Donnybrook Scouts celebrating 90th ‘birthday’ with three-day camp in Herbert Park

Spokeswomen from left to right C. Moore, É. Reid, A. Ryan, C. Grant, E Brien, C. Gibson, K. Ryan, A Campbell Front L. Keogh, Far Back Scout Leader T. Nebbelunde. Thumbs up for 90 years!Images courtesy of Dermot Lacey

The Donnybrook scouting group celebrated their 90th birthday with a group camp in Herbert park during the second week of September.

It was the first time anyone had been given permission to camp overnight in the park. All sections of Donnybrook scouts were represented from beavers right up to ventures.
The Donnybrook scouting group is made up of one group of venture scouts, two scout troops, two cubs scout troops and one troop of beaver scouts.
The entire Donnybrook group had not camped together in six years. The camp was highly organised, with the scouts troops taking the lead. They organised the cubs, with whom they shared the tents.
The scouts and cubs put up their own tents, while a group of parents assisted the beavers in setting up. This sharing of duties feeds into the key goals of responsibility and teamwork that Donnybrook scouts teaches. Paul Russell, chairman of the Donnybrook scouts was proud of the “education in life skills,” that scouts gain, saying that these sort of experiences “stayed with them throughout their lifetime.”

The scouts’ patrol leaders echoed this sentiment. Eabha Reid explained, enthusiastically, how they played a number of games, all of which were based on a patrol working harmoniously to complete the task as quickly and efficiently as possible. Games such as the spider web, which involves tying ropes to trees, and then overlapping them into a rough web formation. The scouts then have to pass through them with no scout passing through the same hole twice in the web. As an extra complication, the web is not horizontal. As Emma Brien explained, this means they must choose who goes through which hole in terms of height and age. Consequently, they must plan beforehand to make sure they can complete the task.
Most of the games or tasks could not be simply executed and completed without forcing the patrols to think ahead. Another game, follow the string, illustrates this further. Follow the string involves some scouts being blindfolded and following a string around various trees in order to find a key, while other scouts guide them. The key opened a box containing sweets. Most of the games involved sweet-based prizes as rewards.

The games were competitive but despite this there was a spirit of camaraderie. Katie Ryan joked with her friend, Clara Gibson, about how she had helped her out when her team got stuck. Ciara Grant summed up the attitude in scouts, saying it built relationships where you “learn to laugh.” Emma then told the story of how they had lost their freezer once, meaning that all their meat “went bad,” so they spent two hours cooking noodles, but “it didn’t matter,” she said, laughing.

They had a great many activities over the weekend, including a pig roasted for 12 hours on a spit, a 90th birthday cake for the club, and spelling out the number 90 in human formation, which was captured by a drone flown overhead, which was provided by Cllr Dermot Lacey. Lacey has long been involved in Donnybrook scouts and as well as providing the drone for the spectacular 90th shot, he camped out with the scouts and parents for the big event.
As the camp came to a close, group leader, Andrew Bishop, handed out a number of prizes, after which he said a few words. Bishop thanked scout leader Catherine Sheehan for providing the food over the weekend and in addition awarded her a badge for her 30 years of service.
Another person who was awarded was leader Tania Nebbelunde, who was promoted to the role of camp leader. Tania was the key person in organising the camp. She was given a bottle of wine and box of chocolates in gratitude.

Deputy group leader Darragh O’Briain, was introduced as the “funny man” in part because he shares the name with well-known comedian Dara O’Briain, and for his sense of humour. He was thanked for his assistance in organising the highly successful camp and awarded for his years of service.
Badges in recognition of service were given out to Paul Buggy, Clare O’Ruairc and Robin Keating, who had been leaders for five years as well as Erica Rafferty and Suzy Lynam, who had been leaders for ten and 20 years respectively. Bishop was grateful for the parents’ support, many of whom had camped out themselves.

Finally, Bishop expressed his gratitude toward Dublin City Council for giving them permission to camp out in the park. Bishop stated they were actually the first group to have ever been given permission to camp in Herbert Park, which raised a chuckle from the parents.
After, each thanks there was a chorus of “Bravo” and “Bravissimo” from all present. The event concluded with the newly redesigned Donnybrook scout flag being taken down by the patrol leader (no, not the actor by the same name) Hugh Grant.

Group Leader, Andrew Bishop, added that Donnybrook scouts is always looking for new leaders to join their ever-growing group. If you are interested in getting involved, you can contact Andrew on 01 – 2691449 or email

by Kevin Mac Sharry