Episode 1 Michael Harding along with Phillip James, his guide in Roscommon

Writer and storyteller Michael Harding walked from the historic town of Boyle in Roscommon to his home in Arigna. Michael followed the Miner’s Way and Historical Trail, part of which is based on the routes miners walked over the mountains to Arigna, the site of the last underground coal mine in Ireland.

Michael and his guide, Philip James’ first stop was Boyle Abbey, a 12th century monastery which was converted into a military garrison by the British Army in 17th Century. After exploring the architecture and history of the Abbey they set off again on the Miner’s Way which covers a distance of 128km. Michael and Philip did 30km of this route. The road led them to Rockingham House, home to the King Family in the 18th Century, who were Tudor adventurers and were gifted the land that once belonged to the abbey. Their estate stretched from Boyle to Lough Key.

Built in the footprint of the house is the 70’s, Moylurg Tower is a focal point of the 350 hectares of the landscaped wonderland of bog and woodland trails of Lough Key Forest and Amenity Park. The summit was an excellent vantage point for Park Manager Louise Fitzpatrick to give Michael and Philip a different perspective on their walk.

Michael discussed the journey across the mountain with former miner at Arigna, Peter McNiff.  He followed in Peter’s footsteps for the last stretch of his journey to get to the Arigna Mining Experience.  One of the most extraordinary things about the museum is that they can recreate the experience with a real miner. Michael arrived almost at his door, having traversed 850 years of history and 30 km on a most unusual walk home.

Tracks & Trails is supported by the Irish Sports Council.

Darren’s Update – World Boxing Championships

Darren O ‘Neill Update – World Boxing Championships

9am and I settle back into my hotel room in Jeju Island ahead of what I hope to be another successful day for Team Ireland Boxing. Reflecting on the gruesome trek across the globe, which started with waking for work at 7am Tuesday morning and ended up crawling into bed Wednesday at midnight after arriving in Jeju, I couldn’t help but be glad I didn’t have to step foot into the ring on this occasion.

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Gary Keegan: Pursuit Of Excellence


Achieving great performance is all about people. It sounds a bit of a cliché but it’s true – it was true when I worked in boxing and it’s true now in a multi-sport environment.  It’s true in business also.  What we are all really doing as managers, leaders or coaches is shaping people and organisational performance.  We celebrate great sports-people as icons  – but I’ve met some extraordinary people in business.  Leaders who have taken big risks to grow their organisation calculated of course but not overly so. We operate in competitive environments that are both complex and dynamic. In these environments if you’re not taking risks you’re not achieving at the higher end of your potential.

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Gillian’s Bike Blog – Week 1

Gillo on Bike

Picture this…you’re cycling down a quiet country road with the wind whistling through your hair, the sun shining on your face and your lungs filling up with fresh air. Well, some cyclists in Ireland would relate to that feeling but some would say that sounds too good to be true. For some it’s all about busy suburban and city roads, where they meet traffic chaos every day on their way into work as they dodge man-hole covers which become lethal in the rain.

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Conor Lyne: Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics


How do I start describing the greatest experience of my life? The closest thing I can put to it would be this: a dream. Team Ireland arrived into Sochi on the 2nd of February, and it was overwhelming upon arrival. All of the volunteers were so helpful, and it was nice to be treated as a VIP for once. The airport was quite hectic with all of the arrivals, but we got all of our gear sorted and headed up by bus to the mountain village. Each athlete was welcomed with an incredible gift basket, with gifts from each of the Olympic sponsors, most memorably the phone from Samsung. The rooms themselves were basic but very nice, and our Chef de Mission Stephen Martin made them feel like home with Irish memorabilia.

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