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Irish climbing scene?

Photo: Seán Walsh.

The bouldering meet has been running for 8 years now and has had its ups and downs in that time. It started with a bang, followed by a lull and now is in a steady state. While the attendance is usually pretty good at the boulders not many make the effort to stick around overnight in the hut. Every year this gets me thinking about the Irish scene. Is there one? Why is it so shit? etc.

I went along to the bouldering championships in Gravity a few weeks ago to put up posters for the meet. I was amazed and disappointed at the low attendance. Granted there was loads of kids there, which is great, but very few – maybe a dozen – older climbers. It looked like a youth comp. Gravity is a great venue for a comp, there was loads of space, the problems looked great, the weather was crap so where was everyone? Granted entry was pricey (€20 online in advance or €30 on the day plus you had to join MI (€44.20), so potentially €74.20) and that is something that should be looked at.

For the last few years there has been a climbing meet in the Gap of Dunloe in late spring. There is always a good attendance from a core of Cork and Kerry climbers but again very few make the effort to travel.

Trish did her talk for the IMC recently and apparently only a few greybeards and a few neophyte students attended.

Ireland is a small country with a small number of climbers so you might expect they would be a tight knit group but it doesn’t seem to work that way. Each group seems to be focused on it’s own area, rarely straying far. There are plenty of events (Gap meet, Fair Head meet, bouldering meet for starters) just limping along never really achieving their potential.

In Dublin it seems that most climbers are friendly with each other, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in some other parts of the country. Personality clashes and grudges while not rife definitely are common.

So what makes a good scene? Lots of friendly rivalry, active climbers, new routes, good communication, good attendance by non-locals at organised events or even just lots of climbers travelling around the country.

Now I’m not on facebook so maybe I’m missing out on loads of interesting info but looking at the others Irish climbing sites there is very little going on. There very few bloggers and very little in the way of information flow about what people are up – that is assuming people are up to anything. Maybe some of this is an Irish reticence to blow one’s own trumpet. If so I wish people would get over it, it’s possible to share without boasting.