Ireland is full of small village communities. Very often a group of neighbours in a rural village can come together to create something unseen in larger towns and cities. Being in such close contact with your limited amount of neighbours can create bonds that make the impossible seem possible. Ballymacarbery in County Waterford is a small village. A place that, until the building of a modern community centre you could easily drive through and hardly notice. But, out there in the shadow of the Comeragh Mountains, at the foot of the Nire Valley lies a community that knows no bounds.
From the Nire Valley hiking festival to the very successful Comeragh Tour, ‘Ballymac’ welcomes it’s visitors with open arms and puts on events that much larger towns could only hope to emulate . The secret is the participation and the volunteering mindset of the entire community. Everyone steps up to marshall a junction, make sandwiches, drive the lead car, or quad, or do whatever else is asked of them. Ballymac is an example to all.
This coming Sunday the Ballymac Community are once again hosting The Nire Valley Drop. A unique event the likes of which is unique on these shores. A sportive for mountain bikers.
With a choice of either 25k or 45k routes, I can say from experience that it is a fantastic day out on a bike. The course provides plenty of manageable challenges and brings you into some of the most untouched, scenic parts of Ireland.
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Local man Paudie Halpin is raising funds for the Haven charity to help people in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti. Not alone does Paudi raise money for the charity but he walks the walk too by going out to Haiti each year putting his carpentry skills to good use by helping to build homes for the homeless.
That is where your entry fee is going on Sunday, along with also helping the local children improve their football field.
You can enter on the day and with showers provided for both you and your bike afterwards in the community centre, along with homemade brown bread and soup, you will be heading home clean and well fed too.
Entry is €35 and is a double benefit in that you have a great day out and get to feel good that you are helping out a good charity too.