Dubai or Dublin for a relaxing break….Annie chooses Dublin….mistake perhaps?

Dublin on Ryanair, what a bargain, but…10Kg and a bag the size of postcard meant appropriate measures would need to be taken or else it was a pants and socks only holiday!  Ah ha no restriction on clothes look at the link….so armed with kilos of Halloween candy for the young folk of Blackrock and a multitude of smart sweaters and trews for the Dublin nightlife Annie was on track for the big chill.  Yee ha walking boots are rested.

Dun Laoghaire

Stunning harbour and well ready for a swim

The notion of a relaxing break was given a bit of a test when a “stroll” up to Seapoint was suggested.  Well we were taking two lads under 10 so I guessed it wouldn’t be more than half an hour or so….ummmm I can’t get away from the walkers it seems.  Two hours later we were still striding up and down the pier, looking at seals, just caught fish, herons, cormorants, heron gulls, plovers and various other birds (all identified by the kids not by me!).  OK OK I enjoyed it but tomorrow it would be a lie in and a big chill, or so I thought.

Waking up to a very black day, rain thundering down I smiled.  So it was to be the Guiness Store, or perhaps the Book of Kells, or maybe just a pint of something, somewhere I cared not a jot I was on my hols.  Not a bit of it, young Oirish (yes a nick name) advised the team she had made a picnic and we were off to Wicklow and Glendalough, well that sounded ok but I wondered what the picnic was for?

A very wet day for a walk…not happy

Ah I see the Wicklow mountains not “Wicklow” great.  My Calvins, oversized Ryanair jacket and a pair of borrowed size 7s did not seem ideal walking gear but if the kids could do it in school shoes and non-waterproof parka jackets I would be ok….

So the Derrybawn Woodland Trail it was, only 8km with a 160m climb we should be done in 2 hours….or so we thought…off we set with the littlest person in our group about as happy as Annie….where was that smile.  He had thought we were going to a football field I had thought we were going to the seaside…both wrong.  Mummy had to hold a little hand for the stride up the hill and through the very rainy woods….

Well ok the view was pretty good and probably worth getting out of bed for….but the picnic sitting on the wet ground, in wet clothes with wet sandwiches was not.

Glendalough – Glen of two lakes

Glendalough in the mist was actually pretty good and the boys got to play football when we eventually reached the park (2.5 hours in the rain), not sure football usually has my body as a goal but this is Ireland after all?  Annie got a cold but had a great day and suspects when the sun is shining it is well worth a tramp.

Dublin was probably a better bet than Dubai I mean who wants sun, sea and sand at this time of year!

Lugnaquilla….what on earth

Annie, missing the company of various mutts got a welcome invite to join some mates in a clamber up Ireland’s 13th highest mountain, at 925 metres and with views across the Irish sea to Snowdonia on a sunny day, the march up Lugnaquilla was a trip not to be missed.

Getting up at the crackle of dawn (in Ireland this appears to be just past 09.00 hrs) and jumping in a somewhat iconic car, a great beast of an old Citroen, the adventure was already underway.  Nearing Glenmalure from Dublin, via Glendalough, (a few detours avoided with the GPS of an old iPhone) we arrived at the first car park, then the second and the ….fourth, yes keep going to the end of the valley and you will be in the right place, we know this as a fell runner from New Zealand told us.  Taking a map should have been a prerequisite but hey this team was being led by Irish so sensible did not feature.

Ummm a few signs and a little reading taught us that the road we were on was built by the military, very narrow with the steep walls of the u-shaped valley climbing up-up-up it feels like miles before you hit the final car park.  (It was only when reading up on the walk, after a few days, that we realised we had walked across a firing range in error….)

The route from the car took us across a footbridge and then striding out we passed a quaint little hostel, stopped for a chat with the landlady who bizarrely has never climbed the mountain, did not know where the path was and had no idea how long it might take…why is she running the hostel?

After a while we hung a left up a forest track and dived straight into the glen and it’s beautfiul river and waterfall, we then spent most of our time looking for the obvious path up, it wasn’t obvious, was very boggy and pretty dangerous….thank the Lord for my new shoes, waterproof with extra grip.

At the top of the Wicklow mountains

We met a total of three other people in our five hour trek, this is not like the English hills, much more remote and untrodden and our decision to make out our own route on the way down was not very wise, or was it?  We scrambled down cliffs and peat bogs, almost fell into rivers and got a few scrapes and bruises, but eventually found a dry grassy spot for our lunch stop totally surrounded by steep hills with stunning views right across to Wicklow and the Irish Sea.If you have mates in Dublin make sure they take you up the Lug, but don’t try to pronounce that in front of the local linguist who was in charge of guiding and all things picnic, and proud of it, or you will be shamed….I was.  Another great stride out but I missed having the company of a mutt or two.

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