Celebrating the best bits and bobs to be found while exploring Britain, Ireland and beyond. Much is inspired by real outings, whether they were walking, cycling or photographic in nature, while virtual blundering in the name of planning them has turned up some gems too. Regardless of how they were found, I hope that they keep coming so I can continue to share new things with you.
If there is something about which I keep chiding myself, it's that I haven't seen enough of the home country and the listing at the bottom of this piece cannot but remind me of the fact. Now that I think of it, I could name quite a number of counties where I have been but the visits were so fleeting as not to do any justice to the delights that might be found. Much of the time, this is because I passed through them en route to somewhere else so it looks as if some sort of stopover is in order.
After that, I suppose that I'd better make some sort of wish list known. Well, there's the Burren, Connemara, Sligo and Donegal. All of these look enticing, especially for walking and cycling types like myself. Wicklow is another such locale and there needs to be more than the solitary visit that I have paid to the place so far. The hills in south Tipperary and north Waterford also look interesting though they may not turn up on anyone's radar straight away. Last but not least are those counties of which I have seen the most: Limerick, Cork and Kerry. Let's start with the Ballyhoura Mountains since they seem have got a mention in The Times because of mountain biking opportunities. There's walking to had too so let's not do any more injustices than happen involuntarily. The south coast of West Cork is another omission as is the Sheep's Head peninsula. A longer immersion on the Beara peninsula is in order, not easy when on a day out with family. That thought takes me to Killarney and the Iveragh peninsula where Ireland's highest mountains are to be found. After that, the Dingle peninsula is another deserving location to savour.
That list should be long enough to put to rest any impression that there is nothing to see in Éire so I suppose that I'd need to crack on with it. In the meantime, here's a selection of places on the web where you can discover more about some of the places that I have mentioned. It is by definition incomplete but that leaves other useful nuggets to find, always a very good thing. There may have been no mention of Ireland's islands but there's another space on here for them.
Cavan, like neighbouring Fermanagh across the border in Northern Ireland, has its share of lakes. Like nearby Connaught there are hills to be found and there's a sense of Leinster to be found too, apparently. That makes it sound like a crossroads between three Irish provinces and one that seems to be overlooked too. for a time, it garnered a reputation for having the worst and roughest roads on the island though I now wonder if the Celtic Tiger years dispatched that side of Cavan's reputation. From a feature in a recent issue of Ireland of the Welcomes, there seems to be a good deal to see in the county and this website tells you more.
Connemara's hill country always has taken my fancy but a visit has yet to happen. I have an introductory excursion in mind so it's a matter of putting it into action. Speaking of introductions, these websites should allow you to get feel for the rocky charms of this part of the world.
It sounds hard to believe now but it took me a good while before I began to go looking for information on a specific part of Ireland. When I tried West Cork, I wasn't to be disappointed and that's useful given how much of the area that I have yet to sample.
The Dingle peninsula is so worth visiting that it's gratifying to see a brace of websites helping you to do the same. From the names on some of these information resources, you'd think that the western end is where you need to be but there's something to be savoured on the northern and eastern ends too.
It is Ireland's capital city and many visit without much further than its outskirts. Saying that, you do have Howth if you fancy a coastal walk and a visit to Marlay Park will get you near the Dublin Mountains. Personally, I reckon that is overreach for a lot of visitors given the attractions of the Guinness Storehouse and the Temple Bar. Still, there are historic sights like the GPO and Kilmainham Jail alongside the delights of the massive Phoenix Park such as the People's Park and Dublin Zoo. The list already has started to build and it only scratches the surface.
For whatever reason, the oddly named Suck River came to mind and I decided to find out where it was with a view to uncovering the origins of the name. That was what brought me to Roscommon where a long distance walking route around the river valley is shared with nearby County Galway. It is not the only river around here for the River Shannon marks out the county's eastern boundary and offers a lot since it is the longest river in Ireland (and even Britain has nothing to match it for length). That should give plenty of reasons to visit this overlooked part of Ireland and there are other walking possibilities there too.