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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My YouTube debut..

So I’ve held back making YouTube videos for a number of reasons, but this evening, I picked up whatever courage there was going in North Dublin and made a short video on my pack. I feel I am a little more comfortable speaking to the eternal masses on YouTube than to a crowded room.

It actually took me longer to edit the video for YouTube than it took me to make it. Most of you know the kit I am bringing, but the video is aimed at those who are not familiar with this blog.

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Weekend Watch #54 – Camino de Santiago – The Journey

It’s the weekend again and boy! did that week go quick!

But not to worry, we have a great Weekend Watch for you. It comes from Efren, who has been creating Camino videos over on YouTube for months following a Camino Frances. He has now started a Camino Norte followed by a stint on the Primitivo to Santiago.

This video just sums up the Camino. It is pure joy. Plus it has one of my favourite artists “Woodkid” as music. The drone footage is fantastic! Enjoy!

For more great videos, check out the Archives.

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Just a few last things to do..

The bag is packed, I’m ready to go………ok! enough of the singing! The neighbours will start to complain.

But I am pretty much ready. I bought a new Samsung phone charger cable, walking trousers and a few items to restock my first aid kit during the week. So I am set. And forgive me if Europe is down with Brexit-flu, I’m a little bit high at the moment. I guess that’s what a Camino does to you. Even if it’s a short Camino. I have even bought a EU patch from Amazon to attach to my backpack.

Breoghan & the Tower of Hercules in A Coruna

I will be walking from Maynooth College on April 13th to Dublin along the Royal Canal Greenway. If you have an instagram account, why don’t you check out my photographs on that day and follow me. This should serve as good practice before I head back out to Spain. And if you live in the Dublin region, you are more than welcome to join me.

There are so many people I want to meet / see again in Spain when I return. Santiago is a vibrant city full of pilgrims and people that help pilgrims and even though I won’t be there for a full day, I plan to make the most of it before I walk to Finisterre.

2020

I have also been thinking ahead to 2020 and potential Camino plans. St. Jean popped into my mind for some reason last week and I began watching many various videos on YouTube of the town. I was there last in 2014 and loved my stay there. I want to go back, so maybe next year,

Clearskies Camino

This website will be going through some changes shortly, but I promise to make things as unnoticeable as possible. Please stay in your seats. 😉

I’ll be back before I go. Keep the kettle on!

Weekend Watch #53 – Camino Frances Day One

September 2014, I remember walking the first day out from St. Jean Pied de Port to Roncesvalles. It was a fine day and despite fears of rain, the clouds held back and the sun was out for the day. I had a distinctive shade of red by the time I reached the albergue in the abbey in the woods.

However, the weather will not be pleasant for all pilgrims making their first steps. There will be rain, fog, wind and being at a height amplifies the difficulties, if any. The following video illustrates my point. I can’t believe how quick the fog comes down while these two pilgrims cross from France to Spain. The wind and rain makes a difficult walk even more so, especially while walking through the forest into Roncesvalles.

It is always helpful to a) speak to the locals before you set out and b) take any alternative routes if there any hazardous sections.

However, the threat of bad weather doesn’t put me off wanting to return to this part of the world again soon. It’s magical.

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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