The astute reader of the HappiHalls blog may have noticed that we haven’t posted a blog post for sometime, and wondered if maybe we’d given up our life on the road. Well….just to be clear, no, and there’s little chance of that happening in the foreseeable future!
Since returning from France and the Netherlands in the spring, our summer has been spent with our families, with most of us our time getting Phil’s mum and dad’s home downsized, and then moved up to Lincolnshire. (We could have done without Phil’s mum breaking her hip on the first day of our family holiday!)
With all the immediate family duties fulfilled, and with a couple of months available to us before our winter trip to the far east, we decided to head over to Ireland for five weeks to take in as much as we can of the “Wild Atlantic Way” – a defined coastal route going from Cork in the south, all the way up to Derry in the north.
The Wild Atlantic Way is billed as the worlds “Longest defined coastal touring route” which is maybe surprising for a country the size of Ireland, but at 2,500 kilometres, it’s definitely a bit more than a day trip.
The enjoyment is in the journey, not the destination so we’re not planning to cover the whole 2,500 kilometres! The beauty of what we do is that we can take it slowly, enjoy the scenery, do some fishing, watch the wildlife and generally whatever takes our fancy when we wake up each day. What we don’t get done on this trip – we can do another time.
So a week ago, we boarded our ferry at Liverpool, and after a fantastically smooth eight hour crossing, we disembarked at Dublin. We’ve both visited Dublin before, so we headed straight out of the city, into the hills for a wildcamp at “Johnnie Foxies” pub, and some real Irish Guinness at the highest pub in Ireland. Guinness in Ireland tastes so much better than it does in England, and even Carol managed a pint albeit with a few groans and grimaces along the way!
A week on and we’ve finally found our way down to Cork, and the start of the Wild Atlantic Way. We’ve had a fantastic journey so far, following the coast road all the way down to Cork from Dublin. By and large we’ve bypassed all the major towns and cities – we’ve pretty much decided we’re country folk, and we’d much rather be looking out across hills, water and coastline than walking around towns and cities.
Of our six nights in Ireland, we’ve wild camped for five of them, just using one campsite for one night, to top up with water and get rid of waste etc. There are tons of easy places to stop and every night we’ve had amazing stopovers, always parked next to water and overlooking the sea.
We even managed a swim in the cold Irish Sea at one deserted little cove that we came across. The people we’ve met along the way have been fantastic; it’s sometimes been difficult setting off in the mornings with the locals out for a walk wanting to stand and chat for hours.
Our one let down and disappointment has been in our search to find a bar with some traditional Irish music. We thought we had it cracked in a small town called Dungarvan where the traditional music started at 9.30pm, but this was Saturday night in the main pub in the town, and by 9.30 the guys in the bar had sunk a few beers. As the music started, the guys talked louder, and as the music got louder so did the guys, until they pretty much drowned out the combined might of the fiddles, banjoes and ukuleles!
Our search for a decent night of traditional music goes on, Tonight we’re in Clonakilty and a hot date at a highly recommended bar “de Barras”, where we’ve been guaranteed to find what we’re looking for. We’ll see !