A Fairy Hike to a Fairy Castle

in ireland


Yesterday winter came back around to grumble “And another thing…” in the middle of what otherwise should be a well-behaved spring.

After Storm Emma I kicked myself that I didn’t get out of Harold’s Cross to see the parks or countryside around Dublin while we had snow. So when I saw snow on the ground yesterday morning I rolled my ass out of bed, threw on my outdoor gear and caught the next bus down to Marlay Park.

The park was beautiful, serene, silent under the still-falling snow. Everything I had wanted when I got out of bed.

And then I looked, saw Fairy Castle through the fog, and made the immediate decision to climb to the top. That was a dangerous decision. Not stupid or rash-I’m fit, went up with supplies and in appropriate clothes. But still dangerous.

What if I had gotten stuck in a drift?
Run out of stamina?
Broken an ankle?
Exposure?

My beard froze, for fuck’s sake.

Sure, I went over the top and back down through Ticknock Forest to Stepaside, but I could have died. Every step I took on the way up was a step I had to take back down. My fixation over the danger seems stupid at one level because Fairy Castle is right there. Look to the right of the masts at Three Rock to find it. Dublin’s right there too when you look down.

Without the tracks of other hikers I wouldn’t have had the courage to keep going. Nobody knew I had gone up, let alone by myself. I don’t think there has ever been a time where there was such an immediate need to keep my eye on the goal, find my pace and keep going. My accomplishment makes me proud of myself now that I’m home and safe in bed. I proved my fitness! I demonstrated my preparedness! My plan worked, holy shit!

I get why climbers never stop, but instead go on to find a bigger hill. The mountain’s there, I climbed it, I am. I’m ready for my next.

The cairn and OS marker at Fairy Castle
At the back of Fairy Castle looking toward Glendoo
Snowy Fairy Castle
Snowy Fairy Castle
Snowy Fairy Castle
Snowy Fairy Castle
Snowy Fairy Castle
Snowy Fairy Castle


The Western Way

in ireland

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in ireland


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