Most of the travel with an interactive map.
After a dull 2018 spring, I chose this year the begin of june, a better time in my own experience. I have in mind a challenge : climbing the height of an Everest in two weeks.
As usual, with a 170€ round trip plane ticket and renting a car for 332€, here I am, ready for a two weeks stay in Leprechauns country and others goblins. For my nights, I have chosen traditional bed & breakfast between 35 to 60 € per night. The economic growth is running in Ireland and prices are increasing year after year.
31/05 : what a mistake !
After a flight 30 minutes late, I finally land in Ireland. I take my car and I arrive at my B&B where I leave my luggages. Then I go to eat a dinner at Portmarnock's pub. At the table, I notice that I forgot to bring with me my road map and my walk charts. Few minutes later, I receive an email : I settled in the wrong B&B !
01/06 : Letterkenny
From Dublin to Letterkenny, the trip takes only 3 hours at a calm speed. Because of a bank holiday, I choose to stay 3 nights in the same B&B, cheap but also not so clean. I meet the owner who is an afrikaner. He talks to me about his country and the apartheid as he lived while his sentences end with a " you know what I mean". I could see precisely what he meant, alas...
02/06 : Errigal Mount (752 m)
Lets go for the first hike of the stay. In my enthusiasm to meet again this easy summit, I am near to lose a shoe as soon as the first hundred meters. This wet clue is followed by a strong wind which is blowing a bunch of low clouds in my back. Quickly, I am under a rain shower, totally wet long before the summit that I reach in a thick fog. While the wind is stronger, I do not stay much time. On the way back, the sun appears in the sky and it is inviting me to visit the neighboured summit : Mackoght (555 m) with a nice panorama on the Errigal Mount.
03/06 : Wild Atlantic Way (north)
The weather forecast is gloomy, so it is an excuse to drive on a part of the West Wild Atlantic Road. Nevertheless before that, I go to see how the weather is at Ballagheeba Gap and what I see is not so rewarding. Rain showers are falling at any time and the wind is strong. Finally the sun appears during the afternoon but I return to Letterkenny under a sky with low and heavy clouds.
04/06 : gloomy weather
Day after day my will is melting in the incessant rain showers. I take the road to Killibegs, one of Ireland's most important fishing harbours, which has made some captains millionaires. I go to Maghera Beach to discover some caves in the cliffs. But the tide is rising and I cannot stay a lon time there. On the way, I find Asaranca Waterfall. The return is very nice : I rediscover Glengesh Pass.
05/06 : 100% rain
One more day without hiking wasted by a rain well established untill the evening. My challenge to climb the height of an Everes is sinking. I go again to Assaranca Waterfall which is overflowing with 24h of rain.
06/06 : finally...
The rain stopped with a late shower at 06:00 in the morning. I don't waste my time and just after the breakfast, I go to do a loop at Slieve Leagues Cliffs. No rain but the clouds are hooked on the ridge and they hide the view on the 600m fall above the sea. Nevertheless, the walk is pleasant and easy.
Bed and breakfast in Sligo area are inexplicably expensive, probably a William Butler Yeats poetry side effect.
07/06 : hit of the day
The promised dry day is welcome and I enjoy to climb a big hill - Knockarea - caped with a tumulus from the neolithic age and the Benbulben (579 m) : not to early, he taunted me since 1999 ! To finish this noticeable day, I visit a natural curiosity : the Caves of Kesh. This succession of holes along a limestone cliff near Ballymote concludes this day with finally a nice sun !
08/06 : Croagh Patrick (764 m), XXth edition
Last year, I established a personal record that I am not ready to beat soon. This year, I do the round trip in two hours and thirty minutes, including twenty minutes speaking with other walkers on the summit. At mid way, an heavy and cold shower with violent bursts falls on the trail. On the summit, the wind is strong and the clouds are masking Clew Bay. Fortunately, I know "a little" the place and I have plenty of photos of this nice panorama taken during past years.
09/06 : meeting at the summit
I leave for a classic walk in the Connemara with an uncertain weather. During my climb of the Mweelrea, I meet a researcher who is studying Alzheimer disease. I learn that physical activities and saturated fat contribute to avoid this sickness and preserve the health. Later I catch up a party of five irish walkers. One of them claims to know me !? After few exchanges, this very nice gentleman, Eamon, was a member of a group with whom I climbed the Carrauntoohil (1039 m). We finished this memorable day at Lake Hotel's restaurant. It was in 2005. The world is small !
10/06 : Sheeffry Hills
Last year, it was an epic fail. For this third edition, the sun is here. These mountains are not much visited : no foot print other than those of sheeps, no lost paper, only fences to cross along a quarter of the route. The loop is only 11 km for 700 m positive climb and nice landscapes. It goes by the flat summits of Tivenabinnia (742 m and 590 m). Back to Tawnyard, I stop the car to watch the "Princess Leia" rams seen the first time in 1999.
11/06 : en route
Today is a big road stage to reach the Kerry. My side mirror meets the one of a car that overtakes me at very high speed : blind spot or distraction... Arrived in the Kerry, I decide to stay in Killorglin. There, they consider tourist people like silly sheeps in a green fields that have to be shaved. Rooms price is extravagant. Luckily, the breakfast is good.
12/06 : little classic
The Kerry abounds of walks and among all the summits in the region, I go to see if Gleinbegh will give me a chance. Lost, the clouds are hooked on the ridges and finding an unknown route in the fog is not so pleasant. So I decide to climb Mangerton (838 m), done in three hours. On the top, the nature is hostile : a strong wind, a thick fog, and a freezing cold. Back to the car, I am a little bit frustated, I ought to do a Mullaghanattin (773 m) or a Carrauntoohil :-(
13/05 : Howth
If the elements were against me in 2018, this year is an opportunity to visit the peninsula. Howth has some trails that offer various landscapes. The longuest is 12 km length and follow the coast with some little cliffs where sea birds use to nest. The trail crosses the central heathland, a small wood, and it goes back to the centre town. I will do again this gentle walk that can finish at a pub terrace or in a restaurant along the docks, ideal to achieve or to start a travel in Ireland.
14/06 : back to France
Return the rented car at Dublin airport can be a little bit disturbing because the car parks are not so near. Once there, a shuttle will take you to your departure terminal. On a bench at the stop of the shuttle, a late traveler forgot his "cone of recreation" : he missed his first take off !
Dublin airport is like a hive that buzzes from 06:00 with opened shops whose their success amaze me and that help to pass the time once the security checks done. Two hours and an half later, I am back to France. The weather gives me one last slap : I went from 11 to 29°C.
What next ?
I heavily missed my personal challenge to climb an Everest with between 5 to 6000 m of positive climb. This is just a postponment. Without suspense, I will return to Ireland to run thorugh its mountains and to enjoy its summits well windy. No doubt that I will make other memorable encounters and that I will climb other hills and peaks with so typical green landscapes.