I will start this blog with a short back story to the idea of this mini adventure. A few months back someone got in touch with me through my blog, a paddle boarder from Spain and working in Ireland as an instructor. She is an adventurer and has some great expeditions under her belt and big plans ahead. Anyway, she invited me out for a paddle board adventure. The idea was to train me up as I've never done it before and then head out for a couple of nights wild camping and paddling. Sounds perfect right? Well... About four days after booking the flights she unfortunately went and broke her foot.
Flights were already booked so we just changed the plan. I'm a huge lover of the mountains and she assured me she has made a plan for me and I will not be disappointed. I couldn't wait. I pretend I don't like surprises but I was excited about this. I've never climbed in Ireland, in fact, I've never been to Ireland so this was great. She knows I don't like cities so my holiday plans were now in her hands.
I flew out early hours Saturday and met her for the first time in the shop where she works from in Dublin. We've been chatting for a while now so it was not a complete surprise to learn what sort of person she is. After I had some breakfast she sent me packing locally around one of her favourite places with a few challenges. No rest for me, straight into it. Hiking kit on, and a hand drawn map with places I had to find along route. I felt like I was a child again on a treasure hunt!
This was a great day and I think I passed. My tour guide finished work and the next stop was the Wicklow Mountains National Park for the next day. What a place this was. Beautiful. I spent the day hiking in the hills and making friends with local wildlife. It was amazing.
Again, no rest. Back in the car and a long drive ahead to the South West. County Kerry was the destination. The plan was for me to climb Ireland's highest mountain, Carrauntoohil. Had to get this peak bagged.
The B and B was amazing and was to be home for the next two nights. This place is really in the middle of nowhere. It was incredibly beautiful. If you get the chance to even drive around you have to. It's amazing.
Morning came and I had to leave my host again for a day on my own in the hills. Such a shame about the foot but she didn't want it to stop me having a great time. One thing that amazes me about hiking in Ireland is how quiet it is. I climb a lot in the UK and it's quite difficult to find solitude. Too many people. This place was empty. It was amazing. I had Ireland's highest mountain all to myself. All day was spent hiking off track to reach this summit. The route I chose was incredible. It was tough, off track and wild. Perhaps that's why I didn't see anyone!
The remainder of the trip was spent doing a bit of tourist stuff and giving the injured host a bit of company and help getting around. We explored castles, drunk Guinness and took lots of pictures of the amazing landscape and scenery. I love this place, the stunning beauty of the hills. I'm always drawn to mountains, they fuel my soul and this place will always be remembered.
The summit of Ireland's highest mountain, Carrauntoohil