The Easter Break..a chance to renew..

It’s a little over two weeks before I return to Spain, on what will be my first Camino this year. As you know I start my walking from Ferrol but truth be told I started this Camino back in 2017, when I walked to St James Church in Dublin and gained a celtic compostela. Everyone should try their hand at the Celtic Camino.

So now I take this compostela with me to Spain, walk a few days from Ferrol, zip back to A Coruna and walk down to Santiago. And for good measure, I will enjoy the coastal scenes of the Camino Finisterre, all 90km of it. So that is 10 days of walking on this stretch. 10 days of Galicia with my brother and a high chance of meeting a few good people when I arrive in Santiago. What more could I want. It will tide me over until September when I arrive in Lisbon to do it all over again. I’m starting to like Galicia again!

Easter pilgrims to Santiago

I’m writing this on Holy Thursday and the numbers of pilgrims in Santiago have been increasing over the Easter period. To get an idea of the numbers, all you need to do is look at the Pilgrim Office website to see how many pilgrims received compostelas on any given day.

And if you want to peek at the stream of pilgrims on their way to Santiago, why not check out the webcam at San Marcos? I was looking at it on and off today. It can be addictive, however 🙂

Brand new Clearskies Camino patches

You may have noticed a new logo, I hope you like it. I have made an order for some patches. Hopefully, I will receive them before I leave for Spain. When I receive them, I will post a photo of them. Ideally, I’d like to sell them at a small price through Etsy. Let me know if you are interested.

Edit: I have received an image copy of the design of the patch, below. It will now be sent for production and I hope to receive them before I go to Spain.

Camino Society Ireland Information Event @ Cotswold Outdoor Dublin

For folks in Dublin, I want to let you know of an Information event given by Camino Society Ireland at Cotswold Outdoor, Trinity Street, Dublin. I will be there with other volunteers to provide information about the different ways, accommodation and gear. Any questions will be answered. This is on Wednesday, April 24th at 6pm and it is Free.

A few days off work

Now, I am off work until Tuesday. I haven’t had more than 5 hours sleep in 2 months so this is a perfect chance to catch some extra zzzz. Saturday, I may attempt a practice walk and following that, I will break into the left over chocolate. Happy Easter! Felices Pascuas!

Howth Cliff Walk – a perfect walk on the Northside of Dublin

One of the more popular walks in Ireland and a great practice for a Camino, a few kilometres from Dublin City Centre. Sure what more could you ask for? I happened to have some time to hand this morning and decided to go along and visit the area. I wanted to bring my new DSLR camera for some practice shots. And I had the village to myself too.

Howth is a perfect spot to go if you want some free space or if you have a few things on your mind, but be wary, it is a tourist area, so the earlier the better. I arrived just before 10am after 2 train trips and headed straight for the trail head. The start of the cliff walk is about ten minutes walk away from the village, which is full of cafes, bars and shops and enough to keep you occupied. The DART brings you right to its doorstep. And with every great day out you learn a few things:

  • The route includes the ruins of the 15th-century St Mary’s Abbey. Its bells were rung in foggy weather to guide Howth’s fishermen safely home.
  • During the 18th century there were many shipwrecks in Dublin Bay, resulting in the construction of Howth harbour in 1807.
  • Howths Martello Tower, one of many built around the coasts of Ireland and Britain during the Napoleonic Wars was to protect against invasion by the French.
  • Ireland’s Eye island to the north is a bird sanctuary and site of an early Christian monastery. (pictures below)
  • The Howth Cliff Path Walk passes Balscadden House, home of the young William Butler Yeats.
  • To the south you can see the coast of Wicklow and the scenic Bailey Lighthouse built in 1814.
  • There has been a lighthouse here since the mid 1600’s (source:
    Activeme.ie)

There are 4 routes you can take, varying in difficulty. I had hoped to take the purple route but due to blustery winds, I took the lower path. Afterward, I had a coffee and watched life go by. I’ll be back before I go to Spain.

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Baby steps…

So a few weeks ago you might remember that I told you that I am moving my blog to another host. I just need to find some time to do this but you will be glad to hear that I have chosen a site and it is all positive.

