The events of this trip were designed and organized primarily by Dave Southall, Northern Ireland. Dave had been mountaineering in Great Britain and Ireland for over 30 years and was the only combined Blue Badge Guide and qualified Mountain Leader (Northern Ireland Mountain Leader Training Board) in the country. A former bank manager, he was awarded a first class honours degree in Environmental Science (2006) & Master of Research degree by the University of Ulster. More recently he completed a PhD in post glacial landscape evolution. He also held a Certificate in Archaeology from the Institute of Lifelong Learning at Queens University, Belfast.
Dave arranged to hire a van (which limited our hiking group to 12 people) and shuttled us around. Also, he booked our B&Bs, made our lunches for hike days and provided us with maps for the walks. Although we had a set itinerary, Dave would occasionally suggest switching days in the itinerary to suit the weather conditions which worked well and was greatly appreciated. Our resident Canadian, and very experienced, hike leader was Greg Vincent.
In addition to the free GPS tracks (GPX and KML) of each one of the walks, you will find an abbreviated itinerary, some maps and a limited number of pictures.
Free GPS Tracks for Ireland 2009 County Clare
Links to the GPS tracks for the walks we did on this trip appear at the bottom of this web page.
I have grouped the walks into two maps. Each map appears within the itinerary below.
Itinerary for Ireland Walking 2009 - County Clare, Traditional Music to Geology
2009SEP10 Thursday DAY 00 > Toronto to Dublin overnight, non-stop
2009SEP11 Friday DAY 01 > Arrived Dublin mid-morning
Hired sightseeing shuttle on way to hotel (e.g. Phoenix Park) plus around other parts of Dublin. Overnight Wynn’s Hotel, Dublin.
2009SEP12 Saturday DAY 02 > TOURING DUBLIN
We toured Dublin on foot as organized by Greg Vincent. Overnight Wynn’s Hotel, Dublin.
2009SEP13 Sunday DAY 03
> DUBLIN to COUNTY KILKENNY VIA WICKLOW MT ~ 12 km
After breakfast at Wynn’s Hotel in Dublin, Dave drove us to the Wicklow Mountains where we took a break from travelling by car. We were dropped off at the lower car park, Glendalough (Irish: Gleann Dá Loch, meaning "Glen of Two Lakes"). Glendalough is a glacial valley located in County Wicklow, renowned for its early medieval monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St Kevin, a hermit priest, and destroyed in 1398 by English troops. Near the lower car park, we visited the monastic village before walking to the upper car park passing by the Lower Lake. At the upper car park we walked a loop around the Upper Lake with a total walk of about 12 km. The loop walk involved a gradual ascent of about 382 m into the valley (glen) and then a descent on the other side of the two lakes.
From Glendalough Dave drove us to Kilmagig Lower, Avoca, Co. Wicklow where we had dinner at Fitzgerald's (52.857165, -6.212929) that is a pub where some of the BBC TV drama Ballykissangel was filmed. We proceeded to our unique accommodations at Foulksrath Castle Hostel, Jenkinstown, Co. Kilkenny (52.749654, -7.316078). Foulksrath Castle while retaining most of its original features, including stone spiral staircase, was a same sex dormitory hostel when we stayed in 2009. Note that Foulksrath Castle is no longer a hostel.
2009SEP14 Monday DAY 04
> TRAVEL to ROCK CASHEL for TOUR then on to DOOLIN (The Burren area)
On our way to Doolin (The Burren area)) we had a break/walk-about at the Rock of Cashel, Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland (52.519998, -7.890495). For the next few days and nights we were accommodated at a very good B&B called Ballyvara House (53.011274, -9.365823) in Doolin. We had dinner at Fitzpatrick's Bar (53.015986, -9.377145). My wife and I ordered two dinners of baked salmon. It was a great meal but we could have shared one and still be satisfied!
2009SEP15 Tuesday DAY 05
> CLIFFS of MOHER WALK ~ 11 km
This route followed the shoreline north of Doolin. The immense power of the Atlantic Ocean swells was evident from the massive limestone blocks, some more than 100 tonnes, that had been excavated from the cliffs. Beyond Doolin the walk southwards ascended gradually to the magnificent Cliffs of Moher. We walked about 11 km on limestone pavements and grassy cliff tops.
