August Bank Holiday Weekend Report 4th – 7th August 2017 – Glenmalure, Co. Wicklow
The Glenmalure August Bank Holiday Weekend Break from Friday 4th to Monday 7th August can only be described as a huge success with 32 hardy hikers traveling to the ‘Garden of Ireland’. The military road from Laragh led us into the wilderness to a place called Glenmalure located in the longest U-shaped glacial valley in Ireland. Arriving in sunshine, the Wicklow Mountains were a sprawling landscape of rugged peaks, bogs, deserted villages, purple heather, waterfalls, sheep, goats, deer, peregrine falcon and glacial corrie lakes.
We stayed in ‘The Wilderness Lodge’ and ‘Coolalingo’ which are situated in the middle of the valley in a most tranquil and beautiful setting at the base of ‘Lugnaquilla’ (925m) Leinster’s highest peak.
Thomas Moore, the Irish poet, singer and songwriter said of it:
“There is not in the wide world a valley so sweet” (Moore, T. 1808).
On Saturday, all hikers successfully conquered the summit of ‘Lugnaquilla’ as part of this year’s ‘Four Peaks Challenge’. The moderate walk with twelve walkers was led by Greg O’Hare while the short walk with twenty members was led by Donal O’Leary. The weather was perfect: very warm and very sunny all day with views extending east across the Irish Sea. Congratulations to everybody and special thanks to our dedicated and knowledgeable walk leaders. Ger’s birthday celebrations were held at ‘The Glenmalure Lodge’ restaurant where a delicious four course meal was served. Afterwards, some members went to the bar, danced to the local band and sang the night away till the wee hours.
On Sunday, two groups formed. The weather was rainy and foggy. The first group drove to Bray. Led by Dan White, walkers completed the 6.3km Bray Head Cliff Walk. They got the DART for their return trip back to the cars followed by a meal in Bray. The second group drove to Glendalough. Led by Greg O’Hare, walkers explored beautiful Glendalough on the ‘Spink and Glenealo Valley’ 8km loop. The 600 stairs meandered through wood leading walkers up the side of a cliff on a boardwalk. In the early afternoon, the rain stopped and the fog lifted. Everyone was rewarded with beautiful views down to the lakes and valley. All walkers retired to the ‘watering hole’ for the final night of banter and craic where a lively band had everyone mingling, dancing and singing.
On Monday, a few dedicated brave walkers took out their bicycles and completed a 55km loop cycle before returning back to the rebel county. All backpackers reported positively on a thoroughly enjoyable trip to the ‘wilderness’’.
Special thanks to our leaders Donal O’Leary, Greg O’Hare and Dan White and organiser Donal O’Leary for a truly memorable weekend.