To start, I would like to thank everyone who has been keeping half an eye on this blog for their patience and support in my endeavour to complete the Irish E8. Your support was and continues to be the driving force for what I achieve. Even if you are just a number in the 'views' part of the management of this blog, or someone who comments, or indeed someone in my personal life who has given advice and encouragement, thank you!
Now to business.
I am back in Prague. Early. I did not complete the hike, in fact I did about 1/3 of it. There are a bunch of reasons why I stopped, but the main problem came down to the loneliness of the hike. This is something that I will explore in more detail in future blog posts.
From Dursey Head at the start, I got as far as Mallow, Something like 150-200 km of the most strikingly beautiful, desolate, wet, boggy, magical, peaceful, wet, muddy, hilly, constantly engaging and wet countryside I have ever walked. I feel proud of myself for going, and very happy to be back to the real world.
That means I completed the planned sections of the Beara Way (North coast)...
...Kerry Way (Kenmare - Killarney)...
...(Blackwater) Dunhallow Way in full...
And part of the (Blackwater) Avondu Way (as far as Mallow).
At Mallow the B&B was opposite a main line train station that went directly to Dublin. This proved too much of a temptation (salvation?) at the time. I ended up the next morning on a train to the capital and then doing the double-bus shuffle back to Prague.
Over the next month I will be blogging my experiences of the walk. I kept a diary each day, and there was something about walking solo across essentially empty country (I met 2, yes, 2(!) walkers the whole 8 days) that brings forth coherent thought. I hope you will stick with me as I recount this tale of unending bogs and the kindness of B&B owners. Also there are some pretty good pics!