Jacks 2018- Dara O’Keeffe
UCC Canoe Club is a club full of traditions, none more infamous than their annual fresher trip: Jacks Weekend. The first weekend trip of the new college year is a long running tradition. The club itself was established back in 1975 and Jacks Weekend became an iconic part of the club not long after. Originally the club frequented a hostel named ‘Jack’s Hostel’ near Glenbeigh in County Kerry, which gave the weekend its name. Although the location has changed in recent years the institution that is ‘Jacks Weekend’ has remained largely the same. For this the club has the ‘oldies’ to thank; former members of the club who have now graduated but feel it is their duty to come out of the woodwork for the weekend in order to pass on their knowledge to new members.
This year the weekend took place in the coastal town of Lahinch, County Clare from the 19th to the 21st of October. The trip starts with the bus up where fancy dress is compulsory. The theme rotates through the letters of J-A-C-K-S each year. This year’s theme was ‘A’ and a bus full of Aladdins, Avocados, ABBA impersonators and even an aquarium set off down to Lahinch after a long week of college. Saturday’s excursion to the Castleconnel river in Limerick was the highlight of the trip for many. A grade two river with a grade 3 rapid made for the perfect classroom and exciting times for new members to the club. Tradition dictates that the club elects two fresher reps to their committee on the Saturday night, and from a competitive cohort Fionn Keohane and Clodagh Butler emerged as victorious. The two will now be responsible for liaising between the committee and new members, as well as assisting with general club administration.
With a weekend of this magnitude, organisation is all about efficiency. The committee have the hard job of planning each and every aspect of this weekend from finding a place to stay to deciding what river to run. This year was no different. The safety and on-river activities went by with everyone having a good time in a new white-water environment. For most members this was their first time completing a river and for those who have experienced the feeling before know how rewarding it is to make a safe and successful descent of a river. Off the water activities lived up to expectations, the social aspect of the club is alive and well and the Friday and Saturday nights of the Jacks weekend are key for introducing the incoming members to the seasoned UCC canoe club members. The club is now preparing for their intervarsity competition in February where they hope to bring home gold.