Irish 3 Day Orienteering Festival

The coming weekend is the Irish 3Day Orienteering Festival in Oughterard, Co. Galway. Today (Monday 26th) is the last day for entries. Go to for online entry. And for more information go to:

The Irish Orienteering 3-Day, hosted by Western Eagles Galway Orienteering Club. The area is complex open mountain terrain around Leitir Caf Rua, above Oughterard, Co. Galway. 

The maps were surveyed during 2012/2013 by Pat Healy of Cut Bush Mapping and Padraig Higgins of MNAV.

The areas were only previously used for the Irish Orienteering Championships 2013.

Parking will be on Forest Roads for the 3 Days.

WOC 2014 Training Camp & Selection Races

4 squad members depart for Italy tomorrow to take part in an official WOC Training Camp. They will spend the week sampling the terrain that will be faced in around 6 weeks time during WOC. At the end of the week are the selection races for the Irish Team, which are being held as part of the ‘3 days of Trenches’ whose website is


A total of 8 men are entered for the selection races so competition will be tight for the limited places on the team this year. Some of the team will also stay on after the races for training.



Darren Burke

Director of High Performance Orienteering

Irish Orienteering Association

Events for the Coming Week


There are three Sunday events and two Tuesday Evening events in the coming week. All have courses suitable for Beginners.


DATE VENUE (click for map to venue) EVENT TYPE CLUB (click on the club name for up to date details)
*  May 2014
Sunday, 25th May Ross Castle & Island, Killarney, Co. Kerry ‘Come-and-try-it’ Event Kerry
Sunday, 25th May Dromkeen Wood, Innishannon, Cork Family Day Bishopstown
Sunday, 25th May Lough Key Forest Park, Boyle, Co. Roscommon  ‘Come-and-try-it’ Event SligO
Tuesday, 27th May Doneraile Forest Park, Doneraile, Co. Cork CorkO Summer League Cork
Tuesday, 27th May Killinthomas Wood, Rathangan, Co. Kildare CNOC Summer Evening Series Curragh-Naas
DROMKEEN WOOD (the Bluebells are out), Innishannon Bridge
National Grid Reference W 548 568
Park at the western end of Innishannon Village, outside Innishannon Parish Hall & GAA Field (just after the Church and Topaz) and walk over Innishannon Bridge to Registration & Starts.
Cork Summer league (Round 4) & Family Day
Controls out from 8.30 am to 10.30 am
Start Times from 10.30 am to 1 pm.
Courses Close at 2 pm
MAP-MEMORY (hardest) 4.4 km, 215 m, 21 c (No Map)
NORWEGIAN COURSE 4.4 km, 215 m, 21 c (Blank Map)
SCORE COURSE c. 3.5 km, c. 125 m, 25 c
RED COURSE 3.2 km, 125 m, 19 c
ORANGE COURSE 3.0 km, 065 m, 19 c
YELLOW COURSE (easiest) 2.0 km, 045 m, 16 c

New Champions

The updated list of Irish Class Champions is now at;

Reigning Champions for 2014


Also on that page are the requirements to be Irish Champion.

Orienteering Events this Sunday, 18th May

There are two events on Sunday (18th), one in Cork and one in Waterford. On Tuesday evening (20th) there are two more events, again one in Cork and one in Curragh, Kildare. All events have courses suitable for beginners, the organisers will advise on the best course for you.

(click on link for map)
County Organising Club
(click the link below for more details)
Sunday, 18th May Currabinny Wood Cork Bishopstown
Sunday, 18th May Tramore Sand Dunes Waterford WaterfordO
Tuesday, 20th May Currabinny Wood Cork CorkO
Tuesday, 20th May Curragh Kildare Curragh-Naas

CURRABINNY WOOD, Cork. (Sunday 18th)

National Grid Reference W 790 622

Cork Summer league (Round 3) & Family Day
Controls out from 8.30 am to 10.30 am
Start Times from 10.30 am to 1 pm.
Courses Close at 2 pm
MAP-MEMORY (hardest) 6.5 km, 335 m, 18 c (No Map)
NORWEGIAN COURSE 6.5 km, 335 m, 18 c (Blank Map)
SCORE COURSE c. 3.5 km, c. 200 m, 21 c
RED COURSE 3.6 km, 200 m, 19 c
ORANGE COURSE 4.2 km, 145 m, 16 c
YELLOW COURSE (easiest) 3.4 km, 110 m, 11 c

Tramore Sand Dunes, Waterford (Sunday)

The 5th round of the Munster League and the final SE league event take place at Tramore on Sunday 18th May. Usual start times from 11 to 1. Follow signs at the east end of the promenade. Bring your bathing togs.

