Ireland's Eye 2011

(by Gerry Moss, September 2011)
The annual fun day out, including a surprise new route.

There were just under twenty members on Joe’s Ireland’s Eye meet on Saturday: an eclectic mix of young and old, experienced and tyros. It was heartening to see Christy Rice back out on rock after all these years and enjoying the day to the full. A key figure in the development of Luggala during the early seventies – you will find his name on some of the biggest routes there: The Gannets, Banshee and Messiah, to mention just some of his achievements. Also with us was Niamh, grand-daughter of the late Eddie Gaffney, who was an active member of the IMC away back in the 1960s and Simon Murphy, whose father was active back in the 1970s.

The IMC has been involved with Ireland’s Eye since the club’s earliest days and it is good to see that this traditional meet, which has waxed and waned down through the years, is still going strong. Because this is an excellent meet for our newer members – educational as well as enjoyable. Although a fun day in the main, the climbs, though mostly easy, have an air of seriousness about them that you won’t find in the equivalent grades in Dalkey Quarry, and this helps impress upon beginners the importance of sound belays, good anchors and careful belaying technique.

On Saturday the fun started as soon as we all crowded onto the small boat ferrying us across to the island. We were shepherded on our way by a small school of porpoises, greeted by a small herd of seals and serenaded by the large colony of gannets on the outer stack. The weather wasn’t just perfect – it was ideal, with a little of everything. We had some pleasant sunny spells, an occasional squally shower, good drying winds and the odd strong gust, all helping to keep us on our toes. It spite of all the rumours one hears, we weren’t bothered at all by the alleged large population of rats, and there wasn’t a fulmar in sight. We even had a first ascent, by Simon and the bold Christy (who else), the first new contribution on the island for many years.

Joe was rightly pleased with the turnout on his first-ever effort at organising a meet – let’s hope he will continue to keep this tradition alive for many more years to come.

Speed bonny boat …

Base camp

Looking down at The Waiting Room on the Southeast ridge

Seán enjoying the airy Southeast ridge with the Outer Stack and the gannet colony behind him

The ab. point above the North Col