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Posts from the ‘clearskiescamino’ Category

3 months until the Kerry Camino

I’m not one for countdowns (ok..I am!) but it is just under 3 months before I wander to the south of Ireland and start the Kerry Camino. This is a relatively short trail compared to the ones I am used to in Spain and Portugal but the thought of just walking with a pack is liberating. I write this while Storm Ciara does her worst outside but hopefully in May all this mad weather will have abated.

Kerry Camino near Tralee / Photo: outsider.ie

Being in Ireland, you just can’t predict what weather you are going to get, especially in May. So the best thing to do is prepare for all seasons. I really can’t see my kit changing that much. I suppose the only parts that will test me is where the trail goes “off-road” or where it is super-mucky after a rain shower! I’m so used to road-walking, or walking on flat trails on the Camino, that I get put off by any bit of descent or ascent. And this is where a good stick comes in. I always buy one before I walk a Camino. Not the metal or ultra-light type. A good wooden one. I will have some time in Tralee before I start out so I can look around for one. It is great for support, not just physical.

My brother is coming along and we have reserved some accommodation in advance. It was just an idea as Tralee and Dingle are usually very busy. I had planned on walking this route alone a few years back luckily the brother was really eager to come along this time. Below are the list of accommodation we have reserved. You might leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of them:

  • Tralee: Glenfort House
  • Camp: Finglas House
  • Annascaul: Dingle Gate Hostel (looking forward to the South Pole Inn)
  • Dingle: Rainbow Hostel

The days are pretty short, 15km to 20km each day, I don’t have a guidebook but www.kerrycamino.com has great information and maps. The traditional arrow you see on the Camino is replaced by a sign and a picture of a little man walking. There are many stamping stations dotted around the trail and when you arrive in Dingle you will be awarded with a certificate. The Kerry Camino is one of the Celtic Caminos and walking this plus walking from A Coruna to Santiago will earn you with a compostela.

But, I have three months to go. I have much to do. Follow me here as I prepare for this Camino in May. Buen Camino!

Happy Christmas / Feliz Navidad

I will keep this short. I will write a longer post once the festivities are over. It’s kind of surreal that we are moving into a new decade, 2020. I remember the start of the millennium, so time is surely flying. I think that was one of the last times I truly rang in the New Year.

But we are not there yet. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and while many will still rush and worry about not “being ready”, in essence, the material things don’t matter at the end of the day.

Christmas is about family, friends and looking forward to good times ahead. I like to think of those who read this blog as my Camino family! So to all who read my posts and have supported me throughout the year, I wish you a Happy Christmas and the very best for 2020.

Towns Along The Way – “G”

Onwards we go to the next letter in the ‘Towns Along The Way’ alphabet. There are 3 towns beginning with G; one in Castilla y Leon, another in La Rioja and the last in Galicia. Again, please comment if you have stayed in any of these towns.

Grañón (map)

Roughly 8 days into your Camino, you will meet GrañónIt is situated between Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Belorado in the La Rioja province of northern Spain. It has a population of just over 300 people. On entering the village, it seems like it doesn’t have much to offer but one of its highlights is Iglesia de San Juan Bautista. The church offers basic accommodation to pilgrims, and you can sleep in its bell tower and look at the stars if you wish (gronze.com). I have passed through Grañón on 2 occasions, preferring to walk to Belorado. In 2013, I passed through in minutes as the weather was poor; however, in May 2015, I stopped for over an hour for a few cervezas. So if you are passing through, my advice is to stop here and stay in San Juan Bautista.

El Ganso (map)

Calling El Ganso a village is a stretch as it consists of a number of derelict buildings, a cowboy bar and is home to 36 people. Nevertheless, the Way passes through it and I will mention it. El Ganso is Spanish for “The Goose” and it is based in Castilla y Leon. On reaching this town, you will notice that the terrain starts to gradually ascend until you reach the highest point in Spain – the Cruz de Ferro. As mentioned above, the Cowboy Bar is one of the oddities of the Camino. I stopped by in May 2015 and again in 2017 for a second breakfast and was treated very well by the owner. There is an albergue here and I know of people who have stayed here (gronze.com). It is advisable to pit-stop either here or at the town previous (Santa Catalina) as you have a nice climb ahead of you.

