During the last few days something incredible has happened. The weather in Ireland improves! Over a week without rain, nearly no clouds and “high” temperatures. This chance has to be used. Luckily the Inniscarra Reservoir is basically around the corner, 20 minutes by car and there’s a kayak rental.
Two (or three?) years back I’ve done a kayak course and learnt how to maneuver a sea kayak. Today I got a sit-on-top kayak but to get back in shape it was quite ok. The whole set of equipment can be rented from Lee Valley Harbour and if you don’t have a clue how to move a kayak they also offer courses. Off I go, perfectly fitted out.
The reservoir covers an area of about 530 hectares so there’s enough different routes and it shouldn’t be boring. I’ve decided to head to the Carrigadrohid Castle since it’s about half an hour each way which was a good distance to start with. Here are few impressions from the water.
I hope the weather stays that good, if everything works out next weekend I’ll plan the next trip. If you’re not into active sports you can also rent a motorboat including fishing gear.
Now and then if there is enough time (and the weather is not too bad) I’d like to jump in the car and head for one of the nearby forests. Ireland isn’t exactly known for deep woods but there are some reforestation areas and while you won’t get lost in them they offer possibilities for nice hikes. Most (if not all) are owned by Coillte and for some an entrance fee needs to be paid.
Let’s start with some pictures of my recent visit to Mullinhassig Wood & Waterfalls (Wiki). It’s a bit hidden. Here is a map which shows the location of the parking space and the beginning of a short trail just next to the junction.
The weather wasn’t the best so I didn’t spend too much time there. I just read on the wiki that there is a second waterfall which I haven’t seen yet but there’s always a next time. In order to get nice pictures you have to visit at the right time because if there’s not enough water then your waterfall photos won’t be that nice.
Next there is Farran Wood. You have to pay 5€ per car and the machine will take coins only so be prepared for this. There is an adventure park offering different high rope courses for all age groups. The park itself has a two or three looped walks and a fenced area with deers.
I think there’s been a storm lately and quite a few trees have been cut down so it is not as nice as it once was but still is a nice place.
If you’re a lover of bluebells there is Ballyannan Woods near Midelton, see the map for the location of the “car park” below. There is no entry fee for this forest.
If you come at the right time of the year you will be greeted by a dense carpet of bluebells spreading through the whole forest. I’m not sure if this is common for Irish forests but this one is certainly a beauty and worth a visit. I haven’t been there so much for walking but twice with the Blarney Photography Club so I don’t know much about how long the trails there are. But at least I’ve got some photos from there to give you an impression.
There are enough other forests to visit and I’m sure there will be a follow-up post somewhen soon so stay tuned.
For some strang reasons the weather in Ireland is getting better, some are even talking about a heat wave. For the uninitiated: above 20°C for longer than two days counts as heat wave in Ireland. Since I had to go to Clonmel anyway, I took Rhys with me so we can have a look around. At the tourist information there was plenty of information available, food can be bought everywhere and the approach is quite doable.
It looks like most of the “parking spaces” are rather junctions to forest roads. Since we didn’t have any maps we just started walking. Since a few hundred meters we found the first trail markings and followed them.
Since we didn’t have that much time we didn’t do the whole loop but we didn’t miss much either. These days rhododendron is blooming and in the mountains you would see forests of them:
If you have enough time it’s always rewarding to stop now and then and have a look around:
For the next trip we make sure we have enough time and hopefully the same great weather to tackle the summits.
Finally got some time to write this up. A week ago now I had the opportunity for a trip to the Aran Islands (Inis Mór) and Martin joined me. Since it takes a while to get to the ferry terminal from Galway we booked a B&B nearby so we wouldn’t have to rush in the morning.
After the obligatory Irish breakfast we headed off to the ferry, the weather was quite ok for the trip, not too cold or windy, sometimes we had even sun. During the passage dolphins accompanied us for a while and soon the destination showed up on the horizon.
After landing we headed to the bike hire shop and rented bikes for the day since we didn’t want to be crammed up in a tourist bus and explore the island in our own pace. There are quite a few sights, unfortunately we missed a few but there are plans to head back somewhen next year.
Apart from the historic sites you will come across goats, horses, donkeys, various birds and depending on the time of the day also some seals. Unfortunately out timing was a bit off so no luck with that.
After maybe 5 hours of cycling (I just realized in what a bad shape I am when it comes to cycling) we returned to our starting point and took the ferry back to Ros a’ Mhíl.
On a side note: I realized again how cumbersome it is to have everything with you photography wise if you want to be prepared to get a good shot for each eventuality, really thinking of looking into some light alternative for the big Canon just for travel photography.