Our walking adventure begins at Marlay Park at the southern edge of Dublin. The Wicklow Way is arguably Ireland's most popular walking trail. And why not? A quick car ride out of Dublin takes its citizens into a world of mountain treks.
Our trek will include the entire length of the Wicklow Way, six days as it meanders through the hills of Wicklow on its way south to Clonegal. The first day of 26 kilometers leaves Marlay Park and rises steadily, steeply up the formidable hills just beyond the city. It is a challenging start for two flat landers whose only altitude trading consists of climbing the paltry heights of Winnipeg's Garbage Hill. It's hard work for our first day of true hiking. But the hike yields splendid views down to the city of Dublin. It's a sunny, warm day. The start of warmer weather for May, so we are told. The least rainy month of the year, so we are told.
Today that advice rings true and although the 700 meters of elevation change takes its toll, we arrive at Coolakay Bed and Breakfast tired but exhilarated with our accomplishment. A fine dinner of local duck and a pleasant Bordeaux closes the deal.
The next day arrives with broken promises. It is overcast and rainy as we head out on an even more daunting 28 kilometer walk with a 1000 meters in elevation change. Promised vistas disappear behind a veil of mist. The higher we climb, the less visibility we have. But, as lacking as the long-distance views might be, the fog forces an intensive respect for the textures and saturated colors lying at or feet. There is a wonderful mystery to it all, much better than the usual views over valleys to distant hills.
By the time we arrive at Mountain View Lodge, we are exhausted. A condition quickly reversed with a dinner of local fish, French rosé and Irish Whiskey at the Wicklow Heather Restaurant in nearby Laragh.