Statistics: 14.6 miles, ascent 2448′, descent 2230′, 6 /14 hours
As we began our first day of walking in Ireland, we were greeted by a beautiful, uncommonly sunny day. Also, this of all days was to be the day that the Pope would visit Dublin. Many buses were going to be delayed or canceled and the city would be in gridlock. This put us in a bit of a panic to get out of town quickly before we would be greatly delayed. As we walked out the front door of our B&B we spied our bus hurtling down the street towards us. We made a mad dash across the street just in time to leap on the bus. We were off on our Irish adventure!
The Wicklow Way begins at Marlay Park, a beautiful park in the suburbs of Dublin.
After walking through the park and then into a forest which led us up, up, and up, we emerged from the trees to see spectacular views of Dublin.
We were now treated to a trail that was laden with lavender heather and deep, yellow gorse. A distant, conical mountain, The Great Sugarloaf, could be observed for most of this day.
Everyone we met on this trail was quite cheery and friendly, including a very happy golden retriever who allowed us to give him a good scratch and then raced off to retrieve and display his toy sheep.
After lunch, which was enjoyed alongside a small road while sitting on a bridge, we navigated quite a few extended ascents and descents, ending in an evergreen forest. Horseback riders often passed and three of these riders stopped to chat with us.
The day’s walk ended at the Crone Woods Car Park where our personable B&B host, Yvonne, picked us up. We were served tea upon arrival at her delightful B&B, Coolakay House. Waiting for us on the front steps, as expected, were Frankie (who frequently hiked with us) and my mother, June.
Yvonne gave us a ride to dinner in Enniskerry, along with another couple and their dog. The other couple turned out to be a woman and her blind husband who were walking the Wicklow Way with his guide dog, Jeff. Phil and his wife, Norma, had hiked numerous, international long distance trails and were in Ireland to walk for a couple of months. Phil, who had been blinded in Vietnam, was inspirational.