Gonzar (map)

Gonzar is one of many small hamlets in Galicia. It is 8 kms from Portmarin and you have approximately 90km to walk before reaching Santiago. I have little memory of this town since walking through Galicia in 2011. Some pilgrims choose to stay here instead of the usually busy Portomarin (gronze.com).

My next post in this series will move on up the alphabet and focus on Honto, Hornillos del Camino, Hontanas, Hospital de Órbigo, Hospital da Condesa, Hospital da Cruz and Las Herrerías. See you then!

Towns Along The Way – “F”

Welcome back! I hope you are enjoying this series and your memory is being refreshed! It certainly is helpful for me and interesting to see the many different types of accommodation being provided since I started walking way back in 2011. Hopefully, this won’t be the last “TATW” post of 2019 as I am on a bit of a roll.

Today, I will talk about F. Again, let me know if you have stayed in any of these towns.

La Faba (map)

Yet another village I haven’t stayed in but keep meaning to, La Faba means The Beans in Spanish. It is a small mountain town between Villafranca del Bierzo and El Cebreiro. It has a population of just over 30 people. While the name of the village doesn’t stand out, there is quite a lot of love for it from the pilgrim community and it has one of the best albergues on the Camino Frances; Albergue de la Faba. I have not stayed here myself, preferring to walk on to O Cebreiro, another 5km on. Once you reach La Faba, and it’s a long climb, you won’t have far before arriving at the Galician border.

Ferrerios (map)

One of many many small Galician hamlets that you will pass through while on the Camino. This particular town has 50 or so inhabitants and is approximately 14 km from Sarria. There is nothing very eye-catching in this town, however, keep an eye out for the Iglesia de Santa María de Ferreiros which has an unusual cemetery. The scenery is very shire-esque and when passing through, make sure you stop at Casa Cruceiro for a cafe con leche and sello. There are a number of places to stay there also (gronze.com). Just another 104km to go to Santiago.

Fillobal (map)

Another Galician town and one so small I almost considered leaving it out from the list. Fillobal is situated some 4 km before Triacastela and has a population of just 9. The town does hold a cafe and an albergue for pilgrims however at Albergue Fillobal. On walking through here in 2012, I was so focused on arriving at Triacastela and the albergue. I passed Fillobal in the blink of an eye.

Foncebadón (map)

From Galicia, we move to Castilla and the Leon hills. Like Fillobal, it has a small population. It is situated between Rabanal del Camino and Molinaseca. More and more people are choosing Foncebadon to finish walking for the day. It is very close to the Cruz de Ferro and watching the sunrise from there is pretty special. The climb up to Foncebadón can be challenging but the views are worth it. When you walk in to Foncebadon, it looks like a town in ruins, but the Camino is bringing growth to the area. During the summer months, it can be busy and there are accommodation, albergues, and bars (gronze.com). I haven’t stayed there myself, choosing to stay in the town beforehand, Rabanal del Camino. Maybe next time.

Fonfría (map)

From Leon, we return swiftly to Galicia and not too far from Fillobal. Fonfria is some 9 km from Triacastela. Again, it is a typical Galician town with green the predominant colour and many of the buildings are made of stone slabs. This is rural Spain at it’s finest. The town does have a selection of albergues and pensions also (gronze.com). On leaving Fonfria, you have a steep climb to Alto do Poio and then a further 150 km to Santiago! Enjoy your final few weeks!

Frómista (map)

Iglesia de San Martin in Fromista

The final town beginning with F and close to 450 km to Santiago is Frómista. It is situated in the province of Palencia and has a population of just under 1000 people. It has everything that a large town would have so many people choose here to lay their heads for the night (gronze.com). One of the main attractions of the town is the Iglesia de San Martin (pictured). I prefer to stay in Boadilla del Camino. You will be close to the halfway point at this stage on reaching Fromista, although the official halfway point is just before Sahagun.

