Ok so I decided to share some of the walks I do during summer, sometimes during the year. The reason is because a lot of people I talk to never venture further than what they already know so it’s always good to discover there’s more out there.
The Hellfire Club is in the Dublin Mountains near viewpoint and Masseys Wood. It is a moderate climb if you follow the path. If you go through the Forest however it is a lot steeper. As you walk along the pathway you will see an amazing view of Dublin City. Though I do need to warn you that on warm days the insects and flies can also be found in their thousands along the walk.
Though there are signs saying otherwise I always feel it’s safe for Izzie to be off her lead. It can be tough on her paws with the gravel but worth it when she reaches the top and there’s grass to roll around in. Up here I take in the view and gather my thoughts. I never go in the crumbling building however!
On the way down I go through the forest as it’s downhill and quicker. The walk doesn’t take long and most people I know enjoy it.
My easiest way to get here is to take the m50 and turn off towards Firhouse. Take the left at the next junction near Woodstown and drive towards the mountain. When you get to the t-junction take the left then at the top of that road take the first right. A few minutes up the road you will see the car park on the right.
I don’t make New Years resolutions anymore, I never stick to them. However a long time ago, possibly even two years, I made the decision that I would try have as few regrets as possible and to travel more. I feel I am succeeding in keeping that promise to myself. It feels good to be honest.
I know it doesn’t sound too hard, god love me having to travel right?!, but solo travel never occurred to me as an option so pushing myself towards that was a huge step.
I have been lucky to travel to a few countries this year. First trip was a cruise from Abu Dhabi stopping in Oman and Dubai. There I got to ride a camel and visit a beautiful mosque.
My next trip was to Amsterdam for a weekend break where I experienced gay pride, saw Anne Frank’s home and got my first tattoo.
Peru was my big test. I planned this trip for ten months, took five of those months to get the courage to book it! I spent the summer hill walking to try and prepare for it but nothing could have. It pushed me to my limits with illness and altitude but I survived and managed to do everything I set out to.
Berlin was my final stop for a weekend trip. Decorated very prettily for Christmas it’s another place ticked off my list.
In the past I normally try to lose weight as my New Years resolution, however like everyone else it normally goes nowhere after a while! When I decided on Peru I also decided to try lose 14lbs so there would be less weight to carry on my trek. I didn’t diet I just made better decisions regarding takeaways (not having as many), staying away from bread as much as possible and eating speed foods when possible. I also hill walked throughout the summer which helped. The weight was extremely slow coming off but as I wasnt depriving myself it wasn’t too bad. I succeeded in having 9lbs off by the time I left and due to illness over there I had 14lbs gone by the time I came back. (However Christmas has messed that up!) Hopefully I will continue to make better decisions.
I have succeeded in not having regrets this year, well at least ones that I have control over. Obviously there are times other people’s choices affect you and make you sad but I’ve learned to only worry about the things I can control. My fear of solo travel for instance. Though I didn’t go solo in the end I had intended to go and when I booked the flights I was extremely nervous, excited and scared at the same time! I knew though if I didn’t go that I would always wonder what if? When I came back from Peru I was depressed for a few days. I don’t use the words depressed lightly. A lot of things affected me, especially being very sick and I cried for days. I didn’t think I would be able to solo travel as I was so dependent when I was sick, however I picked myself up and I now have Thailand booked for April. I can’t let my fears rule my life.
I have spent the year spending time with friends and family. I feel that the only thing you take with you when your time is up is your memories. These can be from nights out, weekends away, concerts, meals at home or walks in the fresh air.
This year has been sad for many people but for me it has been one of my happiest in a long time. That’s not to say everything has been wonderful but the good has definitely outweighed the bad. I have grown stronger, faced some fears, tried new things and lost some weight!
If you are looking to make a resolution make it one that you will live by in years to come. Something you can achieve without too much effort and that will make you happier.
It is September 4th and in my head I am marking this day as the last day of summer for me. It’s not a bad day either. I am after parking beside killiney beach and walking up the many steps to Killiney hill. I’ve earned a few moments to sit, take in the view and reflect on what has been one of my best summers.
From my resting spot I can see the Sugar loaf, which I climbed with my twelve year old nephew. No money needed, just us climbing and chatting, bonding I suppose you might say. I can also see Bray. I climbed Bray Head with my nephew, my sister and my dad. It took us many stops to get to the top as my dad isn’t the fittest person and to be honest we were worried about his heart. More fool us as when we reached the top he then decided to gloat about his achievement and gleefully jogged down the hill. I also ventured the cliff walk with my friend Kate which is a 6km walk from Bray to Greystones. This would have been more enjoyable if it hadn’t been for the numerous amount of people with the same idea, it felt like we were in a cattle market.
Killiney beach of course is below me and my first trip to this beach this summer was with Kate (as were many other trips), who brought a picnic for us to enjoy whilst people watching. Killiney hill itself I have visited many many times throughout the year, not just this summer. Sometimes I bring people with me and enjoy watching their faces as they take in the magnificent views from this hill.
