Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


Along The Canal

lockgatesOn a beautiful morning the only gig in town is to walk the canal. It may be October but a fine autumn morning is as good as you’ll get and that slight chill in the air only adds to the magic of the moment. The still water of the canal, recently cleaned I guess as the gatherings of flotsam in the Basin are gone, reflects the low morning sun and the clear sky above. The crews of Tralee Rowing Club are gliding through the sun sparkled surface; trainees getting stiff advice from cycling coaches and the young coxes, snuggled up in their warm gear, are following the orders on the water.

It really is a lovely scene and at nine in the morning just the odd passing car is breaking nature’s silence. Lisa and I are taking Daisy for a walk and we are not the only ones. There are cyclists making their way to Blennerville, weaving in and out of the walkers. Couples are walking their dogs and at one stage a runner pushing a buggy with a baby inside is followed by his partner plugged into her phone. Everyone looks happy, though some do look as if the breakfast can’t come quickly enough. Young men are running at a good pace and we pass one older man who may be bad on his legs but is still doing the walk. There aren’t any chatters, those groups of two or three, who stop to catch up on their lives. Sometimes one will stop to greet another to soon be joined by a couple out for a stroll. This, I’ve noticed, tends to be an afternoon or evening event; the people out at this time of a morning have more of a purpose. I love walking past these groups and overhearing odd snippets of conversation such as ‘he’s doing fine now’ or ‘that won’t be happening again’.  Who or what I’ll never know. Last week, as I came along, an elderly group were going their separate ways and the wife in the couple coming towards me said: ‘Oh she was always the prettiest of the sisters’, to her husband. A belief, without seeing the other sisters, I could attest to as I passed their friends ahead.

There are also the troubled looking souls you see on any nice walk at that time o20161012_093430f the day. Usually it is a man, walking a Jack Russell or some other Heinzer type dog, who for one reason or other look as if they’ve had a bit of a bad turn in life. Some may just be lonely and are only too happy to say hello as you pass. Some will stop and admire Daisy or laugh at how two mutts will bark at each other for nothing just to argue who is the cutest. There are others who have the look of the drinker, the rheumy eyes giving away how they may spend the rest of their day. One man I pass from time to time has the bearings of an ex-drinker; the broken blood vessels in his face and the yellow stained fingers are testament to many hours spent chatting at the bar counter. He now looks healthy though and as I often meet him in the evening too, sober without the scent of drink in the air, I guess walking is his way to stay off the sauce. Others won’t catch your eye, though some may return a greeting while walking on, as privacy is their only protection from the world. These people look at peace on the canal and show how much of a benefit the place is to us all.

The council has spent a lot of money recently on improving the walkway. It is now wider than be20161012_093606fore, surfaced in fresh tarmac and the lighting comes on about seven in the evening. This is a resource that is free to use and will repay the investment by keeping its users healthy, mentally as well as physically. Walking into the sunset along the canal is like being part of a scene from a Hollywood movie, while on a bright morning it is the picture perfect beginning to a day. On rainy days it may not be as attractive but you will be off the road, walking on a good track and will only feel the better for it. Those who use it know the benefits, while those yet to try it should do and discover more of what is on their doorstep.


Posted by John Verling

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