The next instalment will feature towns beginning with H including favourites of mine Hospital de Orbigo and Hontanas. If you have stayed in or have any comments about the above towns, please comment below.

Towns Along The Way – “E”

The next letter on the “Towns Along the Way” series is “E”, as there are no towns starting with “D” (I dare you to look!). There aren’t too many so here goes…working towards Santiago.

Espinal (map)

Espinal is a typical Basque village and one of the first you will encounter after leaving Roncesvalles. At this point, you have 871km left before Santiago. Its name in Basque is Aurizberri and on leaving the town you are faced with a climb to Alto Mezkiritz. While not many stop here, there are many accommodation options (www.gronze.com). I don’t remember much of this town as I had stopped in Burguette (the town previous), and was deep in conversation with newfound Camino friends!.

Estella (map)

We meet Estella (or to give it it’s full name Estella-Lizarra) 115km from St  Jean Pied de Port. Estella is also part of Navarra and has a population of over 13,000 people. On entering the town, you cross the Picudo Bridge and are greeted with the Church of San Pedro de la Rúa, a large Romanesque church. There are plenty of places to stay (www.gronze.com).  I have good memories of my time here and of the Agora Hostel, a great place to stay.

Espinosa del Camino (map)

And finally, Espinosa del Camino is located about 40km (or 2 days walk) from Burgos. It is in Castille y Leon and has a population of just over 30 people. It makes a living from the Camino with a number of cafes and albergues (www.gronze.com). It was in this town that I met a good Camino friend and had a cafe con leche, only to be told I walk too fast. And that was my first day!! Above we have Albergue La Campana, a great place to stop for a rest!

The right shoes for your Camino.

I need to buy a new pair of shoes soon as my current pair are a little run down. I embark on the Kerry Camino in May. And there is no better place for hiking shoes/boots than the Great Outdoors on Dublin’s George’s Street. I usually buy shoes at the start of the year and they last me 12-18 months.

My preferred brand is Salomon. I have worn shoes from North Face, Colombia, Meindl, and Merrell, but Salomon X Ultra GTX is the most comfortable for me so far. There are people that can walk a full Camino with a pair of €20 tennis shoes or even sandals(!) however I would prefer not to take my chances having experienced blisters and sore muscles on previous Caminos.

Salomon X Ultra GTX

Here are just a few tips before you consider buying a pair of new shoes/boots:

  1. Be sure what you need. What is the type of terrain of the route you are taking? Is it flat or rocky with ascents and descents or a mixture? Are boots really needed?
  2. What season will you be walking in? If you are walking in March or April, you may need to choose boots instead of shoes. If you are walking in Summer, boots might be too heavy.
  3. Practice, practice, practice. When you buy your shoes/boots, wear them as much as possible, break them in, get used to them. They will be your best friends on the Camino.
  4. Buy a 1/2 a size extra. On the Camino when you walk, your feet will expand due to heat so the extra space is helpful.
  5. Talk to an assistant in the store and have your feet fitted. Listen to the advice. Try on as many shoes/boots as you can. It’s probably a good idea to buy insoles with them too. Superfeet is a good brand.
rei.com

So have you any stories or advice you want to share about buying footwear? Let me know in the comments!

Towns Along The Way – “C”

And with B over, we are on to the 3rd chapter…. There are loads of towns beginning with C, it must be a Spanish thing! I have only stayed in two of these towns myself, so this may be the perfect chance for me to learn something about them, as well as pass on some information to you! And as always, if you have any feedback about these places, please feel free to share it in the comments below.

Cizur Menor (map)

The first town you encounter on leaving Pamplona is Cizur Menor (or Zizur Menor locally). It is approximately 5km away from Pamplona and is also located beside its sister town, Cizur Mayor, which is just off the Camino Frances. It holds a population of roughly 2400 people. It has a number of albergues (www.gronze.com) and should you wish to avoid Pamplona altogether, staying there would be wise. I haven’t stayed here myself but passed through early one morning on the way to Puente la Reina. While on my way through, there was a fiesta ongoing however, it is a quiet town with all the amenities you will need.

