I started off one of my regular Gorey town walks outside Gorey District Hospital in Mc Curtain Street noting the monument on the grounds celebrating 400 years of Gorey history from 1619 to 2019. This is quite a span in local history since Bishop Ram was granted the charter of Gorey in 1619. The area was then known as Newborough, but it reverted to Gorey in 1700s.
Today I progress up along the slightly inclined Mc Curtain Street to the ‘98 monument. I then turn right and head up Grattan Street past the entrance to Grattan Court and head for Gorey Hill and in my mind’s eye I am back in my primary school history class thinking of Grattan’s Parliament. This was such an exciting period in Irish history, and all remembered in street names in one little corner of Gorey.
As I progress up the hill, I observe a hoarding on a building site. I am intrigued by the names on the house types like, The Oxford, The Yale, The Cambridge and the biggest of all is The Harvard. They are all A2 rated homes. I think that any of these names would look well on a CV as in a person’s home address e.g., 12 The Harvard, Gorey, or Yale, Gorey Y25. These names are such a contrast to the area I have just traversed and are indicative of an expanding and changing Gorey.
I go further out the Carnew road and turn right down Kilnahue lane on an unnamed little lane before the main entrance to the Gaelscoil and Gorey Educate Together Schools. This pedestrian walkway from Kilnahue to the schools is very well maintained with neatly trimmed edges and a fine assortment of native Beech, Oak and Mountain Ash growing at either side. There is huge credit due to either School ground staff or Gorey Council Garden staff and all the students who use it, for keeping this lane so clean. It was originally well-planned, and the trees planted alongside enhance the area.
Next, I walk past Creagh College where there are lovely well maintained beech hedges and a small, wooded area with some native Irish trees. Gorey was last year judged as one of the top 20 best places to live in Ireland. I wonder did the judges visit this exemplary part of town. When you walk in these lovely well-maintained areas you wonder how we did not win the overall award. The air around here is grade one with all the trees planted sucking the carbon monoxide from the air and giving it a natural purity.
I walk along Scholar’s Walk, opened in December 2017, with its four schools and have rarely seen any litter or rubbish strewn about. This is an immaculately kept roadway, with neatly trimmed edges and cycle and pedestrian tracks, and one that any community would be justifiably proud to claim ownership of.
As I advance down this road, I see St Joseph’s Primary School nicely located and set back from the road. Once again there are little copses of native trees growing here making it a very healthy area to locate a school away from noisy, polluted streets.
The housing estates and green areas in this fast-developing part of town are all maintained in pristine condition.
I pass Pearson’s Brook and another roundabout on Scholar’s Walk. Great credit is due to David and his town gardening crew for their huge efforts in keeping the town park, all the roundabouts and open spaces in Gorey looking so well and striving to keep them litter free. They are a vital part of keeping Gorey looking lovely and beautiful. I know the garden crew will keep up the good work, but they need everyone’s help by bringing their litter home.
As I stroll down this road, I admire all the native ash, whitethorn, sycamore, and other trees so nicely planted and giving the area an abundance of fresh filtered air. You would once again have to take hats off to Gorey town gardening crew, the tidy Towns volunteers and local estate committees for all the areas in Gorey town being kept so well. They certainly make this territory a cleaner, healthier environment to live, work and relax in.
As I reach the end of Scholar’s Walk, I take a quick diversion left to see the temporary location for Gorey Educate Together Secondary School which is a prefabricated structure for the moment.
I then turn back and go down by Creagh Demesne and left through Willow Park and Ashwood Grove.
The entrance to the Ramsfort Woods Trails lies ahead of me. It is interesting that the people of Gorey were first given access to these Ram family demesne lands from the 1800s onwards and it is nice now to see them traversed again by Gorey people and visitors to the town.
Now within the woods we have two trails with the shorter ‘Sweet Walk Trail’ being very buggy and wheelchair accessible. It is also very child/family friendly with tree ornaments and an abundance of fairy doors on trees on this loop to keep children engaged and active.
It always seems to be a busy well used area of town. The paths are well ordered, tarmacadamed, level and easy to walk. I love all the walks here with the seasonal changes in plant and tree life giving great variety to the atmosphere of the walks. The sound of birdsong adds another dimension to the area’s magic and charm.
I just love the longer ‘Deer Park Trail’ with slightly rougher terrain underfoot. This is populated with much common holly, Common Oaks, Douglas Pines, Himalayan Honeysuckle, Common Ash, Beech and many more. It is so nice to walk here with occasional views into open farming country and seeing many shafts of sunlight beaming through the trees. There is also a verdant healthy green undergrowth which adds to the richness and charm of this eco-friendly area.
Gorey people are so lucky to have such healthy, family friendly walking and nature amenity areas in such proximity to the town centre.
I am now close to my 10000-step daily walking target, so I head down the garden city towards the Arklow Road. On this route I pass some of the most mature native trees in Gorey opposite the Garden City grounds of Naomh Eanna. On the right hand side of the road we have the appropriately named, well maintained, Sean Doire [old wood] housing estate.
I walk across the road to admire Garden City Park, which is a lovely safe, secure well maintained green area surrounded by a level walking path. It is a relaxing walking and meeting area for the locals with some strategically placed seats where people can come and sit, chat, and relax in fine weather. It is a lovely wellness area.
I retrace my steps and continue my walk up Ramsfort Avenue, past Park Avenue and down the Fort Road. I am flabbergasted by the quality of maintenance of the houses and public green areas in this district of Gorey. It sets a standard of excellence for the town.
I now pass down by Gorey Little Theatre and stop for a moment to admire James Kirwan’s excellent piece of art depicting people who have in the past tread the theatre hall boards. It is such a well-executed mural on the gable wall of the hall and a fitting artistic end to my education walk. You just have to love buzzing ,exciting, expanding, artistic Gorey
Postscript: Looking at that lovely mural evoked some great memories of my more youthful days in Gorey Theatre as I spent 10 years of my earlier life on stage with Arklow Parish Drama Group and had some mighty nights on stage with them in Gorey and Courtown.
Those were the days with John B Keane, Eugene O Neill, Sean O Casey, District Justice Johnson with his play “The Evidence I shall give “and many more.
Thank you, Gorey, for that healthy, invigorating, refreshing low carbon walk and the dramatic memories of my acting days. I loved the walk and cherished the memories.
I go back to Shakespeare’s “As you like it” for a piece from my schooldays to encapsulate all the ages and life stages of people living in the areas I have walked through today.
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances.
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances.
And so, he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side.
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion.
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Mick O Callaghan. 18/04/2022