The Edmund Rice Walk from Kilmacthomas to Clonea was held on a beautiful, sunny 28th May. This was one of a number of events organised this year by the Christian Brothers (Europe ) Vocations Group. The theme for the day was “Journeying Together for Mission” and the walk was in solidarity with refugees and migrants.
It was appropriate that our journey started in Mount Sion which operates a major support centre for migrants and refugees. There was a welcoming cup of tea/coffee and an opportunity for the walkers to get to know each other. Don O’ Leary was with a group from the Cork Life Centre and Br. Pat Madigan arrived with a large contingent of teachers from O’ Connell Schools, both primary and secondary. There were others from different parts of the country. Dia, who now lives in Cork, but originally from Brazil, added an international dimension to the day. I did hear another voice which I thought was American but forgot to make acquaintance with the person.
Patricia Shanahan was our guide for the day and explained a little about the route and the history associated with the area. The walk from Kilmacthomas to Clonea is a new Green Way along an old railway line and will be officially opened in August. The walk was about 16km but all on the level. The countryside was just beautiful on this sunny day with clear views of the fields, valleys and mountains.
As we progressed along the journey we had the opportunity to meet new people and to chat. About an hour into the walk we had a welcome break for some food, drink and photographs. Off again on the second leg of the journey and before long we had a view of the sea and then we knew we were nearing our destination. Saying that it was still quite a journey away. Along the way we met other individuals, families and groups either walking, running or cycling. After about 3 hours we reached the outskirts of Clonea and by that stage my energy was beginning to flag. The good thing was that the minibus that brought us from Mount Sion to the start of our walk was waiting to ferry us the last leg of the journey to the Clonea Strand Hotel where we were served beautiful scones with tea/coffee. Clonea was very busy on the day with a Children’s Triathlon. We had time for a walk on the beach and an ice cream cone. You couldn’t be beside the sea without having a ’99.
At about 3.30pm we headed back to Mount Sion where the Peace Choir, led by Phil Brennan, entertained us with their beautiful singing. Br. Pat said a few inspiring words about the Blessed Edmund Rice Chapel and we ended the day with the Edmund Rice Prayers.
It was a wonderful day to enjoy the beauty of the Waterford countryside, to renew old acquaintances and make new friends and at the same time engage in a very healthy activity. Thanks to all who made the day a success especially to Br. Phil Ryan and the Vocations Team. Below is a short video of the day.