Pilgrims

The WAW

Road trip around Ireland we said. In winter, yes perfect! Everything will be quiet. Dramatic. We’ll drive the entire Wild Atlantic Way in a week, because Ireland fits inside New South Wales seven times. We want to see green and grey cliffs plunging into grey seas. We want to stay in pokey surf shacks on long, deserted beaches. We’ll go for country hikes over luscious green hills and explore crumbling castles.

What shall we do first? We’ll go up to Northern Ireland and hike its tallest mountain, Slieve Donard.

Visibility, temperature and wind speed at the top were optimal…

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So we’re two days in, and have just crossed the border back into Ireland, which I’m stoked about because I no longer have to convert miles to kilometres to know how fast I can go. We’ve just pulled up on the side of the road, bright green grass sloping into frothy grey ocean on our right and craggy, steep cliffs ascending on our left. We’re both nattering away, lulled into a false sense of calm and warmth from inside the car. And then Jill opens her door, and it’s like we just let Cyclone Stan in. Two days worth of dash-board debris — including a pair of Jill’s knickers that were drying in the almost-sun — get lifted up and blown out the door. Whilst Jill’s chasing them around the cliff’s edge, I’m legging it across some very springy Irish coastal grass after our road map, which is also airborne and being buffeted erratically around the highway edge.

Here is Jill trying to get her scarf under control on said cliff edge.

We had wanted to get a photo of us and our micro car, Willy, who would in the coming days be jerked around winding coastal roads, through gale force winds and up narrow mountains shrouded in fog so thick it seemed slice-able. He had to wait patiently for us while we tried to make salad soda-bread sandwiches at freezing road-stops, and dealt with detours to damp, crumbling castles so I could pretend I was a 17th century Irish marquess. We passed up the opportunity to surf in 5 degree water in Sligo, and nearly got blown off the cliffs at Kerry attempting to do a video log.

How to conclude what felt like a mad dash through Ireland’s winter elements? By  nearly drowning in Guinness and Irish whisky at a pub in Dublin for my birthday.

Sár-obair Déanta! Which means, ‘a job well done!’

I think.

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