Statistics: 11.7 miles, ascent 1434′, descent 1662′, 5 1/2 hours
Breakfast at Kyle Farm B&B was quite busy. Everyone was a Wicklow Way hiker, including three weary Irish backpackers. We all enjoyed sharing our adventures. As we prepared to leave the farm dogs ran up to bid us farewell. “Watch”, the Border Collie, was very excited to see us one last time.
Our B&B host told us of an ancient graveyard on the edge of her property and suggested that we investigate. The graveyard dated back over 1000 years and was covered with blackberry bushes. After some scouting around, we did uncover a portion of it.
About 2 hours into the walk we came upon the three backpackers we had chatted with at breakfast. Their packs were huge with numerous sacks and bundles attached at every possible spot, including a giant pillow. One hiker had removed her boots, exposing her bloody feet; she was clearly in pain and not enjoying her day. Once again I was reminded of how a successful trek requires good preparation and training.
Our day, however, was a fun ramble through the pastoral countryside.
The walk today ended at the tiniest pub we had encountered on our hike, The Dying Cow. The pub has been owned by the same family for five generations and the present owner, Lil, was there to greet us. The catchy name for the pub was the result of some quick thinking when a group of folks was caught in the pub drinking after hours. Their excuse was that they were there to help the owner with a sick cow!
Liam, from Olde Shillelagh B&B, picked us up to take us to the village of Shillelagh. Liam is a “stick” maker. The art of stick making is an old Irish technique that is rooted in the culture of Wicklow County. Each stick takes 3 to 5 years to make, and he ships them all over the world.
Liam is also a fascinating historian and storyteller who regaled us for almost an hour with the local history including the real story behind leprechauns, the Little People, fairies, Robin Hood and the Irish police and firemen in Boston.