About our Group
Founded in 1984, Organised and run by a team of dedicated volunteers Murroe / Boher Scouts is today one of the largest Groups in the region.,
The beginnings of the 14th Limerick – 1984 to 1994.
Mike Quirke, September 2016
In early 1984, under the auspices of Murroe Community Council, Denis O’Malley convened a public meeting in the Teach an Cheoil, and a large number of parents expressed interest in helping to form a Scout Group. It was felt that the Scout Association of Ireland (SAI) would best represent the community interest in Scouting, and so the 14th Limerick was formed, as part of Thomond District. Soon after, the Cappamore Group was also formed, and the two Groups co-operated well and had many training activities together.
The first Group Leader was Denis O’Malley. Beaver, Cub and Scout sections were opened that year and about two years later we opened a Venture unit. Because the Girl Guides were operating in Murroe the Group was confined to boys until 1993.
The Scout troop started with the older boys and the first Scout meeting was held on 23rd March 1984 in the Muintir na Tire hall. We had a PL training camp in Glenstal in June, and numbers were then increased to take in all applicants, so we ended up with 32 boys in four patrols. The first patrol leaders were Liam Maher, Willie Kett, Pat Carey and Pat Moloney. At this time Glenstal Abbey offered us the use of Ballyvorheen and we held the first camp there, for 31 boys, on 27th – 29th July. We had borrowed Icelandic tents from the District and we cooked on fires. There was a second weekend camp in Ballyvorheen on 17th – 19th August during which the first eleven scouts were invested. Along with the four patrol leaders these scouts were Danny O’Brien, John Landers, Pat Ryan, Ted O’Malley, Michael Canning, Nigel Quinlan and John O’Donovan. The second investiture of the remaining Scouts was on 12th October, and at the end of the month the Halloween Party was held in Ballyvorheen, which became a custom for many years to come.
We held a concert in the hall with the Brownies and Guides in January 1985. The Parents and Friends Committee were very active and many fund raising events took place, including sales of work, duck races and the sale of Christmas trees. Fund raising continued for many years as we built up our stock of camping equipment.
A hike was held on a Sunday in most months to explore the countryside around Murroe, including Glenstal, Boarmanshill and the Slievefelim hills, and on one hike in November we collected young oak trees in Cappercullen Glen and kept them for planting on Founders Day in Ballyvorheen, on 24th Feb 1985. One continues to grow there. Under the supervision of Denis O’Malley the development of Ballyvorheen as Thomond Scout Centre progressed steadily, and we never grew tired of hiking and camping there. We could swim in the river under the bridge. The wood provided plenty of firewood for cooking, as well as an arena for games and assault courses, and from there we could head up to the Slievefelims. Patrols might have felt lost at times but they always made it back!
In the District competition in 1985 two of our patrols came 1st and 2nd, the Eagles and Kestrels, and they represented the District in the National Smythe Cup in Sligo. Over the following years many of our patrols won the District competition and represented the District in the Smythe Cup, including the Mellenium camp in Dublin in 1988, which was the first time the national competitions of SAI and CBSI were held together. Other Smythe Cups that we took part in included in Lough Dan, Kilkenny and Oranmore.
Summer camp in 1985 was in Castlegregory for 31 scouts and 3 leaders – Mike Quirke, Denis O’Malley and Denis Holmes. The cost was £20. It was a typical Irish summer by the sea, plenty of wind and showers, and we struggled to cook the dinner as the wind cooled the pots almost as fast as the fire heated them! We hiked in the nearby forest and along the seashore, discovering a few Natterjack toads in the sand-dunes. In September we brought eight scouts on our first Sionnach Adventure in the mountains of Gougane Barra in Cork. It was a great experience to carry tents into the mountains and to wake up so far from civilisation. Two leaders accompanied the scouts on the hike on Saturday, but Denis Holmes was needed to help stretcher an elderly leader with a possible heart attack down the mountain! This was the start of our annual Sionnach Adventures, and it brought many of our older scouts to most of the mountains in Munster including the Galtees, Caha mountains, Killarney, Burren, Comeraghs, and Knockmealdowns. For younger scouts we organised Fia Adventures in the Slievefelims, camping in Garravane and Vauchluce Cottage.
