Proudly presenting, The Boardroom family holiday, 2013 - It's All Gone South.
For the last couple of years, a crew of Boardroom associates gets together and goes somewhere in the country... We've had Derry to Kerry and The Mess Out West. This year, with the loosest plan we've ever conceived, fuelled largely by Graham Glennon's desire to get a load of the lads on a camping trip, we headed South(ish).
On a rainy Thursday on the East Coast, we hopped in to the van and Graham's
car and got on our way. The forecast was ropey at best, but I'm largely positive that our desperation caused the clouds to disappear as we reached Offaly for our first stop, Birr Skatepark. We'd been here once before on "The Mess..." but some of the guys had never ridden it, so it was a good place to get started.
A good little session went down and we all worked off the cobwebs, chatted with a few of the locals and eventually decided that as much fun as the park was, a BBQ, a spot to camp and a couple of fermented beverages were in order. Once more, we hit the road.
Despite our best efforts, we found nowhere suitable to camp, and by suitable, I mean legit. So, we did what comes naturally to a group of BMX-ers. We found somewhere secluded and quiet... and by secluded and quiet I mean a spot by a lake, barely off the side of the road... BBQ's were lit, meat was undercooked (by a chef), beers were opened and the 50% of the crew that don't eat meat rested comfortably in the knowledge that there would be no dodgy situations in the morning. Over the course of the night, we ran out of firewood, so undertaking the most reasonable course of action, we journeyed into the neighbouring woods to find... wood. Nothing seemed to be happening until Derek and Rocko came crashing out of the trees laughing and told us about a derelict building full of scrap wood. So, that was the first night sorted. The rest is a haze of wood smoke, Graham's snores and Beer D'Discount. Good times.
The nest morning, we rambled down to a swimming spot from our "campsite" which under the cover of darkness had seemed somewhat hidden, but in daylight... not at all. The water was warm, but refreshing and spared us from the after-effects of Beer D'Cheapandnasty. Graham unveiled his now legendary swan dive technique. A headfirst dive and he never goes more than a foot under water... Mental.
After the swim, we headed to Limerick. A spot of rain, some re-appearing hangovers and some less than happy punters threatened to call off a session at Limerick's main park. Sunshine and Euro-Spar prevailed. We spent a couple of hours riding the park there, Ryan killed it as usual and Graham kept us entertained. I decided that the easiest way out of the park was over the fence. Didn't even end up horribly injured. Result.
From Limerick we headed to The Ring of Kerry, hitting a street spot or two up on the way... All I can say is that if you've never walked/driven/cycled/ridden a horse through it, you have to. It is epic. We found a naturally transitioned wall of rock and Derek laid down a footjam on the natural sub-box. Ben Murphy said it best "This is just so Irish." Of course, you can take that as his usual wit, but he had a point. Everything tourists go looking for is there. Just beautiful.
Looks however, can be deceiving. We learned this the hard way after finding a stunning spot by a river to camp for the night. All seemed well until the light started to fade, then they came... Clouds and clouds of midges. Flesh eating bastards. They left poor Ben a mess. His legs looked as though he'd fallen in to a pile of cacti.
The next morning, we decided that we had to get out as quickly as possible and swim. So, with appropriately named "Black Valley" behind us, we were bound for cork. We hit up Kinsale for a bit, we had a wee session, but Derek shut it down, blasting a HUGE table out of the sculpture. Then after a spot of food, as was the go-to activity, we went swimming. Warm water, high piers and a sneaky beer. Good times were had.
In Kinsale we, once again, neglected to find a proper spot to sleep, so we sussed out a spot in a castle. Better yet, while wandering around I noticed a euro gap and a wallride. While there was a little bit of doubt as to whether it would work, the fact remained. It was clearly do-able and the landing was grass. All good. So, despite the fact it was dark, we hit it up and had a laugh. Oldest street spot in Ireland? Maybe. The simplest fun? Definitely.
Anyway, after that, for the first time on the trip, we went in to a town. It was a gentlemanly affair. A cup of tea, some cucumber sandwiches and discussions ranging from the socio-economic climate in Russia to the most favourable knots for a neck-tie. It was definitely not a night of madness, and Rocko definitely did not go missing and end up asleep on top of Graham's car...
The next morning we headed for a swim and then went on our way to Cork to meet up with some of the lads. After a slap up breakfast and a quick roll around the city, involving a rather productive rail session, we went to Cork City Skatepark and experienced Nicky's famous hospitality. Well worth a visit. There's only so long you can push yourselves on these trips and by the time the park had closed, everyone was ready to go home, to their wives, women, dogs or goldifsh named Paul Kane.
Overall, the trip was one of the best in a long time. The formula will always work. Motorized transport, a group of friends, a loose plan and some disposable barbeques... what could go wrong?