Day 4: North-iest

Hello all. Thanks so much for coming back! We’re actually in Dublin now, staying in a modern apartment all to ourselves (we feel so fancy!). Now we bring you to one of our favorite and least favorite days – day 4.

Since we had missed Slieve League the day before, it was number one on our list of things to do. We packed up the car, said farewell to our sea-view room, and headed down to breakfast (since we were staying at an official B&B). A note about breakfast: We had an over easy egg, cooked tomato, sausage (much better than the over-processed stuff back home), and ham cooked like bacon. I know ham and bacon come from the same animal but that’s what it tastes like and, in my book, that means it tastes better.

Having driven the route the night before only to realize it was too foggy, we set out to the cliffs. The sun shining and only a hint of rain, it was the perfect weather for hiking so hike we did. Now, if you are reading this because you’re planning a trip might I recommend that you park in the upper car park. We initially were confused thinking that the gate meant you could only walk through it – no. It is a 6km hike up from the lower car park to the upper. Just open the gate, drive through, and then shut the gate as there are roaming sheep about that I’m certain are to remain within the gated area. After hiking 1.2km, from the lower car park and getting drenched in a brief rain, we turned around to retrieve our car realizing our mistake. Once arriving at the upper car park, we exited our vehicle to be greeted with spectacular views.

If you didn’t know, Slieve League is like hipster Cliffs of Moher – they’re nearly 2x as high but not at all as popular as the Cliffs. Also, you have to hike to the summit instead of getting to drive so I’m certain that is also a bit of a deterrent. Not for us. One step in front of the other, occasionally stopping to avoid being blown over the edge by the powerful wind, we ascended.

Remember when I said we hiked up the equivalent of 75ish flights of steps, that’s no joke but I do admit we didn’t make it to the summit. We came ill-prepared for such a strenuous hike and once reaching what I’d call “nearly the summit” we agreed we were happy with our feat and would simply have to come back someday (hiking and the views making this my favorite day)

Hiking back down was a lot easier on the legs but the wind was2016-09-16-11-49-39 still a monster to contend with. Finally back at the car park, we took a moment to do a little shopping. As suggested by my mother, we have been attempting to only purchase souvenirsΒ from the little carts that people bring to popular spots. In this case, 100% wool knitted items from a nearby farm such as scarves and sweaters. Looking back, we both wish we had bought more there instead of waiting since now in Dublin, looking at the souvenir shops, everything is “Made in China”. We walked away with a hat for me and a lovely green wool blanket for our home complete with the fresh scent of sheep.

Being much further behind schedule than we had hoped and checking into our first official Air B&B later, we opted to skip a few of the smaller stops we had planned. A back roads drive to Grianan of Aileach was our next stop. Again, we opted to take the backroads as much as possible. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of these green views.

I think the original settlers and builders knew what they were doing when they decided where to plant their forts and castles and manors. I’m a little bit jealous. Grianan of Aileach is one such fort that dates to approximately the 6th century and has spectacular views of the surrounding country including looking over into the UK (our next stop).

Finally, we headed into Derry where we thought we’d be able to check into our room between 4-5pm but after waiting on the person’s doorstep until 5:30pm, we decided to take a walk around the city until we heard back from him. We had initially hoped to drive up to Malin Head, Ireland’s northern most point where filming of Star Wars has just wrapped up and many boast of its beautiful ocean views. Due to the timing of checking-in we had to miss this (which is the part that makes it my least favorite day – missing things) but we did get a chance to walk the old city wall.

After a fancy dinner feeling a bit defeated by it all, we walked back to our room and called it an early night. We walked the most on this day, clocking in well over 20K steps/ 10 miles and 75 flights of stairs.

2016-09-16-21-37-15

Now, we’re off to explore Dublin so, until next time… I just realized I’ve forgotten my usual farwell – live long and prosper, dear readers!

The Jensens

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