Course lengths as follows
Yellow: 2.5 km; 8 controls
Orange: 3.1 km; 11 controls
Light Green: 4.5 Km; 15 controls
Green: 5.1 Km; 17 controls
Blue: 6.2 Km; 25 controls
Brown: 7.1 Km; 25 controls

Please register by 3 p.m on Friday if you can to ensure we print the right number of maps. Continue to register online at the Wato blog right up to Saturday at 8 p.m. There are only 4 entries so far so get registering please. Thanks.


Orienteering Competitions this Sunday, 11th May 2014

There are four Orienteering Competitions this Weekend, 2 in Cork, 1 in Wicklow and 1 in Sligo.

All events have courses suitable for Beginners.


VENUE (click for map to event)
Organising CLUB
Sunday, 11th May Seefin (Nagles) Cork Cork League Cork
Sunday, 11th May Ballyannon Wood Cork Family Day Bishopstown
Sunday, 11th May Brockagh Mountain Wicklow Leinster Spring Cup Great Eastern Navigators
Sunday, 11th May Templehouse Demesne Sligo ‘Come-and-try-it’ Event SligO


Seefin Wood in the Nagles

The fifth and final instalment of the Cork League will take place this Sunday morning May 11th at Seefin Wood in the Nagles mountains of North Cork, near Killavullen. With four courses on offer, there is something to suit everyone, including beginners and those returning to the sport. Come along for a body-brain work-out ahead of the start of the Summer League.

The map scale is 1:10,000 and the landscape is mostly open forest with a good road network and many earthwalls and streams. As nearly all of the wood is between 800 and 1,000 feet in altitude on a North facing hillside there are relatively few brambles and no rhododendron.
11.00 – 12.30pm
Beginners: 2.3km, 9 controls, 45m climb
Improvers: 2.8km, 13 controls, 80m climb
Short Technical: 3.8km, 13 controls, 120m climb
Long technical: 7.4km, 23 controls, 205m climb
Event signposted from Killavullen village, just off the N72 (Mallow-Fermoy road)
Hope to see you there


Brockagh, Co. Wicklow

GEN will host the sixth and final Leinster Spring Cup event at Brockagh, next Sunday 11th May.

Come and enjoy the last Sunday event of the season in Leinster. Hopefully the weather in the mountains will be kinder than last weekend!

Entry to the event is by the forest road on the R756 Laragh to Hollywood road  (Grid reference T 118 973)  and will be signposted from Laragh.  Start times will be between 11:00 and 13:00 hours. Courses will close i.e. controls removed, at 15:30.

Please pre-register using the online registration form before 9pm, Saturday 10th May and pay at the registration desk on the day.  Pre-registration does not oblige you to turn up on the day though we’d like you to.  All are welcome.

Entry fees: Adult €8, Junior/student/unwaged €5, Family €20.  SI card hire is an extra €2

Courses (planned by Andrew Butterfield):

  • Yellow:  1.6km, 5m
  • Orange: 1.9km, 25m
  • Light green:  3.1km, 95m
  • Green:  4.8km, 155m
  • Blue: 7.2km, 170m
  • Brown:  9.0km, 245m

Parking will be along the forest road with the start being 750m (a 10 to 15 minute walk) from the parking area.  The finish is close to the parking area.

Maps will be printed on waterproof paper at a scale of 1:10 000 with 5 m contours, except for the Yellow and Orange course maps which will be at a scale of 1:7500.  Control descriptions will be printed on the map and will also be available at registration.

Courses will cross the open mountain.  Competitors are advised to carry a whistle and cagoules may be required.  All participants, including those who do not complete their course, must report to the download officials.

For further information contact or 087 972 3463

Thanks to Coillte for cooperation in access and Wicklow Mountains National Park for permission to use the mountain.



