Merry Kerry 2016

By Evie Moloney

After a very successful 2016 of paddling, polo and the pursuit of new aquatic adventures, we finished the year off with a lovely trip to Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry. This annual pilgrimage is regarded as the highlight of the club’s calendar by many, with fresher, current and oldie club members alike joining up for a week of merriment, socialising and the opportunity to explore the beautiful scenery of the Wild Atlantic Way. For me, this was my first “Merry Kerry” trip and I absolutely must say that it most definitely lived up to the hype accredited to it, with many new skills learned, techniques perfected and friendships forged.

19251181_1850318628518385_1084538898_nGeorge and Naddy on a hiking adventure in the Kerry Mountains
Photo credit: Naddy Jones

Despite the low river levels due to suppressed rainfall coming up to Christmas, we successfully managed to run the Lower Caragh River and there was very much fun had by all. As my first experience of paddling in a watercourse beyond the Liffey and the Baltic Boyne I was stunned by the gorgeous scenery and very much enjoyed the peaceful drifting of the native wildlife, with several exciting heron sightings logged. This was the largest group I’d paddled with before and it was a great experience to get to run with a group of paddlers consisting of Level 5 expert paddlers (who were always on hand with accidental swim survival tips), seasoned polo players and newcomers to the river.

19243996_1850319368518311_995368559_nHappy paddlers after running the Lower Caragh!
Photo credit Simon Grennell

A huge attribute of Kerry is the opportunity to meet up with all the other canoe and kayak clubs, including UL, UCCC and NUIG. It offers a great chance to meet like-minded kayak enthusiasts before the rush and bustle of the February Intervarsities Kayaking Competitions.
UCDCC’s Merry Kerry is a wonderful way to finish off the Christmas holidays, and allows for the opportunity to get out on the open water for a week (a rather nice alternative to the conventional post-Christmas slump of a food induced coma supplemented with idle family bickering).

19357488_1850324095184505_5244399_n.pngUCDCC exploring Torc Waterfall!
Photo credit: Naddy Jones

19239663_1850324878517760_1402184849_n.pngIn the dunes!
Photo credit: Deividas Rainys

On the third day of Kerry, we got the opportunity to participate in a RSR1 (River Safety and Rescue 1) course, very kindly provided by Kieran McKevitt. This was my first experience of river rescue, apart from lifesaving and, despite the rather nippily cold water; it was a very enjoyable and informative day, with lots of experiential learning for all involved!

19239834_1850319991851582_1344831117_nAll smiles after completing RSR 1

Most evenings involved an enthused crew of varying participants preparing a lovely dinner for all, with Deividas’ Tikka Masala becoming a very happily received hit amongst ravenous paddlers.  This feasting was then followed by a night of delightful drinking and mandatory merriment, with most evenings resulting in a trip to the Towers pub.
This public house, our then captain Sara Griffin (a proud Glenbeigh native), can verify, is simply absolutely fabulous. Warmly greeted by Breda and the legendary Patch, a dog caught in a rather compromising drinking-from-the-toilet-bowl-position one night by a bemused Naddy Jones, the Towers is highly regarded as the absolute Mecca of Glenbeigh. It was great place to mix and mingle with both other club’s paddlers and the locals, with the latter having a political moment one evening when they proclaimed the virtues of a certain Kerry native politician to me, subsequently finding myself the proud owner of a rather lovely Michael Healy Rae 2017 calendar.
19357434_1850320765184838_293868641_n.pngPrivileged to get a photo opp. with official MHR merchandise
Photo credit: Deividas Rainys

A major highlight of Kerry is the annual Pub Quiz in The Towers. This highly competitive event is organised by the club’s PRO, who was the wonderful Niamh Delaney this Kerry. In teams of five we battled it out through rounds of music, medicine, general knowledge and a round of dingbats too.

18518757_1850318561851725_166666149_n.pngRosses’ Baes” puzzling over the medicine round
Photo credit: Naddy Jones

After every couple rounds we had a challenger event where a task had to be completed. The first task involved a prize for the first two teams whose elected members swapped outfits with each other first. This saw various stages of frantic undress and exchange of garments, with a very proud Yvette and Simon as winners. Many compliments on Simon’s lovely shoulders ensued, and he even rivalled Ross Kerrigan on who wears skirts the best.

19264869_1850318538518394_1955341461_n.pngTask Winning!
Photo credit: Naddy Jones

The next task was announced as the first team to buy a bag of chips from the local chipper. Utter calamity ensued with frantic scrambling through the pub and jostling into the chip shop. The scene visible was less than a far cry from the canoe polo battlefield as rival teams begged, bartered and battered each other to be served first. While wrestling with relentless opponents, and (successfully) bribing the lovely chip shop owner with a very pretty pen (which he has since framed), our team hastened back to The Towers, chips in hand, and then victory for that task was ours!

19369831_1850318608518387_649151179_nOverall Quiz Champions 2016!
Photo credit: Naddy Jones

New Year’s Eve was a really lovely evening with UCDCC! After a most delicious meal in The Towers, we headed back to the hostel to don appropriately festive attire before a little predrinking and then heading back to The Towers for New Year’s celebrations! It was most definitely the first time everyone was wearing something other than a jeans/ joggers/hiking boots/ the lovely UCDCC hoodie combo and the girls were just gorgeous and the boys most handsome.

Matching shirts on NYE!
Photo credit: Naddy Jones

A fabulous evening of festivities and fun ensued with a big Happy New Year countdown at midnight as UCDCC welcomed in a new kayaking year!
Merry Kerry was, and promises to continue to be, an absolutely amazing experience, with new friends made, old friends reconnected with, lots of partying, lovely paddling and an entire metric tonne of wonderful, wonderful memories to treasure for years to come!
All made possible by the wonderful 2016 committee! ❤
Special thanks to Naddy Jones, our Camera Queen Extraordinaire!
Go Go UCD Disco Paddlers and roll on Merry Kerry 2017!

19369681_1850318505185064_1818286586_n.pngHappy New Year!
Photo credit: Naddy Jones

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