The Fermanamal joins the Dubs…
Co. Fermanagh, 19–20 May 2013
Author: Barry Monaghan
Present: Barry, UCD folks and more.
In the midst of exam stress the QUB cavers had disappeared to an unknown location. Meanwhile the Fermanamal was craving the blood of cavers so made an appearance at the Fermanagh Cavan Caving Club monthly meet. No not FCCC.
Here Fermanamal found both some seasoned and more virgin cavers and set about luring them back to his den. His plan failed and some caving (Pollaraftra) ensued, followed by a pointless pub visit (as no alcohol was consumed). After attempting to cook then eat a super-hot German pizza the alcohol began to flow and with the increasing consumption the Fermanamal found a new toy. Fire. The flames began to reach up into the chimney before breaking into the room and licking the candles atop the mantle. This was before the introduction of the VEGGIE OIL. Soon glass bottles filled with oil were boiling over in the heat of the fire and chunks of ash floating up the chimney. Meanwhile the scared and terrified UCD cavers ran across the fields expecting a bang. The Fermanamal dissatisfied with the lack of a big bang set about finding more fuel for the furnace while the lesser UCD people went off to sleep with the fear of not seeing the morning.
Morning came and all rise to the slightly better lit Hoo, talks of caving occurred over breakfast and continued over some Irish tea (Tetley with added whisky). Myself, Eszter and Mick set off for a quick swim in PollnaGollum leaving the dubs drinking tea.
No cavers were harmed.
Co. Monaghan, circa April 2013
Author: Barry Monaghan
Present: Rocky, Killer Courtney, Roisin and Barry.
WARNING – THIS IS A SENSIBLE TRIP REPORT, NO ALCOHOL OR OTHER DRUGS WERE CONSUMED DURING THE TRIP OR WHILE WRITING THE REPORT. CONTENTS MAY OFFEND THE NON-SERIOUS.
With Roisin finally in the car we set off to pick up the other pair in the big smoke. Thinking I’d take the scenic route to Carrickmacross we took the Mournes coastal route only to realise just how scenic the route is. After stopping at battle bridge something or other (nice wee spot for a skinny dip I reckon) we changed route through the centre of the spectacular hills where several feet of snow still stood at the roadside. An hour and some delicious brownies (thank you Courtney!) later we arrived in Carrick where we replenished our sugar levels yet again. It didn’t take too long to negotiate our way to the area of the cave, park the car and start searching for the entrance. It did however take some time to find and agree upon the entrance, maybe an hour of wading through rivers and streams and myself doing a small duck (only to find light on the other side) we found an entrance looking like the Creevy Cave we wanted. Of course it appeared to be flooded (we think), so we set off in the Barking Blue Terrier, wetsuits still fitted, to our second cave of choice, Aphuca. Well this was an interesting cave, being heavily polluted by motor oil (nothing to do with me, I swear) and the foul smell released from the gooey, deep and sticking mud beneath the river made it a very smelly oily sensation but managed to satisfy our needs. After attempting to clean ourselves off in the stream inlet and nearby lake we set off home stopping at an interesting tomb site and view point outside Newry. This was followed by a friar tucks, yum yum, then with more chocolate brownies for dessert we set off for the final time.
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!
Co. Fermanagh, 15–17 February 2013
Author: Barry Monaghan
Present: James Armstrong, Conor “Barney” McAdams, Sarah McFetridge, Catherine “Caggie” McGrade, Barry Monaghan, Conor “Nuts” O’Neill, Conor “Rocky” Winchcombe, and lots more.
All good things happen in threes. Right?
With the three committee members of QUB orchestrating things from three different places, myself at home in Dungannon, Barney at the QUBSU and Caggie somewhere in Belfast en-route to the bus depot, the weekend was about to unfurl. Of course it wouldn’t be a QUB trip unless there were transport issues and this trip was no different, in summary I had the gear in the purple dinosaur back in Dungannon, Barney was carrying 3 passengers in his tiny little starlet and the Fermanitee carrying the Asian half of the party, meanwhile Caggie organised a further 5 people on the bus to Enniskillen. The ensuing journey went rather smooth with me doing shopping in Enniskillen and meeting Barney and the bus folk in Spoons and making our way to the Hoo.
It was here we would stay and things would definitely get interesting….
We arrived to find a crowd of drunken southerners pretty much naked and making our Asian members feel slightly intimidated I imagine. As the night progressed and more alcohol was consumed clothes became more scarce (particularly McFaffin and Emi’s), Rocky also done the unthinkable after downing his 2l of Scrumpy. I will spare the details…
So with 25 people from 3 different clubs (lets not get into the nationalities of them all, there were many) things were cosy in the Hoo and the Purple Dinosaur too with 4 others sharing with me and some choosing to sleep in cars. When the morning came the woes of cooking breakfast were soon realised and with only 2 gas rings, 2 frying pans, some 20 odd meat lovers and 2 vegans the tension in the kitchen was palpable. The rest of the morning wasn’t too different to other caving trips, much faffing was done with Barney taking a group to use facilities in Bloodstones and the remaining cavers slowly gathered gear and prepared for the day ahead. On Barney’s return the rest of the group got organised and a callout was planned, ’twas soon realised we had too many heads and not enough wheels so plans of caving were changed (yes, more faffing). Meanwhile the doctor had arrived and explained he had motoring issues, the Yaris was a sick pup dribbling oil from its tiny heart. Myself, Rocky, Caggie, Nuts and Sarah decided to make tracks and abandon Barney with the mess, instead following a trail of oil to Bloodstones where we found the doctor watching the life drain from the Yaris. Finally the time came for caving…. we descended upon Boho caves in our full regalia only to be met by a group of school children coming out with rain coats and hard hats, feeling a little overdressed we continued and next moved on to an even easier Coolarkan (this is getting embarrassing now…). Our final cavern of choice was to be Frank Maguires yet again we found the doctor in poor form, this time crying into his pint, after having a few we returned to find the Hoo filled with the smell of cooking horses (and a hint of excrement). Dinner was had and a car rescued from the mud before returning to Maguires for another few rounds. More troops arrived and a jolly night was had.
The morning came and after a hearty breakfast (for some) things got underway, just not for long. The Dubs headed off and soon after there was word of a second dead car, this time a Starlet on the track from the Hoo, of course some faffing ensued but eventually the car was towed to Blacklion where it decided to come back to life again. All plans for going underground disintegrated and some set off for a walk (in protest I imagine), instead we made swiftly toward the bus depot in Enniskillen and of course found time for a feed in Spoons before separating with our colleagues. Myself and two others decided to spend another night in the womb of the purple dinosaur and upon settling in got news of the third and final death of the weekend. The bus.
A good laugh was had.