At times the technology defeated me and I took the pictures but couldn’t remember how to upload them! So here is a selection and I hope you enjoy them.
This is Sandymount Strand where the River Liffey runs into Dublin Bay. It was a beautiful sunny day and this is the point where our walk was to begin. We walked from here along the southern bank of the River Liffey until we arrived at the sea-lock that connects the river and the Irish Sea ………
….. to the Grand Canal Basin.
It was at the point where the Grand Canal Basin ran into the Grand Canal that our walk really started. We had decided to follow the canal for its entire length – about 90 miles – on the basis that it was flat and that you could hardly get lost could you?
The charity that we were walking for had very kindly provided us with some useful walking gear i.e. a pink tutu, but to be fair, this being Dublin, I don’t think anybody noticed. It didn’t take long to realise what a fabulous asset this canal could be to the people of the city. It provides a beautiful way of crossing the city and even though we were close to the city centre, a sense of peace and tranquillity accompanied us along the tow path
By early afternoon we had begun to leave the city behind and were into the rolling countryside to the west of the city, with the Dublin Hills away to the south. The canal was as straight as an arrow and dead flat – in fact there are only 36 locks along the entire 90 mile length of the canal.
At times there were reminders of the past, but even the ruined buildings were an integral part of the landscape telling of a past that many modern Irishmen and women have little recollection of now. This was “The Pale” and we saw many ruined castles that had formerly served to keep the peace.
At the same time many of the canal-side houses had been renovated and now provide an idyllic existence for a lover of canals!
There are fewer settlements along the route of the canal than you might expect. It was always a relief to arrive in a settlement because there was always the chance of reviving aching feet by an internal application of Guinness
After six days of following the canal through the heart of Ireland we reached the end and were forced away from our constant companion and found ourselves following quiet lanes for the remainder of the journey.
We had chosen as straight a route as possible to our end point and just like the canal had been, the roads were also arrow straight for long distances. Some were very quiet and the walking was easy along flat roads flanked by hawthorn hedges.
In places we were forced to walk along major roads such as this one – you can see how busy it was walking along the main road from Athlone to Galway!
Some of the hotels we stopped at were a bit basic like the one above, but at least it boasted air conditioning which was a good thing because on every day that we were in Ireland it had been sunny and hot. Eventually, after ten days and about 140 miles we arrived at journey’s end – Galway Bay and were able to toast our success at a very handy restaurant and bar where friends and family had gathered to welcome us, and where even the Guinness glasses had to wear pink tutus.
And then all that there was left to do was watch the sun go down on Galway Bay and begin to think about the next daft scheme…. Thank you very much for sticking with this blog, it has been really encouraging to know that some people have actually enjoyed it. Thank you also for contributing so magnificently to our fund-raising. I think that we will easily reach our original target of £5000 and that makes all our aches and pains worthwhile. So, until the next time …. goodbye.