“When are we going cycling on the greenway?” A pupil asked me last Tuesday morning at first break, after the May bank holiday weekend. I recalled that it was one of the points mentioned under the ‘What we offer’ section on the school brochure we recently published. “Let’s look at the weather forecast for the next few days,” I replied. On doing so we scheduled Thursday for our Greenway cycle inviting all pupils who could cycle and had a certain level of fitness.
Clew Bay Bike Hire provided an excellent service, ensuring all children had a road worthy bike with reflectors, working brakes etc. and helmets. They also provide a pick up service at points along the greenway route, this provides peace of mind for teachers/carers/guardians.
The route from Newport to Mulranny is a gradual ascent for most, offering wild views of the Atlantic coastline. Cows and sheep graze in the fields either side of the track taking little or no notice of the cyclists and walkers that pass them by.
I realised the importance of school days like today for children. It encourages them to be active; look out for their classmates in unfamiliar surroundings; communicate with strangers; show courtesy and offer help to those in more need; it allows the children to discuss fun experiences and appreciate the stunning, scenic views of our home county.
The stop off at Yvonne’s Cottage was much welcomed by the pupils. We were greeted with warmth by the owners of the cafe getting a table close to the open fire where home-made bread was being baked. We all listened and learned the story behind “Yvonne’s Cottage” from the owner Kevin.
Seven years ago, Kevin was driving to the local pub with his daughter in the passenger’s seat. She was 25 years old working as a guard in Sligo and home to visit her parents for the weekend. She had a dream to open a little cafeteria on the greenway and works were to commence only a couple of weeks later with the help of her Dad. On driving around a corner on the way to the pub, they were met head on with a French driver driving on the wrong side of the road. Unfortunately Kevin’s daughter Yvonne did not survive. Kevin went on to fulfil her dream. Kevin and his wife run a very warm, cosy, award winning restaurant on the greenway….a must ‘stop off’ for those travelling on the greenway.
Today was fun, the weather was great. We were active and enjoying the beauty of the West of Ireland. We are privileged to be able to do what we did today. An “Education out of the classroom day”