BALLYANNON WOOD, Dwyer Road, Midleton

(down the side of Midleton Park Hotel)

National Grid Reference W 875 728

Cork Summer league (Round 2) & Family Day
Controls out from 8.30 am to 10.30 am
Start Times from 10.30 am to 1 pm.
Courses Close at 2 pm

MAP-MEMORY (hardest) 9.6 km, 150 m, 18 c (No Map)

NORWEGIAN COURSE 9.6 km, 150 m, 18 c (Blank Map)
SCORE COURSE c. 7.0 km, c. 100 m, 19 c
RED COURSE 6.3 km, 090 m, 19 c
ORANGE COURSE 5.5 km, 040 m, 12 c
YELLOW COURSE (easiest) 3.5 km, 020 m, 07 c


Templehouse Demense, Ballymote, Sligo

directions from Ballymote coming south and main road Galway from Sligo

Beginners (short) courses and Advanced (long) courses available.
€5 per person.

Compass not required for beginners courses.

Free tuition available upon request.




A Challenging Championships!

Last weekend’s Irish Championships provided a range of orienteering types and of running conditions to test the competitors in every aspect of their orienteering, from a fast and furious urban sprint race at the Maynooth university campus on Friday, through mist and heather at the Middle Distance on Saturday, to energy-sapping peat hags and 5-metre visibility on Sunday and even a bit of forest and some steep hills to finish us off on Monday.
Setanta Orienteers and Great Eastern Navigators came together to run the event, with GEN running the sprint on a lovely new map by Jonathan Quinn, and Setanta running the remaining three races near the Wicklow Gap. The sprint, where the Elite race was won by 3ROC’s Colm Moran by 2 seconds from favourite Darren Burke, had perfectly judged winning times of close to 12 minutes, with Colm finishing in 11.59 and Elite Ladies winner (no surprises here!) Niamh O’Boyle in 12.27. In a sprint, every second counts, and classes were won and lost by the smallest of margins.
The courses were confined to the northern part of the campus, with many small and oddly-shaped buildings, some grass and trees, and the runners enjoyed the courses, proving that it is possible to have satisfying orienteering without getting all wet and muddy! See the results, courses and routes here.

Saturday’s middle-distance event was another matter altogether, though. Luckily, the organisers were able to get access to the top of Turlough Hill, the ESB pumped storage electricity station near the Wicklow Gap, for parking, avoiding the long slog up the service road, familiar to runners on leg three of the Lug Relay. As we drove up the hill, the mist thickened more and more, until at the top the visibility was maybe 10 to 20 metres: what would it be like out on the course? Would foul-weather gear be required? A cold wind was blowing but it failed to dislodge the mist. The start, finish and car park were at the high point – about 650 metres above sea level, one of the highest drivable points in Wicklow (the summit of Kippure with its TV mast is a bit higher) but after the first control we dropped into the top of the Glenealo Valley on the side of Camaderry and the mist disappeared but the heather got higher.
A run around the sides of the mountain followed by a steep climb back to the finish in the thick mist completed the outing, and GEN’s David Healy, back from Sweden for the event, took first place in the men’s race with Niamh O’Boyle (CNOC) adding another win to her impressive collection. See the results, courses and routes here.

There is no doubt that the Classic race on Sunday was an epic and was the talking point of the weekend: the cloud level dropped even lower than on Saturday and visibility was down to about 5 metres. Competitors were getting lost in the car park, that’s if they could even find the car park. The thought of running 12.7 km with 530 metres climb and 30 controls was a daunting one for the elites, but equally daunting was the prospect of 1.5 km for M85’s. (One of the M85’s this weekend was Seán Rothery, who I vividly remember running in the first Irish Relay Championships at Ballinahinch in Co. Wicklow in 1975, an event I came across more or less by accident: this old man (why, he must have been at least forty!) steaming down the run-in with a gut-busting finish. How many sports are there that you can compete like that over a lifetime?)

The main feature of the map was the turf banks, an intricate maze of cuttings, knolls and gullies: in practically zero visibility, once you came unstuck, you stayed unstuck! Relocation was a matter of luck or of searching for some distinctive feature and trying again. There was a very high number of non-finishers and the range of times among those who persisted tells its own story. Perhaps the most extraordinary result, though, was the mere three seconds separating winner Marcus Pinker from runner up Colm Moran in the M21 Elite category, after more than  two hours of running in thick mist. In the W21E class, Maeve O’Grady (DFO) took her second Irish title, adding to her win at Inch in 2012.
Looking at some of the routes drawn on Routegadget is fascinating: the little spirals close to the controls as runners searched blindly and found the flag; the larger diversions where they went further astray in the mist in between controls, but few are a spectacular as Colm Hill’s excursion recorded by his GPS after control 3  on the Elite course, and very brave of Colm to make it so public! See his route below.

