valley become more visible, they seem to be in a mad hurry to gather stores for the approaching winter. We are luck in the valley that the grey* squirrel has not, yet, invaded the area, but they have been seen at the edge of the valley about two miles west of Ballymacarbry.
Self -service
The native red squirrel population was wiped out before but the species was reintroduced, one interesting feature of the Irish Red squirrel is the predominance of a white tip on their tail, watch out for it the next time you see one.  Mammals in a Sustainable Environment (MISE)
are involved in studying the red squirrels in the Nire Valley and they use special tubes that gather samples of hair from the squirrel that can be used to collect DNA and give us an insight to the squirrel population in the valley. 
Squirrel fur was once highly valued as a trim on clothing and this brings us back to Cinderella and her glass slippers. Cinderella is a  fairy tale of French origin and in French Squirrel fur was called "vair" another word pronounced the same but spelled different is "vere" meaning glass. So was the tale of Cinderella mistranslated, who knows and there are several sites on the internet where it is debated. But an English word that has a common root with squirrel fur is "variegated". In heraldry squirrel fur is represented by blue and white pattern and is called variegated. 

PS.* I started this blog ten days ago and in that time I have confirmed the sighting of grey squirrel in the Valley along the Nire Road. One hopes the local gun club can control the numbers.

 More information on squirrels and how to spot squirrel activity in your area can be found on the MISE Facebook site.
Squirrel feeder

The Grey Squirrel- Nire valley.

Red Squirrel photos by
Thomas Crotty.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Nire Valley Drop.

There are few places where you encounter nature in the raw. There are even fewer places where you and your bike can challenge nature knowing if you don’t tame nature it will tame you. In years to come when all is forgotten the whisper of the words “Nire Valley Drop” will get you adrenaline pumping as you smile and say “I was there too”.

The Nire Valley where we do it in the wild…….

Where? Ballmacarbry, Waterford, Ireland.

When? 11am, Sunday October 27th 2013.

What is it? The Nire Valley Drop is an off road cross country cycle challenge, up hill and down hill, crossing forestry and moorland.

How much? €25

Is it a fundraiser? Half of the funds raised at the Nire Valley Drop will go towards Community Development Programmes on the island of Île à Vache in Haiti, where volunteers will return with Haven next Easter from 18th¬-27th April 2014. The remainder of the funds will go towards the Nire Football Club.
Can I register online? Course,

What about on the day? You can also sign-in/register on the day from 9:30 in Ballymacarbry Hostel and Community Centre.

Where do I sign in? You must sign-in no later than 10:40am at Ballymacarbry Hostel and Community Centre.

Where does the cycle leave from? The cycle leaves from Ballymacarbry Hostel and Community Centre at 11am.

How to I get there for Dublin? Allow 3hrs from the Red Cow. Take the M8 (to Cork) and come off at Cahir junction 10. Take the Waterford, Clonmel road after that, when you arrive in Clonmel head for Dungarvan, Ballymacarbry is 10 miles from Clonmel.

What do I need to bring? The cyclists will need to bring a helmet, 2 tubes, change of clothes, cycling gloves, a small first aid kit and a bike suitable for tough terrain. Please note: Cyclists with no helmet will not be permitted to partake in the Nire Valley Drop. 

Do I need cycling experience? Anyone can take part but it will be an added advantage to have road cycling experience. The track is challenging in parts but thoroughly enjoyable.

How long is the trail? There are two options; 20km and 40 km.

What if I choose the 40km and change my mind? There will be "Cut-outs" on the 40km course, this means you could go on the 40k course and then short circuit a leg and thus ride 30k instead. We have about 4 cut-outs. We will have maps on the day, and advise from locals.

What happens after the cycle? There will be soup and brown bread available at the Community Centre after the cycle. Tea and coffee will also be available.