Cirueña (map)

The town of Ciruena is unique. Not only does it lie slightly off the Camino but before reaching the town itself, you are greeted by hundreds of empty houses, so it is eerie to say the least. These houses were built to accommodate members of the local golf club. Ciruena itself has a population of 131 people and strangely enough has two albergues (www.gronze.com), both of which have received positive reviews. I have previously chosen not to stay here, opting to stay in the town previous to it (Azofra in 2015) and the town following it (Santo Domingo de la Calzada in 2013 and 2018). I have met some people who have enjoyed their time here, however.

Castildelgado (map)

Another blink and you’ll miss it town on the Camino. It is located 20 km from Ciruena and in the province of Burgos. At this point, you are 560 km from Santiago and just becoming used to being a pilgrim. Castildelgado offers little to the pilgrim but should you wish to call it a day, there is a pension (www.gronze.com). I must say that Albergue Bideluze is very active on social media during the high season!

Castildelgado is located between Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Belorado and lies beside the busy N-120 motorway.

Cardeñuela-Ríopico (map)

Cardeñuela Riopico is a town located in the province of Burgos. It is actually 13km from the city itself and has a population of just over 100 people. You will encounter this little town as you leave either San Juan de Ortega, Ages or Atapuerca making your way to Burgos. I have previously chosen to stay in Atapuera and had breakfast in the either of the albergues here, whichever was open! There are three albergues here  (www.gronze.com). A further 2km on down the road from Cardenuela is it’s sister town Orbaneja Riopico.

Convento de San Anton (map)

The ruins of San Anton is not so much a town but rather a place. They are located on the outskirts of Castrojeriz. The Convento de San Anton was built in in the 14th Century, and was originally the King’s Palace. It was later turned into a hospital for passing pilgrims on their way to Santiago. Since 2002, the tradition of offering shelter to pilgrims holds as volunteers maintain a donotivo / refugio in the ruins (www.gronze.com).

I haven’t stopped by during my previous Caminos as it has not been open, unfortunately, but one day I would like to stay here.

Castrojeriz (map)

Castrojeriz is a town located in the province of Burgos and is a popular stop along the Camino. The town is based at the foot of a hill and your first view will be the ruins of a castle, which was a lookout in times of battle. The town was built along one main road which circles the hill. There are more than 1,000 people there. As it is a popular stop along the Way, there is plenty of accommodation (www.gronze.com). I haven’t stayed here myself, choosing to stay in Hontanas. I have however stopped here for breakfast. I would recommend Hostel El Manzano. You should stock up with refreshments before leaving this town as you have the difficult Alto de Mostalares to climb. Enjoy it – you have arrived at the meseta!

Cacabelos (map)

Cacabelos is a village in the El Bierzo region of Leon. You will pass it as you walk to Villafranca del Bierzo, usually within your last 10 days. It is a moderate size town with good facilities and a good selection of accommodation (www.gronze.com). There are over 5000 people living in Cacabelos. Many choose to by-pass here and stay in Villafranca, including me, this is one for the future. The refugio (pictured) has been renovated from an old church and is a bit special, I hear.

Calzadilla de la Cueza (map)

Quite a few people may not know the name of this town. Rather than placing a name on it, they will be able to describe how they feel about arriving there!! I say this as Calzadilla de la Cueza is the first stop after a grueling 17 km walk from Carrion de los Condes. It may well be the best thing you will see all day, depending on the weather.

This little town may not be much but after walking 17km, it has everything you need. I have walked road three times and have always stopped here for refreshments. There is also accommodation also should you choose to stay (www.gronze.com) .

Calzadilla de los Hermanillos (map)

On leaving Sahagun, there are 2 options to take; the tradational French route or the old Roman way. The French route leads you to El Burgo Ranero and to Mansilla de las Mulas, while on the Roman road you may be alone. The only town on this route is Calzadilla de los Hermanillos before you reach Mansilla de las Mulas. Quite a lot of people choose the first option. Calzadilla is a small town, and it has a population of just over 80. Being a town on the Camino, there are albergues (www.gronze.com). The advantage of walking this route is you can divert back to the other if you find it too solitary.

