THE CLARE Glens is a well known serene beauty spot for nature lovers going for quiet walks and wedding couples getting their photographers taken.
They wouldn’t dream of heading there when it is lashing rain but it is manna from heaven for extreme kayakers. Last week an extreme kayaking race organised by Limerick’s Eoin Keyes and John O’Rourke drew some of the best kayakers in the country.
This wonderful photograph taken by UL student Tomas O’Donoghue shows David O’Sullivan going over a waterfall.
“The Clare Glens has one of the best rivers in Ireland for kayakers. There are about seven or eight waterfalls on it and it is quite a safe river as well in comparison to some other ones. If you have the right training and qualifications they are quite safe,” said Tomas. UL’s kayak club provided the rescue service.
In the run up to the race the organisers were glued to weather men and women, Martin King and Evelyn Cusack.
“When other people are looking out the windows and it is lashing rain and they are sick of it kayakers are delighted! There is a mountain there and the river soaks up all the run off from it. When it rains a lot it all just flows in to the river and the river comes up for a day or two.
“It drops down again so you have to be on the ball to get out there and make the most of it. You have to watch the weather and as soon as it rains you have to think about going out there,” said Tomas.
However, if it rains too much they can’t go out on the water either.
“The time of the terrible flooding two years ago there was too much water in the river. They got out of control altogether,” he explained. There is a river level gauge under the bridge at the car park.
With waterfalls called top drop, sidewinder and double drop there is plenty to get the adrenalin flowing says Tomas.
“You’re in a small enough kayak going over waterfalls! The sport is growing and growing in popularity,” concludes Tomas.