Ireland

The Old Anchor Inn B&B – Annascaul, Ireland

Our third night was spent at The Old Anchor Inn B&B in Annascaul. It was a very lovely little place, as it turns out all of our locations were quite nice. Once again when we showed up our bags were waiting for us and the owner was ready to hand off our keys and let us settle in.

I was so tired I forgot to take pictures, but I did manage to snap this shot while I was laying on my bed contemplating if my blistered feet could handle another day. None the less I promise that the place was lovely, very clean and simple. Offering up Wi-Fi service once again, tv’s, very cozy bedding and the typical tea and coffee service in each room.
The main floor of the b&b was a dining room which looked to serve up food to the public for lunch and a lounge. All the rooms were up a flight of stairs. Ours faced out onto the street we had just walked down and a house with a sweet little yard. Which turned out at 5am to be not a yard but a cow field as evidence by the very hungry and very noisy cows that woke me up trying to eat the leaves off the apple trees that were growing next to said house.
The evening we checked in we made our breakfast order, which had been fairly typical practice thus far. We hit the pub next door for a bit, then came back and cleaned up for dinner. I had to make the hard choice to not hike the next day and called our tour company to arrange a ride for me the next day. Then after dinner, which went rather late since we were having so much fun at the South Pole Inn, we all went to sleep.
The next moring after my cow alarm I got dressed, met everyone for breakfast, packed up and then hit the streets of Annascaul to explore. As cute and charming a town as it was and as much nightlife as it seemed to have it wasn’t large enough to keep me occupied for the few hours I had so I returned to the b&b where the owner let me sit in the lounge and wait for my ride.

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Wonderful Ireland Walking Tours – Tralee to Camp Ireland

The moment we had been waiting for, for a year and a half, the first day of the hike! We started out in Tralee, which meant walking along the harbor toward the hills (which you can see in the distance in the picture below). It wound up being a lot of road walking for the first section which can be pretty hard on your feet. It was also extremely humid and warm. Don’t let those clouds fool you by the time we got to the trail head we were sweating and tired. And we still had a good 10+ miles left in the day.

Once we got on the trail our feet started feeling quite a bit better, but it was a lot of up and down and I at least wore out fairly quickly. It could not have been more gorgeous however. We could see all the way back to where we had started pretty much the entire day and walked toward what seemed like an endless stretch of fields. We went over a few rivers which were lush and beautiful. Though I expected nothing less. We took a few breaks along the way, just enjoying the view and the break from reality. We all work really hard long hours in our real lives so I think we were all very happy to just sit in the sun, disconnected from the world, looking at nothing but grass and ocean and the occasional wayward sheep.

Once we got toward the end of the day we got back down closer to the road and got into some more actively used fields. Enter the cows. No bulls, they are kept behind locked gates with lots of signs. But given the trail is made possible by the cooperation of local farmers, it wasn’t very much of a surprise to cross paths with our bovine friends. There was after all an awful lot of signs pointing to their existence, and by signs I mean poop on the trail. This larger group proved the most difficult, they were full on blocking the trail which was flanked by stinging nettles and blackberries so we weren’t terribly interested in going around them. Some of us, braver then others (not myself), tapped them on the bum so they scurried on, albeit very slowly.

Once free of the cows and over all the stiles we found ourselves back on the roads trudging toward our inn for the night. The end of the days walk passed us by a series of very lovely homes, my favorite of which was of course abandoned. I loved the peeling layers of paint and overgrown roses.

All in all it was a moderate level of difficulty in walking. Made mostly hard by the condition of the trail (very rocky) which thankfully were mostly dry. Most of the year it is more bog like, which would have created different difficulties with the added benefit of swarms of mosquitoes. All in all it was a terrific day and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

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Wonderful Ireland Walking Holiday

Traveling is a very unique thing, you have to balance how far out of your comfort zone you are willing to go, with the kind of creature comforts that will ultimately keep you sane while your whole world is turned upside down. Traveling is wonderful and adventurous and important to  knowing ourselves and enjoying life, but it is also hard and scary. So knowing what you want out of the experience and what you can handle are very important when booking travel.

If you do not want to spend 8 hours a day walking through the middle of nowhere or if you do but you want to rough sleep in the wilderness then Wonderful Ireland Walking Holidays is not for you, and that is absolutely okay. But if you want to see things off the beaten path, get a lot of fresh air and exercise but you also want the safety net of an emergency out in case anything happens then read on my friends.

Wonderful Ireland Walking Holidays offers several self guided walking tour vacations throughout Ireland. We chose the Dingle Peninsula tour which is 112 miles split up between 10 days of walking. Some of my group did the whole loop, I however opted for the shorter trip. I started with my group and then left after 5 days of walking. The company offers a variety of options for the peninsula from 3-10 days.

Included in the cost of the tour is airport/train station pickup and drop off. Booked rooms which include breakfast and sack lunches. Luggage transfer from inn to inn so you don’t have to carry your bag with you. Maps, guide-book, emergency cell phone, and hiking poles if you want them.

I wound up hurting myself on day two, so I can attest to how helpful and kind the individuals at the company are. I called on what we took to calling the “bat phone” the morning of a day of hiking, they organized a private ride for me from one town to the next. They showed up on time and I didn’t have to pay for the ride as it was included in the tour price.

The accommodations that were booked for us were above and beyond our expectations. Every single inn was clean, comfortable and the owners incredibly kind.  The food was exceptional every night and the sack lunches exactly what one would need for a 14 mile hike. As an added bonus every place we stayed had wifi so we could connect with our people back home and let them know we had made it to each town safe and sound.

Our bags were always waiting for us when we got to the next inn, clean, undamaged and undisturbed. Not that we were expecting anything less, but I do know people worry about others handling their personal property and there was never an issue with this group.

We were given a packet of very detailed instructions to go along with our maps. Not only is the trail marked to help guide you but the instructions provided down to the turn precise directions to keep you on track and keep you from wondering if you were headed the right way. They were detailed enough that never once did you have to worry that you might have taken a wrong turn. We spent the entire trek feeling confident we wouldn’t be lost or trespassing and that we would be safe the entire trip.

I cannot recommend the tour group enough. The owner is incredibly kind and helpful. He will answer as many ridiculous questions as you can throw at him and do so with a smile. Never once did we feel confused, worried or unsure of ourselves from inquiring about booking the tour all the way to being dropped back off at the airport on the way home.

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