Carrión de los Condes (map)

Carrion de los Condes (or Carrion as many peregrinos prefer to call it) is a large town prior to Calzadilla, mentioned above. It is a little over halfway to Santiago (410km) and by all means, is one of the major Camino towns. It has a population of over 2,000 people and has a wealth of accommodation (www.gronze.com). I have stayed in Carrion a number of times including during the feast of Corpus Christi (start of June). It is a tradition on this day throughout Spain to layer their roads with flower petals of all different colours and make a great design. All the albergues are run by religious orders, so there can be a tendency to get swept away by their routine which is not a bad thing. I chose to stay in Villalcazar de Sirga, the town preceeding Carrion, in May 2015, but there is no doubt I will return to Carrion in the future.

O Cebreiro (map)

Not quite the highest point on the Camino, but it is not far off. O Cebreiro is the first village in Galicia and a welcome relief after a 1300m high climb from Villafranca. I just about made it in 2012. Seeing it for the first time reminded me of home…the music, the food, the buildings, it had a real Celtic feel to it and it just didn’t look like anything else on the Camino. The views are amazing. There is plenty of accommodation (www.gronze.com) with the main albergue holding up over 100 beds. I stayed in the fabulous Hotel Celta Venta back in 2012. On leaving this village you have 165 km left and are on the homeward stretch. Enjoy the descent!

Our next post will be on Towns beginning with D, can you think of any?

Towns Along The Way – “B”

This second installment of the “Towns Along the Way” series brings us to “B”. There are a wealth of towns starting with “B” so I might as well start by talking about them. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has stayed in any of the below towns. What have your experiences been? Good, bad, indifferent?

Barbadelo (map)

One of the first villages you will arrive at on leaving Sarria. In fact, it is 3 km from Sarria. It is situated in the province of Lugo and with a population of less than 50, you know you are in Galicia as most of the surrounding area is green. I last passed through here in 2011 and can vividly remember the large oak tree. The village has a number of albergues (www.gronze.com) which you may choose instead of the “mayhem” of Sarria. I hope to visit these parts again in the near future so my memory is refreshed.

Belorado (map)

Aha..now I could go on for quite a while about this particular town. It is in one of my favourite parts of the Spain, La Rioja. Why you may ask? Well, each time I have stayed here or passed through I have been treated exceptionally well. The town itself is located 50km to the west of Burgos and has a population of over 2,000 people. It is also situated close to the Oca Mountains and if the weather is poor, it is not uncommon to see some people take the bus direct to Burgos. Belorado is a well kept town known for its murals. There is a large town plaza, a market and plenty of places to eat. If you look at the ground you will see a hand print and autograph of a number of celebrities, including Martin Sheen. There are plenty of accommodation here also (www.gronze.com). Cuatro Cantones stands out, having stayed there in 2013, 2014 and 2018. Jana and her family will take good care of you. I have also stayed in Casa Waslala in 2015 and would recommend it here if you are starting your Camino from Belorado.

Bercianos del Real Camino (map)

Another example of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town along the Camino. Bercianos is a small town about 10km west of Sahagun and it has a population of roughly 200 people. While it is small, it has great character and I have enjoyed my time here. The terrain in this part of Spain is pretty basic, it has to be said, but my time here, I will always remember. If you do opt to stay here, ensure you stay in the Parochial albergue run by a voluntary order (www.gronze.com). It is large, you will be fed well and all you need to do is sing a song from your own country. Rest assured that Bono will never feel threatened after my singing of “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking for”!!.

Biduedo (map)

Biduedo, or O Viduedo as Galicians call it, is a tiny village about 7kms from Triacastela. It is a typical rural community with close to 30 people living there. It does it’s best to serve the peregrinos passing through by having a number of private albergues (www.gronze.com) and there are a number of bars to stop at for a few minutes to rest the weary legs. One might find this town the perfect place to stay during the busy times of the Summer months.

