An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
If you walk Ireland’s Dingle Way, many a road will rise up to meet you. If you walk it during the wettest June in recorded history, much rain will fall soft upon your face and much rain will pound upon your head. Some winds will, indeed, be at your back – but many more will whip the plastic raincoat around your ears and impede your progress. And, you may despair of the sun shining ever again!
Or so it was for us, as we walked the 167 or 179 kilometres (depending on whom you believe) from Tralee to Camp and back again, around the Dingle Way. It was ten days of rain, wind and occasional sun – and it was marvellous. It must be VERY special in good weather!
We had booked our walk well ahead of time with “Footfalls”, who manage Irish walking tours: both guided and self-guided, which is what we were doing. They sent us travel notes and maps, booked our hotels, suggested places to eat, and got our bags from A to B. Once we got ourselves to Tralee, making use of the rather excellent Irish buses (Bus Éireann), we just had to walk the planned route, along mostly well-marked (albeit muddy, rocky and narrow) trails, to get ourselves to our nightly destinations.
An excellent start to your holiday, the way offers some superb views of Tralee and coastline. Traverses along the flanks of the Slieve Mish Mountains. Takes you through an old deserted village and ruined church.
Distance: 17.5 km/11 miles, Ascent: 200 m/600 ft
Our first day of walking – “Day 2” – lured us into a false sense of security. The sun was shining and the birds were singing as we set off along the canal and across the River Lee to find the path around Slieve Mish Mountains, overlooking Tralee Bay.
After what seemed like a long climb up a dwindling road, we carefully crossed a gateway onto the rocky paths and boggy grasslands of the Slieve Mish Mountain foothills.
We had no rain this day (the first and last day without rain for the whole of our walk – indeed for the whole of our stay in Ireland), but our boots were muddy and our pants were wet to the knees from the bogs we had sloshed across.
“I’ve seen worse!” our hostess laughed as we hobbled into our night’s accommodation.
So, we knew we were in good hands – and ready for the challenge of the next day’s adventure.
Sláinte – Good health!