Hiking Ireland #1

I’m currently on exchange in Dublin (studying in University College Dublin :D) now. It’s a huge change in lifestyle but I can get used to this. The biggest difference I feel, is the freedom. There are obviously two sides to the coin but at 21, it’s the best time to learn from your mistakes or be pleasantly surprised no?

Ireland in general seems to have less Asian tourists. She does however, get her fair share of Canadian, British and American tourists- especially when there’s some kind of football game going on 😉 All right enough talk. Below are a couple of pictures from a hike I did with the friend who came to visit me. We did 3 (out of the 7) days of the Wicklow Way and it was so much fun! Haven’t done a major hike since almost 4 years back. Almost forgot how invigorating it is to be in touch with nature.

Did the Greystones-> Bray cliffwalk as a warm-up before the real deal. Took 2 hours I believe? It was so simple that we were slightly disappointed haha. The joy of a ‘cliffwalk’ was a little ruined by the tall fences which obstructed the gorgeous views. Don’t start from Greystones, the scenery at the beginning is kind of anti-climatic. Ending off at Bray is so much better. To access this, sit a dart to Greystones. 

The Irish Sea

Bray

The Wicklow Way starts from Marlay Park. It’s a well-marked way so we didn’t need the map or compass at all. A caveat though is that you MUST purchase the wicklow way guide from the tourism office in Dublin. This is ESSENTIAL. There were times when we missed the markers or there weren’t any and this guide was a life saver!

About 45 mins into hike and we got to see a breath-taking panoramic view of Dublin. Look at how  blurry the horizon is.

Day 1 was pretty uneventful aside aside from the fact that we saw WILD DEER. My Canadian friend mused that she sees wild deer along the streets back home but to a city girl like me the whole experience was so surreal! There we were trudging along a narrow forest path flanked with pine (?) trees. There wasn’t a soul so it wasn’t difficult to spot the figure which blocked the path about 7m ahead. The friend and I literally stood in silence as this majestic animal turned it’s head and studied us for a minute. Gosh it was amazing! When it crossed the path, we thought the magical moment was over when suddenly her fawn leapt across the path! This was definitely the highlight for the day (:

This is why the Wicklow Way is described as passing through “heathery moorland”

View of the Sugarloaf mountain from Knockree hostel, where we stayed for the night

Breakfast the next day with our favourite oats & hazelnut nature valley bar. Nature valleys are perfect for hiking cuz they don’t break under the weight. My Alpens on the other hand became flat energy bars by the time we pulled them out haha. 

Day 2 was more scenic than day 1. We eventually decided to detour and climb Djouce which we did not regret one bit. The process was painful but the view at the top was priceless. 

At the summit

Lunching with a view. We used to consider it sacrilegious to eat canned food during hikes but since there were no gas canisters at hand, these were the best we could come up with. 

The weather was on our side that day

Lough Dan. Look at the sapphire blue water! We saw remains of a viking boat while we were hiking down. Apparently the History Channel was filming a documentary and sailed the boat in the Lough Dan the day before. 

Exhaustion really caught up on me. When we reached the Wicklow Way Lodge I really wanted to jump up and hug Marilyn, the owner! Our bedroom with an en suite toilet was more than what we could have ever asked for. 

Lounging in the living room which has free WIFI and some books to keep us occupied

Woke up bright and early for a sumptuous breakfast

Porridge (oats) with a healthy drizzle of brown sugar syrup

Breakfast tea served in beautiful china for that touch of luxury

Homemade bread basket. The warm Irish soda bread stole the show. The memory of that light, fluffy, muffin-like crumb still lingers till this day. Irish soda bread does not have yeast, so it’s a dense bread. I would liken it to an unsweetened muffin with milky notes due the copious amount of buttermilk used. I’ve tried making it before but due to my incompetence it came out like a rock haha. 

We came a little early so Marilyn was pretty distraught. It was because my french toast needed 15 mins of soaking. It was definitely worth the wait. Giving it an additional drizzle of maple syrup made it the most delicious french toast I ever had 😉 The meat is called rashers, a pretty common breakfast item here. 

The Irish breakfast set. What distinguishes irish breakfast from all the other kinds of breakfasts would be the black pudding (blood sausage) that’s included in the fry-up. In this case, white pudding was also given. 

Glendalough from afar. Day 3 saw us scurrying through hill after hill as we tried to beat the rain clouds. 

Miner’s Town, Glendalough

Monastic City, Glendalough

We didn’t need to wait another 5 hours for the st Kevin’s bus because a kind family offered us a ride back. Overall, it was a great hike!

So this concludes my lengthy post. More to come… soon.

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