Friendly Hillwalking Group Courts Candidates
Historically, the Brothers of the Lug are a laid back and friendly hillwalking group. Interested in the lively chat and craic on a good walk, with numerous stops (or ‘susses’), to enjoy the magnificent and varied scenery offered by a hike in the Wicklow hills. Consequently, conversation is likely to range from; the latest shenanigans in the Dáil, the relative merits of recent theatrical releases, to problems relating to the maintenance of matrimonial bliss.
Therefore, if you are seeking fast treks from A to B, over vertiginous gradients, against the clock, then maybe the Lugs are not the hillwalking group for you. No records will be set here, (except perhaps, for most teabags used). Yet, we do climb mountains such as Tonelagee (817m), Camaderry (698m), Mullaghcleevaun (849m), and of course, our namesake, Lugnaquilla (925m). Furthermore, foul weather, although duly noted, is paid short shrift.
As of today, membership totals about thirty five, including some senior members who, although they don’t venture out on the mountains any more, attend social functions well. We take to the hills every second Sunday, as set down in a colourful and detailed programme, produced twice a year.
As much as hillwalking in Wicklow, and its environs, is our primary focus, it is not all muddy boots and flasks of tea. (Hence, the importance of the post-hike hostelry to the smooth running of the whole endeavour.) In addition, the Lugs have an active social calendar, with a number of occasions throughout the year dedicated to cultural events and light revelry; most noteworthy of these being the Annual Dinner.
The Annual Dinner
Our Annual Dinner has, of late, been held in the august premises of the Stephens Green Club – a lavish affair of good food and wine, at which tongue-in-cheek songs are sung celebrating the climbing achievements of the Brothers during the year. Then, with great fanfare, the mythical and mysterious Oula Ouja Box is paraded before the assembly.
New members or ‘Lowly Asps’ are inducted in a light-hearted ceremony whereby aspirants and their sponsors are put to the question by the Grand Master, who dons his Lesotho-style hat. This hat, a gift from Brother L. Flynn, is historic in itself, coming from an emergent nation, (south of the Equator), where Brother Flynn earned the grateful esteem of generations yet unborn, by setting up for them, an Income Tax system, complete in all its parts.
New ‘Asps’ quickly find that the Brotherhood remains almost untainted by modern democracy. The Grand Master names his own successor, but if he departs without doing so, then the choice is made by the active Brothers, preferably on some hill-top, where the new G.M. is ‘raised upon the shield’. While it is a noble sight to see the G.M. personally leading his cohorts in the field, there is no fixed obligation on him to do so, and history points to more than one Grand Master who, for many years of his office, was never seen on the road.
There are no records of the 1903 Lugs travelling abroad: after all, the Wright brothers’ first flight only happened in the same year! The modern Lugs, however, have the benefit of economic air travel, and augment their Wicklow walks with one or more trips abroad to brave the hills in places like the Pyrenees, the Tatras in Poland, the Alps in Switzerland and Austria and Chamonix in France.
Referred to as the G.M. In charge of planning the walks and production of the bi-annual walks programme. His word is law.
Herald of the gods, (i.e. the G.M.). In charge of the Wednesday walk and curator of cultural events.
Keeper of the sacred history of the Lugs. Chief photographer and internet researcher.
A master of the witty verse. Records the highlights and mishaps of the Lug year and declaims them at the Annual Dinner.
Master of telephonic signals. Awarded for a key contribution to the rescue of a fellow Lug after an accident.
Ensures the smooth running of the Annual Dinner and introduces the G.M.’s annual State of the Lugs Report.
Much feared, he keeps the Brothers in line and ensures strict discipline amongst the ranks.
The rank-and-file, the hoi polloi, the lower orders, the great unwashed, not the 1%. You get the idea.
Those aspiring to join the ranks, but yet to have passed through the Trials of the Ear.