Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Went Walking - County Carlow

After spending a few days visiting with family in Dublin, the always affable David drove John and me down to Tullow in County Carlow to visit more family. Carlow is off the beaten tourist track, as it were, and isn't as well known as other parts of the country, like the Ring of Kerry or the Cliffs of Moher.  I'm happy to have the quiet lanes remain quiet, but in my not so humble opinion, the area certainly deserves to be on the list of must-cycle places, thanks to the wide open views of rolling green countryside and windswept mountains, including John's favorite Mt Leinster in Blackstair Mountains between Counties Carlow and Wexford. A couple of years ago, John and I pedaled down from Dublin, and then joined David for a couple of fabulous rides in the area. It was heartbreaking for me to miss out riding here this time, but Daphne humored me by taking me out for a few walks, while John and David went out for rides.

On that last trip, John, David and I rode over the shoulder of Mt Leinster, but did not ride up the brutally steep road to the tower. This time, David and John decided to take in the same route, while Daphne and I planned to drive out and meet them at the gate, where we could park and walk up to the top and back. Poor Daphne had broken her wrist the week before and her arm was in plaster, but she was a real trooper, walking with me all the way up to the mast. The lads decided to pass on riding up, citing a long ride still to go and minimal daylight hours in December. They missed a screaming tailwind for the journey up, and a howling headwind for the trip down!

It was windy and chilly, but sunny when we arrived at the gate, at almost precisely the same time as John and David.

Clouds started to close in as we hiked up the road

Looking out at the sunny landscape below

Arriving at the tower as the clouds settled in

It actually cleared again as we walked back down, but Daphne passed on returning to the summit for a second shot at a sunny picture there. On our way back home, we did stop at a nice café with a roaring fire, where we showed ample appreciation for the warmth it provided.

The next day, we decided on a longer walk along the path by the River Barrow from Milford Park to Leighlinbridge.

The obligatory photo of Irish sheep

More glorious Irish sunshine

We had lunch at the Arboretum lifestyle and Garden Center known for its fancy sinks and urinals. Maybe I'll order one of these for home!

Photo borrowed from website, since I didn't actually barge in to the men's room with my own camera!
For our final day in Carlow, we headed to Rathwood for a couple of laps of the forest walk (carefully avoiding being run over by the very popular at this time of year Santa train).

There's always a black sheep!

We followed this up with a very dangerous side trip to the Chocolate Garden before finishing off the day by checking out the Christmas market at Duckett's Grove

Daphne wasn't really threatening me with her plaster cast!
No trip to Carlow is complete without a visit to Duckett's Grove
There is lots of hill-walking in the nearby mountains, but not so easy out the back door walking as we had in Dublin. Maybe on our next trip, we can combine some cycling and hill-walking and get the best of both worlds!


  1. Great to see you walking about, across beautiful paths in Ireland, no less. I am discovering the joys of walking as well. It's different. Slower. Things don't whiz by as fast. They say walking inspires thinking, meditation, poetry even. I see you have an interest in urinals. Functional beauty. What more could you ask for at the end of a nice walk? Keep on exploring.

    J from Philly

  2. Walking has definitely been a change of pace alright. I definitely think a lot when I walk alone, but I did a lot of that while riding alone too. I have found that walking with other people tends to be better for conversation. Folks don't seem to get competitive urges when walking!