And with that piece of news, I set aside a few hours and created a new logo for the new site, below. Nothing too fancy or dramatic but I am happy with the result. I have also ordered a number of this design as a circular patch so one will go on my pack in May. If anyone is interested in availing of one for their own backpack, let me know.

Logo

I have much work to do but baby steps.

A few recent walks

I’ve had a few walks under my belt in the last few weeks so I may as well post a few photos from them. They have been great practice for my trip back to Spain but I’m one or two walks short of being ready for May 7th.

Aware Harbour 2 Harbour Walk – St. Patrick’s Day

The day of the walk marked 50 days before my return to Spain and it was a perfect day to get a long practice walk under my belt. This walk would be like no other however. The Aware Harbour 2 Harbour has been a staple of St Patrick’s Day for years. It is a festive day, everyone is decked out in their green and they celebrate the occasion. Generally. the walk starts in the port of Dun Laoghaire and ends in Howth, 24km later, and people from across the country turn up to walk. So basically, it is something different than standing in a parade or drinking. All monies raised go to support mental health in Ireland.
A good time was had by all and I got a few kms under my belt plus I had great company!

Slieve Gullion Forest Park with Camino Society Ireland

A short walk but a challenging one. Slieve Gullion Forest Park is one hour drive north of Dublin and across the border into Northern Ireland. It was a fantastic day and I looked forward to meeting new people and hearing new stories. Being a volunteer with Camino Society Ireland takes you far and wide but I am comfortable with Dublin and the eastern coast. How and ever, after a brief information talk about the Camino de Santiago to a local audience, we took on one of the forest trails, close to 10kms. And it was mostly uphill from the off. A really enjoyable day and I really did learn alot about area with regard to history and mythology. The park has many trails and caters for all ages.

Find out more at shamrocksandshells.wordpress.com/recent-events

Checking in & future walks

Hello there. Just dropping in to say hi. While I don’t blame you if you don’t recognise me, my posts may be a bit more frequent now.

I haven’t been writing as often as I would like. The week goes by and before you know it, it is the weekend and I usually have plans most weekends. I long for sleep in! I might have to wait until my Camino before that, however.

I have just finished working on my side project Shamrocks and Shells for Camino Society Ireland. Let’s just say that I’m glad that it’s a quarterly ezine and not a monthly one. It takes a lot of work, but it is worth it. You can view it here.

Now to concentrate on my new Canon EOS camera, taking a few walks and me!…yes, me! Everyone needs time for themselves, don’t they?

My next walk will be on the 23rd of March when I walk from the Pro Cathedral in Dublin to Maynooth. It has recently been recognised as one of the suggested walks on the Celtic Camino, provided you can locate sellos. The Pro Cathedral and Maynooth College give them. It’s a fab walk along the Royal Canal and while you can bike it, I like to walk it. I will let you know how I get on.

9 weeks left!

Weekend Watch #48 – Camino Portuguese with Drew Robinson

Drew Robinson is back on the Camino. Six years after he brought us the very popular “Camino de Santiago Documentary – A Journey of the Mind“, he returns to Spain via the Camino Portuguese.

This time around he would be joined by his wife and his two-year-old son. The first part of the journey takes us to Barcelos. Enjoy!

Another ramble planned for September…

And the Camino experience keeps rolling on..

I had toyed with walking the start of the Via de la Plata from Seville as a 2nd Camino this year. Maybe ten days or so. But I received a message out of the blue from a Camino buddy that I met last September. He is starting his own Camino from Lisbon in September and had his dates. So I decided to book my flights (Ryanair!) and walk the first week or so.

This is where it gets tricky. From Lisbon to Porto on the Camino Portuguese, the municipal albergues tend to be spread further apart due to the lower number of pilgrims but there are more hostels and hotels. However, I’m glad I am starting out in Lisbon as there is quite a bit to see but I won’t have the time to see it all. Brierley’s guide will come in handy too.

I’m hoping to reach Coimbra but if I don’t, there is a great bus service that will bring me to Porto. But first, I have a Camino Ingles / Celtic Camino to count down to starting in May!