On July 28th 2009, the Ballinasloe A.R.A's Walkers Group finally threw caution to the winds, donned raingear and telescopic brollies and ventured with some trepidation and fear into the wilds of the Irish bog lands. About 20 brave souls assembled at Creagh Church ----very symbolic --- at 10.00 hours. After a few moral boosting words from group captain Jimmy Lyons, and assurances from chief medical officer Noelle Rohan that medical supplies were above the suggested recommendations of the U.N. everyone felt somewhat relaxed. After some heart-rending farewells to loved ones and having received conformation of our soundness of mind, we struck out on the R357 for Shannonbridge, High Street, Colooney , Cloghan and finally Boora Parklands, our destination for the day. C.M .0. Rohan's group arrived late, having made a pit stop at Killeens of Shannon bridge ostensibly to ensure that refreshments would be ready on the return journey. Although nothing was said everybody realised that there was an ulterior motive for the stop, borne out by the wide grins and constant giggling of the group. The Boora Parklands consists of 4 distinct areas of interest. We confined ourselves to Area I .No doubt we will visit the others at a later date. These areas are a testament to the wealth of beauty that surrounds us on all sides. They do not provide the virtual reality beauty of modem technology they are reality. Coming from a generation to whom mere mention of bog meant weeks of hard labour in backbreaking positions, in a constant battle with the elements ,it was pleasant to have time to enjoy the wonders of the flora, and the absolute peace and tranquillity in surroundings so common we take them for granted. "What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stop and care. Here for a small while we could stop and stare. Every glimpse of nature we observe is a perfect picture, yet it is constantly changing. The sculptures in the bogland are beautifully placed and executed to remind us of power of nature and of mans feeble attempts to control it. The whole area of Boora is surrounded by history, history being merely a catalogue of changes. The road on which we parked was an old footway through the bog for generations of people to go to church and market, and area 4 represents a Mesolithic area all for another day! The trip home involved the now almost mandatory stop at Killeen's Pub, where as usual we received a warm welcome, beautiful soup and sandwiches, music performed by a Swiss country singer flown in for the day, Derry said. The meal was highlighted by another generous supply of fruit-cake to die for and tea or coffee. All in all, a wonderful day with wonderful people. I urge those who have not joined the walkers to do so. John Boland
Ballinasloe occupies a strategic location on the N6 National Primary route linking Dublin and Galway and is one of the principal gateways to the West. The town owes its origins to its location as a crossing point on the River Suck, a tributary of the Shannon, on the boarders of Counties Galway and Roscommon. It is the largest town in County Galway after Galway City, and its hinterland extends up to twelve miles from the town boundary into County Galway, and up to six miles into County Roscommon. The population of the town is almost 6,000 with a further 8,000 residing in the environs.