The great outdoors!
Published 02/08/2014 | 00:00
Mullingar man Dermot Mooney is married to Masshill native Monica Mullarkey.
He also has a deep love of her local area, its mountains, rivers, streams and lakes.
Now, thanks to him, the laugh of happy children echo from the peaceful, wooded surroundings at the foothills of the Ox Mountains.
Dermot is, literally, using nature's resources and scenery to run an eco-friendly business.
It's the Ox Mountain Adventure Camp, set in the remote rural quietness of Masshill.
Last week, 25 children, aged 12-16, were enjoying its outdoor activities.
Before that, it had 28 children, age 7-12.
Dermot said: "It's basically to get the kids out teambuilding by doing various activities."
They include shelter building, survival skills, hillwalking, swimming, foraging, water sports, tent-building and archery.
With Dermot are three instructors, John Barrett, Nicola McDonnell and Sinead Mooney.
Among those who take part in the adventure camp are students preparing for the President's Gaisce Award.
Dermot said: "They come here from Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo and Donegal.
"They come here for their bronze and silver awards.
The silver award is three days and the bronze award is two."
As to how the Adventure came about, Dermot said: "We set it up in conjunction with the Ox Mountain Development Company Ltd.
"It was to promote South Sligo and the Ox Mountains.
"It's also to promote walking and outdoor activities.
"The kids nowadays don't get a chance to see the mountains, nature.
"At the top of a mountain we walk to, there are views all the way back to Mayo."
The children taking part in the camp last Tuesday were certainly enjoying their time.
11-year old Keith Gallagher said: "I like the shelter building and climbing the mountains.
9-year old Charlene Mitchell liked learning survival skills.
13-year old Christopher Boyle said: "I like doing archery and swimming in the river."
And 11-year old Luke Slower "liked having the craic with the others."