Summerhill College (past pupils include Albert Reynolds and Tommy Gorman) Whitewater Kayak club tells a story of the goodwill that exists within the Sligo community. The club had almost everything it needed: support from the school, kayaks, equipment, qualified instructors, a great river, lots of rain and of course a bunch of lads eager to get on the water. One important component was however sorely lacking; a place near the river to store kayaks.
Cue Michael O’Hehir of the Glasshouse Hotel. Alongside his hotel, he operates a busy underground carpark. Michael not only provided a secure place within the carpark to lock up boats but did so free of charge. In fact, it involved considerable cost and effort on his part to make it ready for use by the school club.
The club’s unique location on the Garavogue is among the best locations in the country for a whitewater kayak club. With access to the water at the slipway at Quay Street, it is perfectly situated between a tidal estuary and a fast flowing rapid. The rapids range from a trickle of water to a raging torrent depending on tide and rainfall.
Sessions can be timed with the tide so that the novice paddler can paddle up the river without having to negotiate standing waves or whirlpools. On the other hand, experts can travel a little further (or let the tide go out a little more) and surf one of the many great waves that begins to appear. All the while, bemused residents of the Glasshouse hotel look on from their warm, dry vantage point as they finish their breakfast.
There is a massive acceleration of the water as it squeezes through Hyde Bridge. This means that at the right tide & river levels it is an exhilarating adrenaline kick to paddle into the flow and feel your kayak hurtling downstream. If it all gets too much and you capsize, swim safely to the calm water below the rapids with a massive grin on your face.
There will be an opening ceremony on the 15th of Sept to showcase the refurbished premises and to thank the many people that made it possible. This will be held in the View Bar of the Glasshouse, at 2pm, with a school kayak session taking place in the water below at 3pm.
Summerhill College Kayak Club wish to sincerely thank:
Michael O’Hehir, Glasshouse Sligo
Summerhill Kayak Club Opening September 15th Glasshouse Sligo
2pm – 4pm
Alan Moore, 0851499901