Saturday, 5 October 2019

Europe Diagonal: Ireland E8

Peat laid out for drying
Back on the trail I had to learn how to deal with Irish forest! First of all there is little of it because most of the land is used for cattle grazing. If there is forest, it consists mostly of impenetrable plantations that are covered with blackberry bushes around the edges to make things even worse. Finding discreet stealth campsites turned every evening into a nightmare. The trail was also not as nice as before: I was walking on small roads most of the time passing through rolling hills and moors where peat is still cut. When I discovered a brand new bike path along the river Suir which was even a bit shorter than the E8 I did not hesitate and walked it thus arriving a bit earlier in Carrick-on-Suir where I took a nero day.

With Andrea and Mike
I did not need it as urgently as I had thought! The day before I had caught up to Andrea and Mike
who were taking a nero day in Fermoy. They had invited my into their B&B to charge up my phone. In order to be not as smelly as usual I had even "bathed" in the river Blackwater before meeting them. Unfortunately this river is not called Blackwater for nothing. I was probably dirtier after bathing than before ... The owner of the B&B took pity on me and let me take a shower despite the fact that I was just visiting and not staying at his place. The three of us chatted so long that my empty powerbank was fully recharged by the time I left ...

Along the river Barrow
A couple of days I had another fabulous encounter. After resupplying in Craighuenamanagh (the town is really called that way) I was walking along the river Barrow, a really idyllic place with loads of paddlers in the water and ramblers on the former tow path. I had just passed two young women and had stopped to drink some water when they came walking back to me. To my utter surprise one of them asked my now in accent free German: "Are you Christine Thürmer?" It turned out that she was a German working here, had read one of my books and knew about my trip from social media. This is a small world and I loved chatting with the two Germans! I did not meet any other hikers on this stretch but one evening an older couple who told me: "We have already seen you this morning in our village, then we passed you in our car and now we see you walking here in the forest! You are such a brave woman!" I did not mention that I was about to look for a stealth campsite in the aforementioned forest .... And for once I found a great site immediately as soon as the two had disappeared.

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