Some hiking, camping, road tripping and reunions during my time back home in 2019
During 2019 I lived in South Dublin in a beautfiul shared apartment with stunnign views and started a new job, well a few new jobs actually. I worked as a spa manager, spa front of house, temporary spa receptionist and eventually a travel consultant at Trailfinders. 2019 was a mix of many different experiences, not only work wise, but definitely travel wise too. Although I managed to travel to a few new places during 2019 (Mexico/Ukraine), many of my trips were to local places in Ireland or places in Europe that I had been before (Scotland, England, Czech Rep and Italy.
During my time at home, not only was I invested in exploring new parts of my country, but I had also signed up for my 2019 challenge, to run the KBC Dublin half marathon. I found myself regularly training and hiking before and after work in the Dublin mountains to get fit and ready for the race that would be in Oct 2019. Some of my trips around Ireland included a trip to Westport to hike Croagh Patrick, a trip to Killarney to hike Irelands highest mountain Mt Carantoohill, a trip to Kilkenny with my mum and a trip to Achill for a big bike trip around the island. Inbetween these travels I also managed to see and visit different parts of the city and county including the amazing Victors Way in Wicklow (pictured below with ganesh statues), Glendalough and Sally Gap, some of my favourite scenery in Ireland.
During 2019 I was lucky enough to have some special people come to my city including my lovely Swede Lis who docked with Viking for the day and Erin who came over from Scotland for thr weekend (and of course I returned the visit not long after). I managed a few trips abroad with my other half at the time, including Hamburg, Freiberg and Basel to visit a dear friend from the camino. Every year I look back at the year and see how many new places Ive been, somehow I believed that 2019 was quiet in comparison to other years and in some ways it was, but looking back, I have done and seen a lot over the past year.
I ran the KBC half marathon in Oct in 2.5hrs, which was my goal for my very first ever race. I was delighted. During July/Aug I was lucky enough to be hired by Trailfinders UK, who sent me to London for 5 weeks and again in Oct for another week. I have written about my experience in my blog London 2019.
If visiting Ireland I would definitely recommend camping and hiking in the places I have mentioned ie Westport, Killarney and Achill. They are amazing spots to base yourself to see some beautiful scenery and work up a sweat. I spontaneously drove after work in south Dublin to Westport, Co.Galway for a long weekend. I craved peace, nature and scenery. I went completely off grip internet wise and just enjoyed my time staying in a cute B&B at the harbour where I met locals with inspiring stories, pushed myself up mountains (Croagh Patrick- the Irish Pilgrimage) and drove the Wild Atlantic Way stoppign at many towns and museums along the way including the free Irish Folk museum which was so so interesting. In Achill, we camped at a beach campsite not far from the main town on the island and explored some beautiful coves and beaches, where we even went for a quick swim, much to the shock of the locals. It was baltic!! We rented bikes at a local mans house and took them up and over the steep hills of Achill for over 40km, much to the shock of the man we rented them from (they were road bikes and incredibly hard to get up a hill). We explored tea rooms in Westport, ate dinner in nice country pubs, listened to live music and woke up to the sound of the waves each morning (and the sheep passing by the tent). Killarney was the main base for climbing Mt Carantoohill which is Irelands highest mountain (or hill). We explored Killarney town which was touristy as to be expected but had a lovely charm about it. We drove up (and got stuck) on the narrow roads through the National Park, surrounded by hillwalkers, animals, bikers and horse drawn carriages- like a scene from PS I Love You (more like PS I told you not to drove down this road). The hike up the mountain was a tad strenuous going up the infamous 'Devils Ladder' and coming back down through the fog and getting completely lost, not being able to see in front of us, but inbetween was breezy. Luxkily we joined forces with a group of Northern lads who were also lost, and found our way to the bottom in one piece.
2019 had a mix of adventure, alot at home but come to think of it, alot abroad too. Im looking forward to 2020 which will take me on some similar camping adventures however this time I will be in Portugal and living in a camper with my dog. Can i use this as my 2020 challenge??