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Preamble
Because of two previous trips (( Iceland and Highlands of Scotland), I decided to plan this 15th travel to the Emerald Isle late in summer. This edition is as the others dedicated to hillwalking. The initial program :
  • Mweelrea (814m) , in 2008 this summit became to me unreachable under rain, strong wind, clouds more than low, and a foot injury
  • Glencoaghan horseshoe walk among the Twelve Bens would be the highlight of this travel if there are volunteers...
  • Croagh Patrick from the eastern ridge
  • Nephin (unlikely this year)
  • Dingle with Brandon (952m), Caherconree (835m) and Baurtregaum (851m)
  • and finally Stoompa (705m) in Mangerton
  • as an extra, a walk like Mullaghanattin (773m) horseshoe or Glenbeigh Horseshoe.
This ambitious program, has been revised due to unpredictable weather, as you can read below.

For logistics :
  • transport : airplane (202€) and a car type A (231€ for 10 days) upgraded in C !
  • Bed and Breakfast (mean rate 32,50€/night for single room)

About irish roads
The irish road networkhas evolved a lot since last years. Now you need less than 2h30 from Dublin to galway or Castlebar when it took more than 4 hours 10 years ago. The government invested in roads, making travel more convenient but less picturesque for tourists. Nevertheless, bumpy and narrow roads did not disappear.

Resources
These two websites are great resources for curious and nature lovers :
Irish lichens
Irish wild flowers

Drumshinnagh Peace

04/09 : Dublin - Castlebar
Low clouds and mild temperature announce a rainy trip... But on the road the sun shines. I observe some trees with yellow leaves : the fall is near.
Now, the boring toll on M1 is solved for tourists if they hired a car to the famous number 1. The toll is directly charged on your debit card at the end of your travel.
 

05/09 : Mweelrea 2 - 0
Early in the morning, clouds invade the sky. My walk in the Twelve Bens will be for another year but nevertheless I go to Connemara. On the way, I take a look on the Mweelrea mountain. It is like a return to 2008 with its summit flooded in clouds. I decide to climb on Sheeffry Hills. At the first 580m top, the wind is strong enough to blow my 6kg bagpack on the ground and I prefer to return to my car. Back to my start, the wind diminish - a sing for rain. I go to Clifden for a nice cappuccino while an heavy shower. Then I dawdle along small roads...
<< september 2008           september 2010 >>
Mweelrea 2008Mweelrea 2010
Sheeffry HillsRenvile CastleBen Gorm

06/09 : Croagh Patrick
Despite the rain, I choose to go for an easy and very popular walk : the Croagh Patrick. This time, there is not much people, except few german tourists. The ascent is fast with a dry weather finally. I wait for 40 minuts on the summi which will stay all the day in the mist. Back to my car I decide to visit the Country Life Museum. Bad luck, it is monday, the weekly close for all national museums.
 

National Famine MemorialMurrisk pierCountry Life Museum

The weathervane tree

07/09 : Castlebar - Killarney
Weather forecast become worst. That is why I prefer to leave Mayo. After much hesitation, I choose to go to Killarney where I will stay several days. On the way, I dawdle in Burren where I discover a path for a nice walk too late in the afternoon. I will try it in a future trip.
 

08/09 : Teermoyle mountain
Clouds are almost everywhere on the Iveragh peninsula, hooked to the summits. I go to Kells along the northern coast. Then I begin walk by a farm trail on a slope. This is rather a sream with the rain fallen during the night. The grassy ground becomes a bog. The feet in the turf, the head in the mist, I go straight to the summit hard to find on this eroded plateau. With the sun, I can do a horseshoe walk. The view embraces the Dingle and lots of Iveragh's summits.
From MullaghnarakillFrom Been Hill


09/09 : Mangerton
The rain is here. That is why I decide to go to Mangerton (839m), an easy walk on a nearly dry ground. Glencappul (700m) appeals me but finally, a shower and low clouds make me go back to the car. After this short walk, I visit the Black Valley, following roads among the most narrow in Ireland.
The Punch Bowl Lough Erhogh


Ladies View



10/09 : moisture and rock art
Ready for the south western summits of Iveragh peninsula, I meet the fog on the road. Walking in mountains with such poor visibility may be dangerous and at least tricky. My plans have to be once again changed. Finding rock art seems to be a good idea. My first attempt near Staigue Fort is a defeat : I see lots of rocks but no art. I pursue my search at Derrynablaha. After two hours on a grassy and wet slope, I find only a rare and protected species of slug : Geomalacus maculosus as a search on Internet seems to show.
 

Bridge near Staigue FortGreen caterpillarKerry slug, Geomalacus maculosus

The Pocket
11/09 : the (peaks) Pocket or Eskatarriff
The weather is still playing with me. Arrived at the Pocket, clouds invade the ridges and the rain starts. A strong wind is also blowing. Eskatariff will be for another stay in Ireland... I go to the nice Gleninchaquin Park. A gentle woman explains I already met last year explains to me which trails I can follow. I start the longest walk under the sun. It begins with a steep slope and when you reach the plateau, you have to cross many blades of sandstone separated by a stream, a pond or a bog as you like. It is a bit tedious but the walk is worth regarding the views. That evening, I celebrated the birth of a nephew with a good Chardonnay and a seafood menu.
 

IshaghbuderlickUragh Wood vanished !Eagles Nest
CummeenaloughgaunWaterfallGleninchaquin fields


12/09 : the sunshine vanished
Everybody told me that this sunday would be the best day of the week with a great sun before a very bad monday. After the mid-defeat yesterday, I found a walk with three summits I did not yet climb in the Reeks. For this opportunity, I reach the Carrauntoohil top (1039m) by the dangerous Devil's Ladder. Once on the summit, I am again in the mist and a cold wind blows from north west. A light rain transformed a rocky ridge in a giant soap and I have to backtrack. On the way I meet Brandon, John and James : three true irish young brains. One is a specialist in scientist devices for spatial observation, the two else are astrophysicians. Once per month they use to climb Carrauntoohil and they cook their burgers ! Walking elsewhere does not interest them and they know pretty well the Macgillycuddy's Reeks.
This walk and the previous one have finished my legs...
Carrauntoohil 1039mLough Gouragh and CalleeNo trespassing !

Arthur's day 2010

13/09 : Dublin beneath a steel sky
After 3h30 on roads with a gloomy weather, I reach Dublin. I find a bed and breakfast along the N1 and I go downtown. I enjoy to visit the National History Museum but I forget that this is monday... the weekly close of all national museums (argh !). Few hours later of dawdling in town center, I stop in the famous Temple bar for an early bird menu. Prices are the same everywhere. I am the first customer but the restaurant is filled up very fast.
 

Epilogue
Once again, I am back from Ireland happy to have walk in irish mountains that I like a lot and proud to be uncle again ! But now, I am haunted by my future travels : British Columbia and Yosemite National Park could be the next destination for nice walks in 2011...


For any remarks or explanations,
email send me your questions, suggestions or reactions.




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