Sunday, 6 October 2019

Europe Diagonal: Wicklow Way and conclusion for Ireland


The last stretch through Ireland was on the Wicklow Way, a rather popular Irish hiking trail. There were even Appalachian Trail shelters along the way. Good for me because in one of them I could score an almost full gas canister and batteries (although they turned out to be the worst quality ever!). Some boggy sections even had brand new board walks! By now I had gotten used to Irish weather which meant a faint drizzle every day. No wonder the island is so green. Luckily it never rained hard. Although the area is called Wicklow Mountains it was not very mountainous at all, just rolling hills with more forest than usual. Camping got easier. Biggest highlight of this sections was Glendalough, an old monastery which was now a major tourist attraction. I was a bit overwhelmed by the masses of people, many of them Americans searching for their emmigrant ancestors.

Glendalough in rain and mist
I fled quickly but was happy to meet Andrea and Mike for the last time and have a big celebratory dinner together. We all had steak and loved it! No wonder with all these happy cows on green meadows. I spent two more days in Dublin before taking the ferry over to Britain. This transit day to get to the start of my hike in the UK was more than stressfull. The ferry port in Dublin is so far outside that walking is almost impossible when catching an early morning ferry like me. And there is no bus at that hour which meant I had to take a taxi. Once in Britain there was construction work on the train line and of course everything was delayed. It took me seven hours and cost 125 Euro to cover a distance of 145 km ...

Beara Way
I had very much looked forward to hiking in Ireland as I had never been there before. I really liked the country: People were incredibly friendly and everyone was greeting me from their car when I was road walking. Prices were ok and I loved the buttery chocolate croissants! But hiking wise I was a bit disappointed. The Beara Way was nice with its coastal scenery, but the rest of my route through Ireland was ok, but definitely nothing to write home about. Almost 50% of the route were on concrete and there was very little forest. Still, stealth camping was not a big problem as Ireland is not densely populated. I'd say that Ireland is a nice hiking destination for beginners and I might come back one day to hike other trails, but it is not very high on my bucket list now. 

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