I have not had one beach holiday this summer which is very unusual for me as I would normally have two. Yet I have had the best tan throughout the summer. Customers in work have asked if I was away, is it from a bottle or a sunbed. They are suprised when I tell them it’s from Dublin. Some feel this wasn’t a great summer weather wise yet I beg to differ. I have been able to get out hiking in the evenings and I have taken a few half days from work to enjoy the rare sun Ireland enjoys.
The hiking has also lead to a few lbs being lost. I had aimed for 14 which I knew was a stretch but I will settle for 6. I did not diet or restrict myself from brunches out, burgers or tapas in the evening. I just drank more water, cut out bread as much as I could and excercised. I am by no means near what I wish to be, but I never will be unless I go to the chicken and broccoli brigade and I’m not ready for that!
This summer had only one concert for me which was Bruce Springsteen. Whilst it was tainted by a family crisis I still got to enjoy a night out with my dad, who was in flying form. I can’t remember much of Bruce’s performance but I remember the numerous selfies of my dad and my sister in drunken madness.
I had an evening in Dun Laoghaire that was filled with contentment, so I drank it in as much as I could. I have had so many bad days over the past few years that when a good day comes along you grab it tightly with both hands. I spent that evening listening to a brass band playing, strolling up and down the pier with a playlist that soundtracked my evening perfectly. I spent another day in Dun Laoghaire learning how to paddle board and not fall in. The place used to cause me sadness now helped me find bits of happiness.
This summer I read a lot, overdosed on Netflix and spent a lot of time with people that matter most to me. I have had not one romance and it has not bothered me at all. Instead I enjoyed the company of friends and the solitude equally. Plus this whole time I have been accompanied by my trusty companion Izzie. She proves her loyalty constantly by traipsing behind me for hours up mountains, even with her little legs.
So that is how this summer is one of my best. I have many happy memories and spent very little as I save for Peru in October. I have learnt over time who I can trust and rely on, so I enjoy their company when I can. Of course it hasn’t all been plain sailing but the good has definitely outweighed the bad! Hopefully winter will treat me the same 😊
Ever since I can remember I have loved dogs. No matter what size or breed I felt the need to pet and cuddle any that I came across. For years I swore I would be a vet when I was older ( until I realised how tough it was to get into).
At ten I was surprised with a puppy and soon after we rescued another pup. These dogs were family to me. I looked after them as best I could as a child and was heartbroken when my dogs eventually passed. I didn’t think I could go through that heartbreak again. I’d been very lucky with not losing people close to me at that stage so it was my early experience with death.
Over the years I would help out with other people’s pets but never committed to one. Unless you are a dog lover yourself you may feel that I was foolish to feel this way, but I genuinely felt that to get another dog was being disloyal to the previous two. However following the DSPCA on Facebook my mind slowly started changing. They had a picture of a dog with text saying basically that it’s unfair not to pass on the love you showed your pet to another. It got me thinking about adopting a dog again, even an older type as they were unlikely to be rescued.
I live in an apartment so my husband didn’t think it fair for us to get one. Other people had dogs but he said it would be cruel to be working all day and leave them couped up. He promised me that when we got a house we could get two dogs so that they wouldn’t be lonely and they’d have a back garden.
A year later my dreams of a house crumbled down when I discovered the debt. It took a couple of weeks to sink in and when it did I made the most selfish decision I had made in years. “I’m getting a dog, I don’t care what you say!!” is what he got told.
I had made my mind up when my dogs were alive that I would never purchase one. Too many were abandoned in need of a good home so I would only adopt a rescue. Also after minding a puppy for two weeks I realised I wanted an older dog as pups are very hard work and they destroy your stuff!
I set about looking on DSPCA and Dogstrust websites. I was informed by a friend that to rescue I would need to show them a house with a back garden to succeed in getting one. I’m not 100% sure if this is true, however I have never been taken up on my offers of fostering when they request help on their social media. My friends brother however was looking to regime his pet and was getting desperate as he didn’t want to contact the pound. She was a Cairn Terrier and looked very scrawny in the photo. I agreed to go over and see if we were suited but I didn’t commit for definite. When we met she was noisily barking but I could see she just wanted attention. I got told abou her, how she didn’t get on the furniture, how she was trained to not go toilet indoors and how she didn’t like the rain! I felt she suited my home and I agreed to take her a week later as I had other commitments and didn’t want her left alone when she would only be adjusting to her new home.
From the very first day we were a perfect fit. I took her to introduce her to my parents and they loved her straight away. They love dogs however after trying with puppies previously they realised they are too old to deal with dogs daily and it was unfair on them. Three years on and you rarely see me without my dog. She became family the moment I got her. My parents take her whilst I’m in work and like most “grandparents” they spoil her. This has lead to her being a bit heavier than when I first got her. I think it suits her though.
