Fun fact: If you walk the loop from Maryborough Hill via Rochestown Road to Clarke’s Hill and back, you’ll spot a dog in a hedge. Yes, a dog, quite literally hanging out of a dense thicket like a half-bodied sentinel overlooking his kingdom. I made this discovery while on an evening walk and, like many folks, I’m sure, mistook the creature as being stuck.
For anyone who has attempted the Monfieldtown ascent (spot prize for anyone who can locate a place in Cork that isn’t defined by an incline), you’ll understand why it is frequented by walkers, joggers and Garryduff hockey players in training – it’s steep. Not your average steep; the sneaky kind of steep that has warmed you up worn you out before you even approach the hill face.
Back to the dog. Leaning into the incline, I spotted the sprouting Golden Retriever as the brow came into sight. I stopped to examine whether it was injured or simply hanging out. A passerby informed me the canine is a regular fixture on the local scene, corroborated in turn by a neighbour who shouted over, “He’s early this evening!”
This got me to thinking. Maybe our furry friend is more than just a local curiosity. Perhaps he sees himself as a mascot, encouraging climbers (in Cork, we are all climbers) to continue on their journey but, most of all, to stop and enjoy the view along the way.