2009SEP16 Wednesday DAY 06
> VISIT to INIS OIRR ISLAND & WALK ~ 11 km
Pronounced Inisheer, the island is an extension of The Burren. The ferry port and parking lot were about a 1.5 km/3 minute (Google Maps) ride from Doolin. The ferry trip to this Aran Island was about 11 km involving a fee. The walks on the island varied and we walked a pleasant 7 km as shown on the map below. Most of the walks were on stony-sandy beaches and surfaced tracks.
The lyrics for the Inisheer tune are available here http://www.gaelchultur.com/en/newsletters/newsletterarticle.aspx?id=373
2009SEP17 Thursday DAY 07
> BALLYVAUGHAN AREA to FANORE AREA WALK ~ 14 km
Start: N53.10805 W9.20992 (near Lismacsheedy) about 4 km south east of Ballyvaughan. Finish: N53.12731 W9.27588 (in Murroogh /Murroughkelly on R477 & north of Fanore). The walk was about 14 km and part of it was on the ‘green road’ above Black Head and the southern shore of Galway Bay, immortalized by the song of the same name. We walked from N53.10805 W9.20992 (near Lismacsheedy) and between Cappanawalla Mountain and Gleninagh Mountain down to Galway Bay and had lunch at Gleninagh Castle for a distance of about 5 km. Then we followed the “green road”, around Black Head to N53.12731 W9.27588 (in Murroogh /Murroughkelly on R477 & north of Fanore) where Dave met us with the van. Near Fanore Beach a few of us hopped off the van and walked along the sand dunes to the mouth of the Caher River. Then we were off to Lisdoonvarna for dinner on our way back to Doolin. Lisdoonvarna is famous for its annual Match Makers Festival.
2009SEP18 Friday DAY 08
> ARCHAEOLOGICAL MONUMENTS of THE BURREN
The day consisted of being driven to each location and then walking to the monument.
Sequence: Poulnabrone Dolmen = N53.04764 W9.14115 -> Caherconnell = N53.04167 W9.13762 -> Lemanaugh Castle = N52.98764 W9.13940 -> Hilltop = N52.98459 W9.10024 -> Parknabinnia Wedge Tomb = N52.98816 W9.09548 -> Parking for Cathair Chomáin = N53.00989 W9.08135 -> walk into and out (2 km) Caherconnaum/Cathair Chomáin (triple stone ringfort) = N53.01469 W9.07027 -> Burren Centre, Kilfenora = N52.990180 W9.216124 -> Drive to the village of Lahinch, stroll along the shoreline followed by an Indian/Tandoori dinner below the Lahinch Hostel (N52.931136 W9.345926) -> Return to B&B in Doolin.
2009SEP19 Saturday DAY 09
> MOUNT MULLAGHMORE WALK, THE BURREN (NATIONAL PARK) ~ 8 km
Roadside parking at N52.99586 W9.02123. If there was only one picture epitomizing the changing nature of the earth’s crust, it would be that of Mullaghmore Mountain. We climbed to its summit at the modest height of 214 m (702 ft). The walk was 8 km over limestone terraces.
2009SEP20 Sunday DAY 10
> WALK MORE OF THE BURREN WAY
This was an 8-km segment across The Burren Way up and over what is often referred to as the Aillwee Mountain (ascent 100 m/300 ft). It was a walk along an ancient “green road”. It had spectacular views of the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, wind turbines, Fenore Beach, Black Head and Mullagmore Mountain we climbed the day before. After, we went through the Great Bear Cave, Aillwee (N53.08910 W9.14367) that is near The Burren Birds of Prey Centre. It was a pleasant, peaceful, beautiful and fun way to bring our hikes to an end on this trip. Thank you, Dave Southall!
The map below provides information on all the other walks we did in the Burren area of County Clare.
2009SEP21 Monday DAY 11
> SIGHT SEEING in ENNIS Friary 1242
The Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul rises above O'Connell Street, Ennis. River Fergus flows through Ennis. A monument to Irish nationalist hero Daniel O'Connell stands atop a tall column in O'Connell Square, the site of the old courthouse where he won the Clare by-elections in 1828.
2009SEP22 Tuesday DAY 12
> Transport from Doolin to Shannon Airport & flight to Toronto