Coffee shop opens on top of the Black Mountain

By Dúlra

If someone had said years ago that one day, someone will open a coffee shop at the top of Black Mountain, you’d have told them to get their head checked.

Cafes are for towns and busy streets, the mountain top is for – well, a few scraggly teenagers and their dogs. No one else set foot on the hillside – they were all too busy getting on with their lives. And so the hills – that vast green, sleeping giant – belonged to us. Oh, and the odd farmer, of course.

These hills were so untouched and unvisited that at times it was like discovering whole new lands. When Dúlra walked up the river of the hazel gully which divides Black and Divis Mountains (near the present traveller site), he knew he was the first to do it for many years, even decades. And has anybody else ever walked in the ancient mini-forest on the steepest slopes of Black Mountain, behind the farmers’ homes? Didn’t think so.

They are inaccessible, dangerous and wild. He remembers once almost stepping on a woodcock here. This beautiful brown bird is described in books as “highly elusive and underrecorded” – Dúlra’s sure that it is still there – he may well have been the last person to disturb it, and that was many years ago.

We used to walk until we could walk no more, drinking fresh water from the springs that dot the mountainside and maybe trying a handful of berries. As for a coffee shop on the mountain, well that was cloud cuckoo land.

Until now.

We’ve reclaimed our hilltops and now there are so many people enjoying them that an entrepreneur is opening a cafe in an old barn.

Paul Murphy from Orchardville is the perfect man for this type of terrain – he’s an adventurer and the current fire and rescue officer.

The cafe’s first day will be Saturday – and there’s a week of free kids activities and walks to celebrate.

But not only can people enjoy a coffee during the day, but it is set to open for a spectacular event next Thursday night at 7.30.

Paul’s son Jake and wildlife expert Aidan Crean will be leading a bat night across Divis Mountain, where they will be walking across the hills with torches and bat detectors to a bat cave that builders recently stumbled upon on the mountain. Jake will also show other kids how to make a bat box.

It was hidden by undergrowth, but it’s believed that up to 100 pipestrelle bats live there – and the brave walkers will be there at dusk to see them emerge.

They’ll also be watching out for the Irish hare, short-eared owl, foxes, badgers and other night-time animals that have been recently spotted on Divis.

The yellow barrier will be raised on the night to allow people to drive straight to the cafe barn.

The cafe is a brilliant and brave idea and Dúlra will be head of the queue come Saturday, not to mention Thursday.

The Divis Coffee Barn is a smashing idea – and Dúlra’s going to be it’s best customer.

If you’ve spotted anything interesting or have any nature questions, you can text Dúlra on 07801 414804.

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