Thursday, February 11, 2010

A walk in the park.

It was Mark Twain that said "golf is a good walk ruined" now I have little doubt that that many people will argue against that statment. But I always tell my photography class that a camera definitley can add imense pleasure to any walk, so also can the company you have on your walk. Today I was joined on a walk around the park in Templemore by one of lifes gentlemen Mr. Paddy Baines. Originally from Feakle Co. Clare it was his work with Coilte that brought Paddy to Templemore more than fourty years ago. Between his work on Borrisnoe mountain and the knowledge gained from membership of the local historical society you could not ask for better company as you stroll around this incredibly beautiful park. The first time I entered the park in Templemore I honestly thought that it must be one of the best kept secrets in Tipperary. There are two entrances one near the post office in the centre of town and one off the Roscrea rd. You will find pleanty of parking space at most times in the park itself. When you start to walk down towards the lake in the park you hang a right and almost immediatly you will see the ruins of an old church in front of you surrounded by a little moate. The church was built in 1200 and was dedicated to The Blessed Virgin, it was from this church infact that Templemore takes its name. As you leave the site of the church you pass the pitch and putt course, if you do not share Mark Twains sentiment you could perhaps try your hand. We however are here to walk and continue to follow the pathway around the lake, after going over the bridge the pathway forks in a couple of different directions, it is really up to yourself how long or short you want to make the walk, but none of the routes are to long. We followed the path to the right as Paddy was anxious to show me a few horse chestnuts that are probably a few hundred years old. These magnificant trees tower above us and dwarf many of the younger trees in the vacinity. We double back however now and we follow the pathway that skirts the lake, a little further on and you come to another historical site, The Black Castle, this castle was built by the Butlers of Ormonde in 1450. It was later occupied by the Cardens in 1698 and if you were studying the headstones in the church graveyard you will have come across this name.Another family that has associations with the Black Castle are the Purcells, who many will know owned near by Loughmore Castle, the Purcells of course were great patrons of our gaelic games. From the castle you can continue your walk around the lake and back to the carpark.
This park is incredible in its beauty but the most remarkable thing is that many people will have probably driven through Templemore many times without knowing the park exists. Whether you are interested in history or not you will enjoy a visit. While I was in the park I saw a fantastic range of wild birds, you also have plenty of birds who have become more accustomed to human contact. Many people were feeding the swans and ducks, a few were going for their daily walk with the dog. I was in the park in summer in the past and it could easily be mistaken for a park in any city around the world. They keep the park in excellent condition, you can have a picnic, weather permitting, and laze around on a sunnyday. The problem with telling people about a beautiful place like this is that it maybe to busy the next time you return. Paddy and I actually did a couple of rounds of the lake, I was really enjoying our chat and I can only hope that Paddy felt the same. We were really fortunate with the weather it was a glourious sunny winters day. The park also boasts a childrens play ground, as well as an adults exercise area. So for anyone who is feeling really energetic you can run around the lake a few times, followed by a light work out. I also asked Paddy about the fishing stands and he informed me that their is course fishing on the lake, permits and info. available from the post office. I can see from the upkeep of the park that the people of Templemore are very proud of their park and rightly so, any visitor to the county of Tipperary would be delighted to take a strole here. As I said goodbye to Paddy I promised not to leave it as long between visits and I would call soon for a cup of tea. Something struck me as I drove away from the house, this man wasn't originally from Templemore and yet he probably knew as much,if not more than many who had lived in the area all their lives, I would safely say that Templemore has found a special place in this Clareman's heart.

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