Monday, March 9, 2009

Portmarnock - Mar 7th 09

With my wellies on and my rain jacket in my handbag, I thought I was well-prepared for a long stroll along Portmarnock beach. Temperature had dropped during the night, but I just ignored. When I started my walk, the weather was brilliant.

I could see the Wicklow mountains covered with snow, then the sky turned dark slowly.

I thought I might make it back without being hit by that weather change. I was wrong. Unnecessary to mention that it was extremely windy, but now it starting hailing. It was quite painful. I had managed to put my rain jacket on and to hide my face in the hood, but it still hurt. I walked faster back toward the dunes. And then, as suddenly as it had started, it ended and the sun returned.

Sydney Parade - Mar 07th 09

This time, I thought, I want to see more of the beach close to Irishtown. I thought it might be a long walk along the coastline. So I left the train at Sydney Parade and walked to the beach. We had low tide and I would have walked toward the sea, if the sand was only less slippery, and as I didn't bring my wellies, I ended up with wet shoes.
So I retreated and walked back to Irishtown following the coastline. It was a short, but very nice walk.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Howth again - Feb 28th 09

Every first Sunday in a month there is the Smithfield market; a very special market: horses are sold here on the place in front of the former Park Inn Hotel. I have never really stopped here, but this time I took my camera and walked over there. It was hard to get on the place, I had to sneak in and find my way between horses and men.

Sunday mornings, the city is almost empty. Most people I met were on their way to church or to the market...

If you started these walking tours, you can get kind of addicted to it, especially if it is close to the sea and you don't like your apartment. Anyhow, promise of wonderful weather made me leaving for Howth again.
And, of course, to watch the seals... To be honest, I feel pity for them. They get fatter every day with day tourists passing by, being overly excited and buying fish for them, feeding and teasing them with food. But not all of them fight for food. There was one seal, a white one, which kept in the background and observed what was going on...

It was quite busy there, probably because there was a market going on there. A lot of French people actually... These ones are observing and admiring one of these people who actually go swimming in the sea despite of weather and temperature.

I then followed the path to the Cliff Walk and started of my tour to the lighthouse.

This time, I wanted to return back to Howth and explore the beach that I had spotted in the morning. However, I got lost. The good thing about getting lost on an island is, that you will always find your way back and, sometimes, places you had not seen before. I found my way on the top of the hills and enjoyed a magnificient view all around.

The Docklands - Feb 27th 09

Honestly, I planned to go out of town... But then, I felt like having coffee in a nice coffee shop and enjoying these delicious cinnamon buns which I then of course didn't get... Therefore, I changed my plans and followed the Liffey towards the port. I passed the O2 stadium, crossed a bridge, walked through Ringsend and Irishtown directly to the sea.

The two towers of the power station close to Irishtown Nature Park were visible and I walked toward them. I have never been that close, and the funny thing is you can see these towers from almost everywhere along the coast.

I strolled along the beach... to the pier and to the red lighthouse.

I returned the same route I came...

Cliff of Moher - Feb 21st 09

When I did the trip to Connemara, I really enjoyed myself. So I figured, going to the Cliffs of Moher would be likewise enjoyable. This time, however, I went with Maria and Erik.
After a short night at a hostel in Galway, we boarded the bus to the cliffs. There was not one empty seat! And our tour guide, and this was the most annoying thing!, repeated every single sentence three times. The stops were very short and like sheeps - no! like Japanese tourists visiting Neuschwanstein - we ran from one spot to the other.

We first stopped at Dunguaire Castle and had time to walk once around the castle, before boarding the bus again. The second stop was a stone fort and we were allowed to walk once around the fort, before we left.

The next proper and enjoyable stop was at The Burren. Unfortunately, we had not enough time to explore more on our own or to wait for the clouds to disappear, especially as ist was so beautiful there! We then had a short photostop at another castle (I hate photostops... you only manage to grab your camera, run outside, hectically taking one picture after the other, because there is no time to enjoy the surrounding environment, because you have been told to be fast! Maybe it is the German attitude to obey these orders, I certainly shall learn to drive my own car to be able to stop and admire at my own pace!)

We just had enough time to run through a church and the surrounding cemetary to have a short look at these celtic crosses, before heading to our lunch break in Doolin.

After lunch, we set off to the Cliffs of Moher and were allowed to walk around for more than one hour. We followed the coastline and, as everybody else, we ignored the sign telling us that we must not pass. Admitted, the path was very narrow and very close to the cliffs, but the more dangerous, the better!

Then, of course, as always on guided bus tours there is one person that is staying behind. We had to wait for her almost 15 minutes! However, we then followed the coast route back to Galway and had another short stop at the sea...