Buoyed by early Spring sunshine walkers gathered at the remaining piece of the Tallaght boulder. The word is spreading. Many new faces appeared. Their voices were recorded saying their names. The names were from many parts of the world. All came to join in the collective effort to bring the boulder back to the mountain, to build a community cairn. We each introduced ourselves to somebody new. The walking and talking began.

We squelched through Sean Walsh Park. Sun streamed through dramatic cloudscapes. Ciarán talked to a man drawn to the ancient landscape of Glenasmole. It had a place in his imagination since early school-day stories of Oisín. He had passed on the stories in a life of teaching.

At Bohernabreena, our numbers doubled. Loaded with rocks we headed for the lakes. Trees remained bare along the way. Save for the slightest hint of new green in one grove. Winter’s cold was holding still.

At Reservoir House Kevin Dennehy spoke to us about the River Dodder: its route from mountains to the city, its sudden rises, its human uses. Some years back he saw that it was littered. He started picking the rubbish. He helped found Dodder Action. Together they have collected many tonnes of rubbish, to keep the river clean. He described the invasion of Japanese Knotweed along the river. He let us know that we can all help in a collective survey of the Dodder. A light snow began to fall through the sunshine.

Some snowdrops had pushed up along the road. Further on, some had blossomed. The valley was splendid in sunshine as we reached open hillside.

Then from over Seefin a storm of horizontal snow blew across us. The white horses ran by. Hurried hands added rocks to the cairn.

In the hollow before the road, Spring returned. We ate lunch warmed by the sun, looking back on the valley to Tallaght. We then walked the route to return.

Thanks to Kevin Dennehy of Dodder Action, the Dublin Mountains Partnership Volunteer Rangers and Rua Red.

The next walk is on Sunday 11 March and will feature outdoor performances based on the story of Oisín, in Tír Na nÓg, in co-operation with Pobal na Gaeilge Tamhlacht, for Bliain na Gaeilge 2018, open to all. Meet at Rua Red at 10:50am.

Email rocktothetopdublinmountains@gmail.com to register your interest and receive updates. Check www.incontext4.ie/news for details of walks. 

Rock to the Top is commissioned under IN CONTEXT 4 - IN OUR TIME, South Dublin County Council’s Public Art Programme for 2016-2019 under the Per Cent for Art Scheme.