In all honesty, it was among the most challenging orienteering I have experienced: the only thing I found more difficult was the terrain used for the World Championships in France in 2011. In my own case, I threw in the towel several times only to suddenly find where I was and decide to continue a bit longer, a tactic which eventually saw me to the finish line. For me, fogged up glasses and thick mist meant it was pretty much “compass and pacing” the whole way round. I have to say that I thought the area was excellent, the map very accurate (though I still have to find that “indistinct path”) and it was much more runnable than I expected, the going underfoot a bit like Inishbofin, with low heather, grass and peat, undulating rather than steep: definitely worth a return trip on a nice dry, sunny day!

Interestingly, Turlough Hill, where there is an artificial lake on the hill top and a natural lake, Lough Nahanagan, at the base, only got this name when the ESB built the power station in the late 1960’s: before that it was called Tomaneena. A “turlough” is a disappearing lake such as is found in the Burren in Co. Clare, where the lake comes and goes depending on the water level. This wasn’t the only disappearing lake on Sunday, however: Lough Firrib (after which the map was named) proved equally elusive: several competitors decided to use it as an attack point or as a feature to relocate on, but couldn’t find the lake! (It was notoriously difficult to find using the old OS maps too).
A water station for the Elites provided a welcome recognisable feature, particularly for one runner who was offered a cup of tea there, which he gratefully accepted! Finishing on Sunday was a real achievement, so very well done all of you.
The organisers wisely recognised the limitations of the area for planning Junior courses, and ran the courses for the youngest kids at Oakwood, a lower down, simpler area of forest a couple of kilometres further west. See the results, courses and routes here.

Monday’s Relays also moved to the Oakwood area and threw in some boulder-strewn forest and steep mountainside. Apart from the mossy boulders and the steepness, the area was runnable and a complete contrast to the previous three days. CNOC took the Open and Women’s titles, showing that orienteering is indeed a family sport (Men: brothers Conor and Ruairi Short, Kevin O’Boyle; women sisters Niamh and Caoimhe O’Boyle, Regina Kelly), while Fermanagh Orienteers (Ros Hussey with sisters Eibhlin and Ciara Largey) rose to the occasion and taking their first major team prize, finishing second in the Women’s race, 20 years after that club ran the Irish Championships at the Burren on the Cavan/Fermanagh border. LVO finished a close 3rd, only 5 seconds adrift of FermO, while CorkO finished second in the Men’s race with 3ROC 3rd .See the results, courses and routes here.

John Shiels of Action Photography took a large number of superb photographs which you can see and buy on his website here.

(This issue of The Irish Orienteer will develop over the next couple of days when I have time, with reports on the JK at Easter and other stuff, so keep coming back! – JMcC)

Pictures of IOC

For pictures of all four days of the IOC as covered by John Shiels of Action Photography, check out our Facebook page at

Irish Orienteering Championships This Weekend,

This weekend is the Irish Orienteering Championships. This is the premier event on the Fixtures List. There are 4 Events, including Sprint, Middle Distance, Long Distance and Relays. Setanta are organising Days 2 to 4 and GEN are organising Day 1.

For more details go to

Friday, 2nd May National University of Ireland Maynooth Kildare Irish Orienteering Championships / Sprint Distance Great Eastern Navigators
Saturday, 3rd May Camaderry Wicklow Irish Orienteering Championships / Middle Distance (Pre-entry) Setanta
Sunday, 4th May Lough Firrib Wicklow Irish Orienteering Championships / Long Distance (Pre-entry) Setanta
Monday, 5th May Glenreemore Valley Wicklow Irish Orienteering Championships / Relays (Pre-entry) Setanta
Monday, 5th May Glenabo Wood Cork Cork Summer League / Family Day / No. 1 Bishopstown

On Monday there is an Orienteering event in Cork.


GLENABO WOOD, Dunthahane Road, Fermoy
National Grid Reference W 796 974
Cork Summer league (Round 1) & Family Day
Controls out from 8.30 am to 10.30 am
Start Times from 10.30 am to 1 pm.
Courses Close at 2 pm
MAP-MEMORY (No map) (hardest)
NORWEGIAN COURSE (blank map)  
Orienteering in Ireland
Orienteering Ireland, Irish Sport HQ, Blanchardstown
D15 DY62, Ireland