Up at 7am at the Glenmarule Lodge. I skipped the take away lunch for some reason. It was right back to an uphill slog after departing.
I saw a few hikers in the morning heading out from the lodge, but no one carrying all their gear. I had learned another lesson last year in Scotland, further limiting my weight. You would think by now I would have my pack contents and weight dialed in, but I am always updating and changing tactics.
It was a pretty significant climb, but since I really did not do extensive research or take notes, besides looking at upcoming contour lines on the map I had no way of knowing what was upcoming each day. I believe this is the best way to do it. This way you don’t spend hours or days dreading a significant brutal section. You just take what comes.
Around noon I started my decent and came upon a beautiful lake and some church ruins with quite a few tourist buses. This was Gledalough.
Per usual, I took a nap along the water’s edge.
As was typical for me, after spending a decent amount of time isolated, when I come across a mass of people, I cringe and escape back into the woods as quickly as possible. I stopped for a snack at a pub on the way out of town
I looked it up on google and it got bad reviews. I thought this was strange as I figured being the only pub in a tourist town would be a welcome sight with decent reviews. All the reviews stated the service was terrible. I confirmed that sentiment. When I walked in, they acted like I had bothered them by opening the front door. “Are you open?” to which they replied, “I guess”. That was pretty funny actually. They all seemed hungover or strung out on something. I got out of there soon after and started my next climb.
Interesting experience walking underneath a pine forest. It was in a wasteland, where everything was dead from lack of light entering the canopy. The below shots are not modified. It really was that dull.
I was camping at a place called “Old Bridge” that evening.
I had booked the site a couple months in advance, but need not have bothered. The girl showed me the site and asked me which site I booked, but then followed it up with, “it doesn’t really matter since you are the only one.”
I set up the tent and took a nap. I was startled soon after by something licking my face. After almost having a heart attack I saw the molester, which became my new friend for the overnight
Everything at this campsite was run on coin operated machines. I was fortunate to have a few Euros enough for the shower. But not enough for microwave, phone charger or hot plate. Thankfully the toilet was included in price.
I had to say goodbye to the dog, but it did lead to another grand idea. Instead of renting walking sticks, like some trails offer, why not have dogs to rent for the journey. How fun would it be to have a dog that knows the way. I guess you would need to go through some kind of background check to make sure you feed it. I might start that business in addition to all my other inspirations. You would return the dog at the end and get your “core charge” back. It’s like returning your dead car battery.
I was heading uphill again, I ran into another guy hiking the trail solo and we passed each other throughout the day. He told me that there was a pub at the end of the day that might let us camp in their backyard. Sounded good to me. I told him I would see him there.
I was getting close to Dublin. This would be my last night on the trail. I hiked pretty high that afternoon and the wind was raging when I got up on top the final hill
Finally I dropped in behind it, and came down to a creek, which obviously meant it was time for a nap.
I ate the rest of my food while stopped. Now I really had to find that pub for dinner or I would not eat until getting back into Dublin. I continued on getting closer to town, even getting glimpses of the Irish Sea along the way
When I go to a main road, I could either continue on with the trail or hike 2 miles down road to the Johnny Fox's Pub, where I might find food and shelter, but if that guy was wrong it would mean a 4 mile walk to get back to the trial. I saw no place to wild camp, so I risked it. The pub was actually a pretty touristy spot on the outskirts of Dublin
The owner was more than happy to let me camp in parking lot behind the pub. And when my fellow hiker showed up we shared a good meal and conversation on our last night on he trail.
Again the crowd was drinking and singing late, but I was in bed by 10pm. In the morning, my fellow hiker decided to sit and wait for pub to open at 10 to have coffee and a bathroom. I decided to start walking back towards the trail around 9am. I ran right into a Mountain Bike Gap Adventure Park, where they were serving breakfast. I had an Irish breakfast all stacked into a sandwich. It was glutenous, but delicious.
I thought about walking back to find my friend to tell him of the gold mine I found, but I figured he was in no rush to wait out the other place. I kept imagining running into him later and he acting famished, while I would say, “You mean you didn’t stop at that café for full breakfast and coffee? That sucks. It was amazing!”
I was on the last switchback down into the park outside Dublin where the trail officially started/finished. Not really that much fan-fare, but I snapped a photo anyway
I was officially done, but I was only about 5 miles short of 100 miles for the hike. I decided to just keep walking through town all the way to my hotel. I stopped often for beers and pastries.
I saw this Hurling stick in the window of a sports shop. I thought; that would be a cool souvenir to hang on my wall back home to commemorate the trip. I put that in the back of my mind for now.
I saw this green Mail box and it reminded me of a story McCormick, my hiking friend from yesterday, told me. He said when Ireland became independent from UK, that took all the English “Post” mail boxes and painted them from red to green. And here was an example of that
Here is a shot of me walking back into my hotel. For some reason I thought it was pretty cool that I took a bus from the hotel down south and walked the 100 miles back to that exact same hotel. 207K steps later
I washed all my clothes in the sink and prepared for part 2 of the adventure tomorrow