Boadilla del Camino (map)

Another pilgrim’s favourite and an end stage in Brierley’s guide book. Some pilgrims choose Fromista however I have always ended my day in Boadilla del Camino. And this is down to the albergue – En el Camino! It’s a favourite of mine and I have stayed here the three times I walked the meseta. Boadilla is situated about 60 km to the west of Burgos and is in the meseta plain, Spain’s high central plateau. The town has a population of about 175 people and lives mainly on agriculture. However in recent years, it depends more on the Camino with more albergues and bars opening to support the increasing numbers. There are quite a few albergues and hostals here (www.gronze.com). “En El Camino” is owned by Eduardo and his family. The garden alone was enough to tempt me to stay first of all, back in 2013. Here, you are provided with dinner and snacks and breakfast the following morning. On leaving the next morning, you may even spot some fishermen look for the first catch of the day along the Canal de Castilla.

Boente (map)

You will encounter Boente as you walk from Palas de Rei to Arzua in Galicia. It is another small town with a population of less than 50 people and is fairly close to Arzua. It is highly likely that you will not remember much about Boente by the time you reach Santiago. This is perfectly natural however, as at this stage you will have 50 km left to walk and you will be trying to think of ways of how to slow time down! Should you wish to stay here and not in Arzua, there are a number of albergues (www.gronze.com).

Burgos (map)

Quite possibly my favourite city on the Camino Frances. Burgos is one of the largest cities that you will encounter before reaching Santiago. It has a population of over 200,000 people and is in the autonomous community of Castille y Leon. It is a fairly large city and there is a good distance to walk before you at it’s heart – the Cathedral. The Cathedral was declared a world heritage site in 1984 by UNESCO and I strongly encourage you to visit it no matter how weary the feet are! Many people choose to take a rest day on reaching Burgos to visit the sites and recover and that is what I did in 2018. There is a wealth of accommodation as you would expect in a major city (www.gronze.com) however I have stayed in the cheap-as-pie municipal albergue beside the Cathedral. For €5 you can’t go wrong. Leaving Burgos brings you to the meseta, which kind of puts people off walking the next 100 km. I am baffled by this myself. The meseta has always been my favourite slice.

El Burgo Ranero (map)

Situated some 8 km from Bercianos de Real Camino and 18 km from Sahagun, El Burgo Ranero is a small town located in the province of Leon. It holds a population of over 850 people and the Camino goes straight down it’s main road. I have stopped here on two occasions for a quick cafe con leche, preferring to stay in Bercianos and Sahagun however I did stop here in 2017 and stay in in the municipal albergue. There are a number of albergues here should you wish to stay (www.gronze.com). On leaving El Burgo Ranero, the path is on the whole uninspiring until you reach the large city of Leon, some 35 km away. In May of 2015, I met two Irish ladies here who spoke in Irish. It was a shame I couldn’t join them in their conversation however!

Burguete (map)

From the end of the meseta, we travel back 400km eastward to the town of Burguete. It is located in Navarre and is the first town you will encounter on leaving Roncesvalles. Many people call it by it’s proper Basque name “Auritz”. Ernest Hemingway lodged in Burguete in 1924 and 1925 for a fishing trip to the Irati River, and describes it in his novel The Sun Also Rises

The town has a number of albergues (www.gronze.com) but many people choose to stop here for breakfast before moving on to Zubiri or Larrasoana. It is one of the more picturesque towns along the Way, with white facades and red window shutters a feature for many Basque houses.

Join me soon for the next installment featuring towns beginning with the letter “C”.

Some more walking while the evenings get darker..

It’s that time of year… I’ve seen the first Christmas trees. The advertisements have been playing on radio and TV for the last few months and people have started to get in to that frame of mind.

Christmas!

Of course, my mind is a million miles away and I’d rather be following arrows than making shops that little bit richer. Careful now, someone might accuse me of not being in the Christmas spirit. Au contraire! Give me a few weeks until we are in December and I should have sufficient time to prepare.

So what have I have been doing since I last posted nearly one month ago?

