THE development of the stunning 12 O’Clock Hills walking trails in East Clare is to be marked in special calendar to be launched for the Christmas market.
The calendar will include panoramic views from the hills, as well as the popular beauty spots along the routes, and mark the seventh anniversary of the creation of the three popular walking trails which are among the jewels in the crown of tourism locally.
Funds raised by the calendar will go towards the part restoration of a ruined farmhouse in the area, as well as the creation of a carved wooden sculpture – both of which are set to add to the attractions along the Hills trails.
The restoration of the house known locally as Mary Anne’s is made possible with 80% grant funding from the Heritage Council in conjunction with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. The stone farmhouse was reasonably intact up February 2014 but Storm Darwin blew the nearby tall cypress tree onto the building flattening the roof and the two gables. The stump of this tree is still a very imposing feature at the northern side of the house and plans are in place to carve it into the shape of an animal, possibly a deer.
“Both the restoration of the house and the wood carving or the tree trunk – while two different projects – will add an extra dimension to the attractiveness of the walking trail that straddles the house,” said a member of the 12 O’Clock Hills committee. “Our current three trails, including the most recent 13km Purple trail merge close to the area and take in the house on the return walk back to the Belvoir trail head car park.
“For our voluntary project committee, who have developed and maintain the facility, the challenge will be to fund the remaining 20% restoration cost plus the full cost of the tree trunk carving. Covid-19 has forced the deferral of the normal fund-raising walks that we regularly organise such as our annual 30km East Clare Challenge, plus other walking events such as solstice, Hallowe’en and dawn walk and breakfast.
“September 2021 will be especially important to us as it will be the seventh anniversary of the official opening of the facility.”
Businesses or individuals who would like to sponsor a month on the calender in order to help with the printing costs can contact Patsy Neville at 087-9691415 or John Lenihan at 087-2557415 or any member of the committee.