Are there showers? Hot showers are available (although we cannot promise for how long the hot water will last!).
Lastly, the Drops?
1. Condons Drop 4.3km Forest Track Fast Descent
2 .The Horseshoe Drop 9.22km Single Track mud
ClimbMarkley KOM Start climb 12.2km Forest Track / Boreen
3. Halpin's Drop 13.67km Single Track Steep descent
4. Coffin Drop 15.52km Single Track Rocks / Fast Descent
5. Tear Drop 15.8km Single Track Rough Terrain
6. Rocky Drop 18.62km Single Track Rocky Steep Decline
7. Hunters Drop 18.88km Single Track Steep Decline
8. Woodcock Drop 19.55km Single Track Fast decline
9. HAVEN Drop 20.4km Single Track / Firetrack Rough Terrain
10. Cannonball Drop 21.85km Single Track Steep decline / Rough Terrain
11. Bambi's Drop 22km Forest Track Grassy surface
12. Yahoo Drop 25km Single Track / Firetrack / Road Rough Surface / Tarmac
13. Lynch's Drop 27.27km Single Track Steep Descent
14. Nire Valley Drop 28.48km Single Track Steep Descent
15. TEAL Drop 29.68km Single Track Rough Terrain
16. Badgers Drop 31.3km Firetrack Rough Terrain
17. The Chicken George Run 33.23km Single Track Steep Decline / Rough Terrain
18. Abhann Drop 36.5km Single Track Rough Terrain and stream.

Youtube video of the drop.

Monday, 7 October 2013

The magic of a mushroom.

Autumn’s warm colours are about to appear, the bronze, gold and yellows of the leafs are about to show in Autumn's nature collection. I will be looking out for one small piece of perfect fire-brigade red that will appear about now. The Fly Agaric mushroom (Amanita muscaria) is the iconic red with white spotted mushroom that you first saw as a child, depicted in books of Fairy Tales. Well what ever about the tales in the book the red and white mushroom does exist and is relatively easy to find especially at this time of year, October.
The toadstool or the Fly Agaric is commonly found near pine plantations, the mushroom is hallucinogenic and poisonous. It got its name because it was believed that mixing it with milk was used to kill flies.  In some quarters you may read that this was the mushroom taken by Viking warriors to throw them in to a mad rage and they were called Berserkers, but that story has been dismissed.
I know our Sunday walk (Oct 13th) should come across a mushroom or two as the weather is ideal for their growth.

We came across them on the Archaeology walk on Sunday.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Nire valley Autumn walking festival October 2013.

There is a walk for you at the 2013 Nire Valley Autumn Walking Festival. This may be a chance for you to try walking and hiking as a possible healthy activity. It is never too late to start a New Year's resolution.
All the walks are graded and so we have taken the guessing out of which walk you should part take in.
The A and B+ walks are for people who hike regular, weekly or 2 or 3 times a month year round.
The B walks are for those who go hiking 1 to 2 times a month, while the C walks are for those who have a level of fitness that would allow them walk for 4 hours with plenty of stops. The C walks are a great place to get started on the hiking trail. Even within the C walks on offer there is some gradation. The walks on Sunday are a little easier than the Saturday walk, but don't let that put you off the Saturday walk.

 The B walks also have some gradation, on Saturday the Coumfea walk will be a little harder than the other two with the "Way They Went" being the easier of the three B walks on Saturday.

While on Sunday the B walk to Coumshingaun will provide the biggest challenge of the three B walks, again, with "The Way They Went" walk to Rathgormack being a very pleasant walk for all concerned.

If you are staying for the Week-end we have an Apres Walk Dinner on Saturday night. Which is always good fun.

For a full brochure visit our website Nire Valley.

You will need boots no matter what level you part-take, rain gear ( it is Ireland) some sandwiches and water and tea or coffee. A bar of chocolate or raisins are also encouraged, after all you will be walking it off.

Registration is at the Nire School, beside the Nire Church, and check brochure for details.