Posted: 18th October 2013

The first Sunday “Grand Day Out” of the year saw a group of 40 boys head off to Sligo’s Strand Hill on a beautiful sunny day (22nd September) with Mr. Steven Gray and Gappie, Dan Sheehan. Sean Brogan (Elements) was there for the CWC website and he filed this report…

‘We got Mass at 8.00am, had a hearty breakfast and made packed lunches with plenty of extra filled rolls as a day at the beach always gives an appetite. Many of us slept on the white Bartons’ bus on the way down; some listened to our iPods or played on iPads, while others exchanged stories about previous experiences surfing.

When we arrived at Strand Hill we were quickly briefed by our coach Paul, a surfer from New Zealand and were taken to a safe stretch of water. There were surfing professionals from Ireland and abroad to teach us how to go about catching a good wave and to watch our progress. There were plenty of good waves available and we were told that the previous day the surf school had moved its surfers to Rosses Point as a storm had brought in some high rollers.

Strand Hill is a beautiful spot with Knocknarea hill rising to over 1,000 feet behind the village and overlooking the strand. Our focus was on the surfing however, and we spent about two hours paddling out and then waiting to jump on as the waves came in. Some of us began mastering the task sooner than others but we all had a great time in the relatively warm waters.

Afterwards we enjoyed our packed lunch and sampled ice cream and crepes in the strangely named “Maple Moose” cafe. The journey home was broken by a visit to Mickey D’s in Longford and we found that there was room for more cuisine.

On the way back to Clongowes we listened to the Mayo versus Dublin All Ireland Senior final game on the radio. Dublin fans were jubilant with the 2-12 to 1-14 final score. The rest of us lamented Mayo’s lost opportunity.

Something tells me that our biannual trips to Strandhill have a safe place in the diary. Some will come for the views of Culleenamore beach and the surf but the Maple Moose now has a few fans as well.’

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