Cycling Light Horse

What the hell does that title mean? All will be revealed, presently.
My father was from the Glen of Aherlow in Co.Tipperary, a lovely valley at the foot of Galteemore, the highest of the Galtee Mountains, and for you lovers of mountains, a Munro. Aherlow is correctly pronounced Aherla, as the name Aherlow was coined by a Tipperary Poet, Charles Kickham, because he wanted it thus to suit the rhyme of a poem which he wrote.
In the Glen of Aherla, therefore, there were three families of O'Briens. Now everyone knows that O'Brien is pronounced Oh Bry en, but in the Glen it's called Brine, without the "O". So, there were three basic families nicknamed as follows. Brines the Cross, Brines Light Horse, and Brines Burnt Arse. The Cross family were from a crossroads, the Light Horse family were descended from one who served in the British Cavalry long ago, and the Burnt Arse were descended from a man who'd fallen into a large porridge pot as a child. All perfectly logical.

Yesterday I went cycling on my own. Even though mostly I cycle in company, I greatly enjoy cycling on my own, because I love to take it easy if I'm thus inclined, I love to chat with people I meet en route, I love to explore, and most of all, if the light is good, I love to take photographs. I have to compromise somewhat when I'm with others. When I'm on my own, I may take all day on a 40-50 mile spin, and sleep like a log at night.
It was foggy when I got up and it persisted for some time. I cycled into town and headed down The Marina. The Marina is a road which runs along the river towards Cork Harbour.
The river and harbour were shrouded in mist at this juncture and I think that a rowing regatta was brewing because there were numerous boats and rowers on the river. Rowing has always been fairly popular in Cork. I never remember a Cork oarsman being particularly good, but on the canoeing front, I used to cycle with Declan O'Donovan from Ballincollig years ago, a phenomenal athlete, and he, now sadly dead, won the celebrated Devizes to Westminster canoe race twice, with a friend from Ballincollig. Declan could cycle around the Macroom Circuit which is over 42 miles at 25mph on his own, with little training. I never managed more than 20.75mph on my own.

From The Marina you have two options to cycle along the harbour. One is to continue straight, through Blackrock, past Blackrock Castle and along the shore walk around Ringmahon to meet the old railway line path which continues along the shore to Passage West. The other is to go straight onto the said path and to skip the Ringmahon loop. The Ringmahon loop is very popular with walkers on a Saturday, but I did it anyway. I met a colleague, her husband and their dog on this.

The dog is called Setanta and this is after Setanta Ó hAilpín, a phenomenal young hurler who went to Australia to play Aussie Rules and is still there, much to the anguish of Cork People. This lad is about 6'6", very fast and very powerful. He would've been a great number 8 in rugby as well, I imagine.

I continued around the Ringmahon loop where you have a broad view of Cork Harbour, one of the biggest harbours in the world. Ringmahon is called by those who like to pronounce as they spell Ring Mah'on but is called by "ignorant" people Ringmaan. They are of course right, as it's Irish. In Irish Rinn Meán. It means the middle peninsula. The man in the street is usually right in such matters!

From there onto the path which leads to Passage West. This is always a pleasant cycle on a path shared by walkers. I reach the Carrigaloe Ferry which is served by two boats which were at the Kyle of Lochalsh until the bridge to Skye was opened.

Onto the still mist-shrouded island

and then around the island which I've described before, past the Bridge and old ruined castle at Belvelly,

until I reach the small strand in Cuskinny at the foot of Cuskinny Hill.
Here I had amazing light and horses on the beach. Photographic paradise. I always cycle with cameras, just in case. My Panasonic G1's were hauled out of my handlebar bag and I took a couple of dozen photos, of which these are some.

This was my light and my horse!

Up the animal Cuskinny Hill and shot this telephoto shot of the western part of the mouth of Cork Harbour. The mist was by now gone in Cobh, but still evident in the distance

On I went into Cobh where I had a lovely Panini and a coffee in a coffee below Cobh Cathedral.

Back I went to the ferry and on the way back took the more direct route to The Marina, along the old Railway line

and then, the uneventful cycle home.

36 miles of easygoing fun. I slept well that night.

5 comments on “Cycling Light Horse”

  1. Kern wrote:

    Well, Garry, I'd say you got the light right on those photographs of the horses, so there are at least two reasons for this blog to be "Cycling Light Horse". Ireland is truly amazing for cycling, or at least it was for us, and your posts always remind us of it.

    Now, "Burnt Arse" – that must have been one big pot of porridge!

  2. Alan wrote:

    That looks like a great place to cycle, and the photos have captured it well.

  3. Patrick wrote:

    Nice photos, good story.

    Garry wrote: ... families nicknamed as follows ... Brines Light Horse ... the Light Horse family were descended from one who served in the British Cavalry long ago.

    A fine read: The Reason Why by Cecil Woodham-Smith (a woman). Traces the origins of the Charge of the Light Brigade to misdeeds of its commander, Charles Bingham (third Earl of Lucan), in Ireland in the 1830s.

  4. Garry wrote:

    I heard of the book, and at home we had her book, The Great Famine, but I didn't read it. Too depressing for me!!
    I read happy material these days.

  5. Mary wrote:

    Garry, these photographs are superb! I love them... Certainly if I were one of the riders on horseback, I would love one of these made big, framed and on my wall. You are so good at getting it just right. Atmosphere, content and light... Utterly brilliant.

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