The annual Glenstal Family Weekend took place from April 24th to 26th at its usual venue in Wesptort . This is the third such weekend and it is now a fixture on the school calendar. A hundred and twelve Glenstal parents, students, brothers and sisters and even grandparents took part in the weekend.
Everyone arrived in Westport on friday after negotiating some horrific traffic jams in various towns on the way. As well as that, the weather was poor with lots of downpours… as only the west of Ireland can provide.
We were met in the reception of the Hotel Westport by a cheery Pat Aylward –local resident and father of Edmond and Emmett -who assured everyone that the rain would clear by Saturday morning and that the sun would come out at 10.00am -just in time for the following day’s activities! Some were skeptical.
The following morning the rain was gone and true to Pat’s predictions, the sun broke the clouds at exactly 10.00am. The activities planned were the Greenway cycle and walk as well as a climb of Croagh Patrick. Some decided to avail of the Hotel’s spa and by all accounts it was more than worth it.
About 80 people from the early age of 2 to (nearly) 80 opted for the Greenway. The sun shone all day long making the cycle spectacular. As one of the boys said, “you could almost eat the scenery”. The bikes weaved their way on the Greenway track from Westport to Newport, on to Mulranny and ending in Achill. The weather was almost Mediterranean and we even had some cases of sunburn where Nurse Margaret was able to apply copious amounts of sun block.
A group of 2nd Years led by the Twomey and Gilbride brothers were first into Achill. Most people ended the cycle there and returned to Westport by bus but some turned around and cycled back to Westport… with the wind on their backs all the way.
The group that climbed the Reek had their efforts rewarded with the most incredible views imaginable. There wasn’t a cloud in sight even from the summit. Thankfully, there were no mishaps on either the ascent or descent and all were accounted for in the carpark after the climb. (On Sunday morning, hardy dad’s Dave Hanly and Mark Fleming climbed the Reek where it was minus 5 and snowing at the summit!)
Everyone gathered back at the Hotel Westport, tired but happy. Fr. William joined us there, having left Glenstal earlier in the afternoon following a very successful Open Day.
While the younger ones ate dinner in the Hotel Westport restaurant, owner Cathal Hughes hosted a most enjoyable reception for the adults in the Cara Suite. This was followed by a magnificent dinner where the seafood in particular was sensational. It was an extremely pleasant, enjoyable and informal occasion with lots of happy stories of the day’s adventures.
There was plenty of tired and stiff limbs at breakfast on Sunday morning. But a quick swim and sessions in the Jacuzzi and steam room provided a certain cure.
Fr. William said mass in the hotel for the entire Glenstal group and noted how wonderful it was to be there on such a relaxed and happy occasion. Ben Moloney, George Downing and Jack Murphy read the mass readings excellently despite being told at the last moment that they had been “volunteered”.
This year’s Glenstal Family Weekend was a very happy time with plenty of fond memories for everyone. We all departed on our separate ways at around noon, tired but very happy to have spent such a wonderful few days together amongst families and friends. It was a special weekend.
Some photographs of the weekend can be found in the Photos section.