The 12-hour trip
Student Caving Forum, Co. Clare, 29–1 April 2013
Author: Barry Monaghan
Present: Sean “Major” Barker, Al Kennedy, Sean “Miner” McAnulty, Barry Monaghan and more.
It truly all began on the 28th when we met up to pick gear and all of a sudden found ourselves holding a bottle of tequila, kahlua, several bottles of wine and a large quantity of beer. Yes we were preparing for a desperate day, a day tragically named Good Friday. Good Friday means only one thing to us lot though, Student Caving Forum time.
With a team of 12 people travelling it was a large turnout and so the Purple Dinosaur was commissioned to transport the holy liquids (alcohol) and an elite team of CUNTS. The following morning came, all too soon for some, we met by the union at a very eager 0930 yes AM! After a quick faff we left on an epic journey to a fairly ordinary forum. Off set the rather womanising ford followed by the Majorly dull VeeDub followed by the Purple Dinosaur. The journey had a slow start (it was slow in general) but after Rocky picked up supplies in Enniskillen (before crossing the border where alcohol is prohibited on this strange day) things finally started to get interesting, soon after we found ourselves starting to split with Al being left at Glencar lake and waterfall (was a great view from the main road) myself and Major headed with the troops for food in Sligo where the slightly infamous 4 lanterns was checked out before splitting with Major and Co. From this point the journey took more detours than main roads.
Our first detour was to the Carrowmore megalithic tombs where the 5 of us crawled inside and having had an early lunch the fellas decided it was a good time to open the wine and have a few swigs whilst sitting inside the tomb. Standard QUB stuff. From here we progressed south and not long after joining the main road we left it… This time we were off to a castle, yes a castle. To be precise it was a hotel booked out for a wedding the following day, being a private thingy (and the bar lady thinking we were with the party?!?) we even got a pint! On good Friday! After a guided tour of the grounds (by Sean Miner) we left and actually managed to cover some ground! The Purple Dinosaur trundled along happily at 40mph while all the occupants (myself included) enjoyed some more red wine and took in the Sligo and Mayo countryside. Upon coming across Knock we couldn’t resist the temptation to stop and see what all the mass-going-types flocked here to see. There were many shrines and statues, not particularly interesting, though there was also taps that dispensed holy water (no not the alcoholic kind) this was used as a mixer for the home brew rum. After filling 10l of the stuff into drums we set off admiring the amount of empty bottle selling shops but puzzled at the lack of watering holes (pubs) in an Irish town?? The rest of our journey was only to be interrupted by Barney using the facilities at a random kebab shop on the N18 followed by Rocky stopping to admire the collection of “voluptuous ladies XXX” magazines. We arrived at our destination (almost disappointed our journey had come to an end) with quite the welcome, possibly because it was the purple dinosaur but more likely because we had been carrying the entire QUB alcohol and food supplies!