Jimmy Barry, originally from Cappawhite in West Tipperary, has walked the Galtees and many other mountain ranges in the world. Now living in Goatinstown, Monard with his wife Helen, two grown-up children, Christopher and Nicola, two dogs and three ferrets, he has been an active member of South East Mountain Rescue Association (S.E.M.R.A.) for over 12 years and has guided many walks into the woods and Glens surrounding the Galtees. Finally, after taking thousands of photographs, he has put all that he has seen, learnt and photographed into his new book, ‘Under Galtees Skies’, a pictorial journey through the Galtee Mountains that was launched in Aherlow House Hotel recently. Over three hundred enthusiastic, encouraging and happy people arrived at Aherlow House Hotel on Saturday October 22 for the launch of the new book, ‘Under Galtee Skies’.
Support from South East Mountain Rescue Association (S.E.M.R.A.), which Jimmy is a member of and acted as PRO for a number of years, alongside many colleagues from Mountaineering Ireland, the Civil Defense, Red Cross, Aherlow Failte, Kilfinnane Outdoor Education Centre, Galtee Walking Club and Limerick Climbing Club were all there to give support to this new venture.
Representatives of the majority of walking clubs in Munster turned out for the occasion alongside John Manning from Coast Guard Service Ireland and members of Upper Church Drombane Develpment Committee.
“Jimmy Barry is a very family orientated man and he’s like a brother to everyone,” said Ray Bradfield, Deputy Team Leader in Dungarvan S.E.M.R.A., in his opening speech. “He is a great ambassador for the Galtees spreading the history and his own fascnination of ecology of the area. His enthusiasm is contagagious and these photographs are a testament to his many years of hill-walking. He is a poet and a photographer and this book is a testament of Jimmy’s work and acccumlation of 33 years. There is a quote that says ‘the measure of the man is in what he leaves behind’, and this book definetely represents the measure of Jimmy.”
The ballroom was packed with groups from all over Ireland with many stalls set up from the different organizations such as S.E.M.R.A. and Aherlow Failte and Mountaineering Ireland.
The Limerick Climbing Club utlised the occasion to present a cheque to S.E.M.R.A. in support of the volunteering services that S.E.M.R.A. provide.
Ruairi O’Conchuir, Chairman of Mountaineering Irelandsaid he was delighted to be at the occasion to support Jimmy. “Mountaineering Ireland is delighted to be here tonight to support Jimmy in this venture. We all know Jimmy has been having a love affair with the Galtees for many years and I was fierce jealous of this affair as I soon discovered Jimmy was my lost soul mate as our lives were parallel in many ways. We both came from a large family and both our fathers passed away when we were very young. Jimmy’s father died when he was 9-years old and I think this impact stays with you for the rest of your life,” said Ruairi.
Under Galtees Skies is a beautifully presented book with breathtaking photographs of the Galtees that only a hill-walker would get to see. “Jimmy has captured wildlife and ecology that most of us would walk by without even noticing,” said Ray Bradfield. “He has a great eye and it shows in so many of the photographs in the book.”
There are stunning shots of the recent winter freezes on the Galtees and when you flip though the pages you would believe your are looking at photographs of the Swiss Alps or some stunning location that we have always dreamed of visiting.
The book gives valuable insights into the history and formation of the Galtees with summaries of the story of the cross at the top of Galtymore and those that were involved in the replacements and upkeep.
“The Galtees have attracted man and woman since we first arrived on thsese shores,” says Jimmy Barry in his book. “They have been a place of refuge, a place to bury the dead, to closer to god or gods, a place to be alone. Whatever the reason we inevitably leave our mark by scratching our name on some rock, building a cairn of stones, or even putting a cross at the highest point. The largest man made structure on the mountins is the magnificent Galtee Wall. It stretches along the ridge fro Lyracappul to just short of Gatelymore, a distance of around 4 kilometers.”
There is also information in the book on the remains of ‘booley huts’ that are found in many areas. “These are found more frequently on the south side of the Galtee range, as the gentler slopes were more amenable to the pratice of ‘booleying’ where farmers take livestock (Cows and Goats) on to the mountain to graze in summer. Somone would stay in a small house or booley hut to look after the animals and milk them every day, turning the milk into butter or cheese and coming down to the local market town once a week to sell the produce. When the landlord put up the rents and people moved off the mountains or emigrated, and as more more sheep were introduced, booleying died out,” explains Jimmy in the book.
The book was funded by The South Tipperary Development Company, The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and the EU under the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013.
Martin Quinn, Chairman of The South Tipperary Development Company was a guest speaker at the launch and spoke about what the organisation supports and gives funding to.
Mayor Jacqui Finnan was at the lanch along with many other councillors around South Tipperary and Dennis Heffernan and his wife from Emly Tidy Towns.
Jimmy Barry’s wife Helen was on hand to speak to the Nationalist. “As a family we’re so pleased for Jimmy and know that it’s something he wanted to do for a long time. When he’s happy, we’re happy,” said Helen.
“My mother is 91 years old and I think she is really proud of this achievement,” said Jimmy. “It took a lot of guts to do this and I put a lot into this book but tonight I am feeling really happy with the turnout of colleagues and friends who have travelled to be here tonight. Thank you to everyone who helped and supported me along the way and a big thank you to my family and family members who travelled from San Francisco to be here tonight.”
Jimmy’s book, ‘Under Galtee Skies’ is availabe in Greenes Shop in Tipperary town, the Bookcentre in Clonmel, several shops in and around the Gen and Mitchelstown. Contact Jimmy on 087 2975178 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.