Izzie has come on many trips with me. We took her go a pet friendly hotel in Killarney before we split, she climbed Croagh Patrick and Sugar Loaf (twice) in the past year. Though I actually think I exhausted her too much on CP, so never doing that again. She’s visited the Cliffs of Moher and Giants Causeway too. I basically feel like a traitor if I was to do something outdoors without letting her accompany me.
My best friends dog recently passed and it brought home how lost I will be when it happens with Izzie. This dog has got me through so many lonely times, cheers me up when I’m down and makes me get out of bed when I’m hungover. She adores me and is so very loyal, even against her own benefit at times. I believe pets can help so much with mental health for all the points I’ve made just there.
For anyone considering getting a dog I would definitely think hard about things. It’s a big adjustment. I walk her 2/3 times a day but I have no kids so I can afford to. Food and vet bills can add up. Mainly though you feel so much guilt leaving them alone. Izzie was trained not to go the toilet indoors but I believe that can be tough. She was also used to being left alone everyday. It didn’t make it easier though. Obviously you have to go to work but I rarely do anything in the evenings which would leave her alone. I got her before I realised I would be her sole owner so I didn’t think I would be leaving her to go out dating etc. Also I’m lucky that I have my parents to take her when I go on trips away. I arrange them when I know they will be here themselves as I know they are her family too.
Take this all into account. If you still think you would like a dog I recommend adoption from a rescue centre or dog pound rather than to buy one. There are so many puppy farms out there mistreating dogs that you don’t know what is good and what isn’t. Plus the fact that there are many many good dogs in need of a loving home and a second chance.
Hopefully I haven’t bored you or come across like a crazy dog lady!!
Ok so this is just going to be a quick post as I currently have two dogs fighting for my attention!! When I was younger I always saw myself living in a different country. Very young = Orlando as they had Disneyland and Universal, plus it was always sunny!
My teens = Manchester: I loved Take That and Manchester United so it was obvious I would want to go there. Right??
Australia was then on my list in my twenties as that’s where everyone seemed to be travelling to!
Then I came to a realisation in my thirties. I actually love living in Ireland, I love my city. Dublin is a great place to visit or live. There are many restaurants, pubs and clubs. Every now and then Bord Gais get brilliant theatrical shows so you aren’t missing out on Broadway or the West End. Many historical places to visit and the Phoenix Park is possibly one of the best places to spend hours in free of charge.
On a sunny day you cannot beat the atmosphere in town. Everyone is in good form, relaxed and socialising.
Deer crossing in Phoenix Park
I try and walk my dog in different places every week. My absolute favourite place to escape is Killiney Hill. Here you can have your dog off the lead, as most people do, and you don’t get any funny looks off people. The cafe there also leave out bowls of water for your furry friends to rehydrate. It’s nice to sit there with your dog and grab a tea/coffee and cake! Then you walk up the small hill, stopping to take in the mountain views to the right which are beautiful. However when you continue walking up, the views there take your breath away! Beyond the gorse you see the beach below and the views as far as Bray, the mountains setting a nice backdrop. I have seen this view on multiple occasions in different types of weather and each time I find it hard to believe I’m in Dublin and not looking at the Amalfi Coast. Continuing on you can also see great views of the city, with the Poolbeg towers and Howth in the distance. I reckon everyone should make a visit just once. If you have kids, there is a good playground in Dalkey park including a mini zip line! Few of my pics from Killiney Hill
From Killiney I normally head onto Dun Laoghaire which isn’t too far away. I used to avoid going there as my last dog sadly drowned out off the west pier, but one day after being in Killiney I accidentally found myself back here and I remembered how nice it was to walk along. You can grab an ice cream in Teddys or a coffee off the guy at the pier. On Sunday’s you can visit the market at the people’s park, sampling some of the great smelling food and admiring the photos on show.
Dun Laoghaire on November 1st!!
My father likes joining my outings some times and his particular favourite is Howth. It’s a bit further for us to get to but I do love it too. It used to be a small fishing village and it is full of tourism as a result. My dad loves wandering along the different fish shops, trying to find a bargain. We then walk to the pier, passing many restaurants and chippers along the way. It’s a sin not to grab a bag of chips by the way! Now and then there’s a busker on the green near the pier so you can sit and enjoy the show! After walking the pier we generally walk back to the car after spending hours in the fresh air. I always look enviously at the people sitting outside enjoying their wine. Last week I actually got to be one of those people and it was really nice! In fact the sun set in Howth was so amazing that my friend suggested toasting it with a bottle of wine. Really a memorable experience sitting on the pier, watching the sky change and enjoying a small glass of vino. Who needs to go abroad when the weather is so good!
Some photos of Howth from last week
Also in Howth you can walk Howth Head which is a lovely cliff walk. I may write a piece about this at a later time regarding hill walks.
Photo from Howth Head
As you can see these are mainly outdoor activities that I have spoke about. This obviously means that they are weather dependant however it also means they are Free!! And who doesn’t love a free day out in Dublin?!!
I love many things about this city that I could spend hours talking about, however this was meant to be a quick blog post 😂