Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Ambitions realised, possibilities await

18th February 2009

Regular visitors may have seen me comment that I have never done a longer hill wandering outing in my native Éire. Last weekend, I got the chance to set that one to rights with a few hours spent walking right to the very top of the Great Sugarloaf near Kilmacanogue in Co. Wicklow, itself not far from Bray. It may not have been as long as other hill wandering excursions that I have undertaken but it was enough to be able to say that I have set my boots on an Irish hillside. That was not all but it was my first introduction to the delights of the hill country of Co. Wicklow too. The fact that the hills of mainland Britain saw a lot of me while those across the Irish Sea in the "old country" remained unexplored has irked me for a while now so I am more than happy to have consigned that disparity to the history books. Like its near neighbour, Ireland has plenty to savour too.

Even so, what I have done last weekend is to make a start. After all, I have only sampled a little of what Wicklow has to offer and then it is but one walking area out of many. Other areas where I have not been to date that come to mind are the likes of Connemara, Mayo and Donegal. Ranges of mountains and hills like the Galtees, the Ballyhouras, the Comeraghs and the Knockmealdowns all await my footfall. Looking north of the border, there is Co. down with its Mourne Mountains too. It’s all good stuff and one thing that cannot be said is that Ireland doesn’t have plenty to offer walkers, even if access remains a contentious issue in places over there. In fact, I could list so many areas that a lengthy list could result and I don’t believe in writing too many of them on here.

With my recent visit to Wicklow and my various shorter outings among the hills of Cork and Kerry, all that I can say is that I have scratched the surface so far. Those mountains and hills won’t disappear overnight so I am not going to rush about to sample everything on a single sitting, gorging myself in the process and not leaving enough time to linger and appreciate wherever I might be. Time might wait for no one but cutting down those ambitions should allow me to savour a little more of Ireland’s delights each visit without impacting on those things that are truly important in life. The full account of my Wicklow hike will appear later but this entry has lead my mind to wander all over what, in the grand scheme of things, is a small island packed full of enticing possibilities.

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