Summer Camps were for one week. In 1986, through a friendship that began in Nigeria, we linked with a Scout Group in Sheffield and they hosted us with camping gear, and looked after us very well, including getting us free admission to an Olympic size swimming pool recently opened, and taking us on hikes in the Peak District. Through an Anglo-Irish agreement there was a fund to develop youth links between Ireland and the UK, and with this subsidy the cost of the camp was £35. Twenty four scouts attended. In 1987 Summer Camp was much closer to home – the Scout Aqua Centre in Killaloe (at £15), and twenty five scouts attended. In 1988 Denis Holmes was Scout Leader (Mike Quirke had become District Commissioner), and we camped at the edge of a forest in Castlefreke in Cork. We were hit by a storm that required the leaders to double secure the tent pegs in the middle of the night in the wind and rain! For summer camp 1989 we returned to Sheffield (£40) with twenty seven scouts, and our camp fire on the last night had to be doused early as it was felt it threatened to set the woods on fire – it was a hot summer! In 1990 we camped in Curraghchase with twenty eight scouts (for £22). We hiked into Askeaton to the swimming pool and also around the forest park. We held soccer matches with a group of young people from Chernobyl who were being hosted by SAI in the house there. There were thirty five scouts in the troop at that time, in five patrols. For 1991 we teamed up with the 1st Streatham Hill Group in London, again with the assistance of a grant from the Youth Exchange Bureau, and we charged £50 for the camp. We had a day at Chessington World of Adventures as well as a trip around the sights of London and the nearby ice rink. Twenty two scouts travelled by train and ferry, and luckily we all kept together when travelling on the Underground to Euston Station during the morning rush hour! In the following year we hosted the London scouts and we held a joint camp in Louisburgh Outdoor Education Centre in Mayo. Lots of hill walking, caving, canoeing and wind-surfing.
In 1993 we decided to bring girls into the Group and that year the Scout troop had 29 boys and 9 girls. The number of young people was declining in Murroe and already the number of cubs had fallen to 14 and Beavers to 10. Richie Bermingham was Scout Leader in 1993 and we returned to Sheffield for the third time, and again it was a memorable experience. The Kestrel patrol had won the District competition and went to the Smythe Cup in Oranmore. The troop won an Outdoor award and two patrols took part in the Sionnach in the Knockmealdowns.
In April 1994 we celebrated our first ten years with a tree planting ceremony in Ballyvorheen. The Beavers hiked 10 furlongs from Glenstal Forest, the Cubs did 10 kms from Tooreenbrien, while the scouts did 10 miles from Toor, all walking along the Slievefelim Way to Thomond Scout Centre. The trees are still growing at the Scout Centre, especially the tallest one, a Eucalyptus, planted by a Beaver.
Over the first 10 years our Group Leaders were Denis O’Malley, Sue Thomas, Fr. J. Walton and Mike Quirke. Scout leaders included Mike Quirke, Denis O’Malley, Denis Holmes, Kevin O’Donovan, Cora Quinlan, Eugene Taaffe, Liam Maher, Richard Bermingham, Niall Carey, Pat Carey, Joe Ryan and Noreen Ryan. Venture leaders were Adrian and Sue Thomas. Beaver leaders included Ann Birkinshaw, Teresa Quirke, Amelia McGinnity, Eleanor Moloney, Margaret Rabbitte, Margaret Humphrys, Richard and Gena Bermingham, Mary Dee and Maryan Ahmed. Cub leader were Pat Hogarth, Cora Quinlan, Alice Kennedy, Mary McGann, Jacintha Kett, Mike Noonan, Ita Canning, Fiona O’Brien, Denis and Margaret Holmes, Davy Maher, Gena Bermingham, Jim Fleming, Seamus Cusack and Noel Ryan.