Well, the Camino spirit has not left me entirely since I returned from Portugal. Since I last wrote, plans are ongoing to walk from Porto to Santiago in September. The one unanswered question is whether I walk the coastal route or the classic internal route. By walking along the coast, I am adding 2 days to my trip however the coast gives you the added bonus of the breeze until you move inland. This question will remain unanswered until I arrive in Porto, I guess, and I will let my feet do the talking.

I have been on two walks – one long, and one short. The first was on the Boyne Valley Camino which starts at St. Peters Church in Drogheda. I was actually meant to write a bit about this walk but time got in the way however below are some of my favourite photos from the day. My friend Oihana and I took the commuter train to Drogheda from Dublin and walked the 25 km looped walk. It is a good mixture of forest, road walking, walking along the River Boyne, with the added historical element too. This walk is part of the Celtic Camino series and you can pick up a nice certificate from Camino Society Ireland if you collect stamps during your walk. More information here: Boyne Valley Camino.

Thanks to Oihana (Facebook page) for providing some of her photos. We had a fun day. It’s always great to try out newer walks, especially ones that are closer to home. I would definitely recommend the walk and if you get the chance, do walk the full loop. It can be a bit challenging during the winter months but during the Summer it would be perfect, I would imagine. The Batttle of the Boyne site, Mellifont Abbey and Oldbridge house are interesting. We did manage to get lost however, due to some signage going missing. We were back on track before long.

The following week (the 16th November), I walked a short walk with Camino Society Ireland. Out to Howth Head we would go. It would be a morning of firsts. I am so used to the purple loop or bog of frogs but due to ongoing works, this path was closed so we opted for the Black Linn Loop, following the red arrows. I brought along my DSLR, Canon 750d and took a few photos. You can check them out on the Camino Society Ireland Facebook page. I am very much a beginner at photography so any tips are useful. I guess the number one tip is practice, practice, practice.

Well that’s all the news here. I hope you are all well. 310 days before I touch down in Portugal..ha! I will post soon!

A little closer to home…

With two weeks planned for a Camino in September / October 2020, the question remains what I will do for the rest of the year. I certainly won’t stay at home and I can’t see myself jetting off on another Camino (unfortunately). With many waymarked trails and pilgrim paths on my doorstep, I have a great opportunity now to walk some of these trails.

Many of these trails are a few days long and can be reached by bus or train. Accommodation is a little different here than in Spain. There are no “albergues” and it is advisable to pre-book in a bed & breakfast or a hostel. As a result, costs can be a little more expensive. This is if you want to walk by yourself. Another option is walking as part of an organised group.

The Kerry Camino (or the Dingle Way) is a 3 day walk (57km) from Tralee to Dingle in the South of Ireland. Each year, over the May bank holiday weekend, large crowds descend on Tralee to walk this pilgrimage to Dingle. I want to walk this trail but while the organised group option is great, it is not for me.

I have already looked into the Kerry Camino for the middle of May and will cost me about the same as the price of a flight! You can watch a good video on this way below.

St Kevin’s Way (30km) follows in the footsteps of St Kevin through the hills of Wicklow to the monastic ruins in Glendalough. The main start for the route is Hollywood. The route is well marked and takes you through a wide variety of landscapes as it climbs towards the Wicklow Gap. From here the descent brings you to Glendalough and monastic ruins. I have walked half of this walk on two occasions and I love it. It can be a bit tricky when it is raining but when the sun is out, there is nothing better.

St. Kevin’s Way – VisitWicklow.ie

St. Declan’s Way is a modern walking route linking the ancient centres of Ardmore in County Waterford and Cashel in County Tipperary.  The route most commonly associated with St. Declan’s Way is 56 miles (96 kilometres) long and crosses the Knockmealdown Mountains at Bearna Cloch an Buideal (Bottleneck Pass), an elevation of 537m.  St Declan’s Way Walk utilises the route of a number of ancient and medieval pilgrimage and trading routes such as the Rian Bo Phadraig (Track of St. Patrick’s Cow), Bothar na Naomh (Road of the Saints), Casan na Naomh (Path of the Saints) and St. Declan’s Road

St Declan’s Way

There are others but I’ll be realistic as I don’t have too many holidays 🙂 I can decide on others later on.

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