Irish Mountaineering Club
The Irish Mountaineering Club (in Irish, Cumann Sléibhteoireachta na hÉireann, usually called "The IMC") is a mountaineering club whose activities encompass all aspects of mountaineering, but its climbing activities are most prominent. The club has over 300 members.
The IMC was founded in 1942 by Bill Perrott and a group of other climbers in south Dublin, within easy reach of Dalkey Quarry. They established several climbs in Dalkey and at other locations around Dublin such as The Scalp, Bray Head, and Ireland's Eye; these were the first steps in the development of climbing in Ireland. This group, now known as "The Old IMC", disbanded in 1944.
In 1948, the IMC was revived on a more formal basis by Perrott, Joss Lynam, and others, with the intention that it become a national club drawing its membership from all around Ireland, with local branches in the major cities. The first President was the renowned naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger.
During the 1950s the IMC became the dominant force in Irish mountaineering, and branches were established in Dublin and Belfast, and one for the "Wild Geese", Irish emigrants living abroad. In 1957, with the aid of a grant from the Guinness brewing company (which remains a major supplier of refreshments to the club's members), the club purchased a farmhouse at Glendasan, near Glendalough, County Wicklow, and converted it into a mountain hut, to be run by the Dublin section. Later another hut (called the "Bloat House") was established in the Annalong valley in the Mourne Mountains in County Down; this was to be run by the Belfast section.
The increasing affluence of the 1960s saw the emergence of other mountaineering clubs in Ireland, and the IMC's dominance began to weaken. In 1971 the Federation of Mountaineering Clubs in Ireland (FMCI, later the MCI, now Mountaineering Ireland) was formed, which ended the IMC's national aspirations. In the meantime, the club became increasingly Dublin-based, and the struggling Belfast section was finally dissolved in 1991, two years after the Bloat House burnt down resulting in several serious injuries.
The club now draws its membership almost exclusively from the Dublin area.
The IMC has an extensive programme of activities throughout the year. In the spring, the climbing season starts with the long-standing (since 1966) annual rock-climbing beginners' course conducted by experienced club members in Dalkey Quarry and Glendalough. Those beginners are then encouraged to develop their skills and join in the club's climbing activities in Ireland and abroad throughout the summer and beyond. Summer is also the peak alpine season, when many groups of members climb in alpine ranges throughout the world. In winter, the focus is on indoor Thursday night social slide shows, indoor climbing, hillwalking, ice climbing abroad, and rock climbing both at home and in sunnier climes in Europe and beyond.
The club publishes a biannual newsletter and maintains an active blog containing articles written by its members describing their activities.
The club's climbing hut (called "The IMC Hut") is located in Glendasan, in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains and within walking distance of the popular crag at Glendalough. It is used by IMC members on a regular basis, but since most members now have access to a car, it is not as important to the club as it used to be. Its main use now is to serve as accommodation for pre-booked groups of outdoor enthusiasts from Ireland and abroad.
- J. C. Coleman - Geographer, Archaeologist, Speleologist and Writer
- Harold Drasdo - Climber, Writer and Educationalist
- Joss Lynam - Mountaineer, Explorer and Writer
- Sé O Hanlon - Cyclist
- Robert Lloyd Praeger - Naturalist, Writer and Librarian
- Frank Winder - Biochemist, Naturalist
References and sources
- "Past Presidents: Irish Mountaineering Club presidents through the years". Irish Mountaineering Club. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
- "History of Mountaineering Ireland". Mountaineering Ireland. Archived from the original on 2012-02-12. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
- IMC50: The Golden Jubilee of the Irish Mountaineering Club 1948-1998, edited by J. Lynam and P. O'Neill (IMC, 1998)