Here’s the second part of my 2017 review/memory jogging exercise in what I’ve been up to during the year. I didn’t make it outside Ireland in the latter half of 2017 but did visit all four provinces.
Tullyhogue Fort (County Tyrone)
One of my favourite local places to visit with its serene atmosphere and wide views, including this one towards Killymoon Castle (which I got to do a tour of a few months later). Read more.
Washing Bay (County Tyrone)
A local cycle took me to the southwest shore of Lough Neagh but the best view proved to be inland with this glorious evening sunlight.
Ray Church and Falcarragh Beach (County Donegal)
I visited this early church site and the long, sandy Falcarragh Beach nearby during a few very enjoyable days in northwest Donegal. I was particularly intrigued by the views out to rugged Tory Island. Read more.
Knockavoe (County Tyrone)
A short detour on the way home from Donegal allowed a visit to this prominent hill overlooking Strabane that I’d wanted to ‘tackle’ for years. Read more.
The Sligo Camino (Counties Leitrim and Sligo)
A quick phone snap from this 34km annual challenge walk that follows the first half of the Sligo Way. The boardwalk section overlooking Lough Gill was a highlight of a really well organised event.
Maghery and Coney Island double rainbow (County Armagh)
One of those sights that stops you in your tracks on a frequently cycled route.
The Antrim Hills Way/Ulster Way (County Antrim)
A fantastic day out on the rolling coastal hills south of Glenarm. Highlights included Game of Thrones filming locations, views of Scotland and a big phallic rock. Read more.
Loop Head (County Clare)
We fitted in quite a bit of walking during a weekend in Kilkee, including a wander around the cliffs at Loop Head. It was a dull enough day but I was drawn to the views of the Kerry Coast and mountains across the mouth of the River Shannon.
Irish Summer 2017 (County Armagh)
I was sitting in the car with the dog, waiting for the rain to pass so we could go for a walk when I spotted this glorious sight in the wing mirror. There’s probably a metaphor or two here but for me it summed up our ropey summer.
Magheraclogher Beach (County Donegal)
I’d been to Bunbeg a few times but this was my first time walking down to the beach and seeing its famous landmark, Bád Eddie (Eddie’s Boat). Mighty Errigal, Donegal’s highest and most iconic mountain, is in the distance.
Cnoc Fola (County Donegal)
This low, coastal hill offered some fantastic views, including this one towards the shapely Derryveagh Mountains (including Errigal again). Read more.
Glencar Lake (County Leitrim)
A first time hiking in the craggy Castlegal Hills was followed up with a visit to nearby Glencar Waterfall and Lake, always a special place. This photo wasn’t at all awkward to set up.
The western Mournes (County Down)
One of those views that makes a tough, final slog up a boggy Irish mountain worthwhile: looking down the Kilbroney River valley towards Carlingford Lough and the Cooley Mountains from the summit of Rocky Mountain. Read more.
Banagher Forest (County Derry)
This moonlit view of Altnaheglish Reservoir taken around midnight was the highlight of my first night hike, hosted by Mid Ulster Walking Club.
The Barrow Way: Monasterevin to Athy (Counties Kildare and Laois)
A view of the picturesque canal-side village of Vicarstown taken on my second visit to the Barrow Way during 2017. Read more.
Irish National War Memorial Gardens (Dublin)
I lived in Dublin for four years but like many, never knew of this beautiful city park until the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II paid a visit in 2011. It’s a serene place to wander around, with various monuments and views of the River Liffey.
Big Dog Forest to Magho Viewpoint (County Fermanagh)
An unexpectedly heavy snowfall made for a magical day out on this 20km hike through forests in west Fermanagh. The highlight came right at the end: a truly breathtaking view down over Lower Lough Erne from the Magho Cliffs, one I’d wanted to see for years.
Oxford Island (County Armagh)
A short detour on my way home from Belfast gave a great view of the snow-covered Sperrin Mountains across Lough Neagh.
Mullaghsallagh and Goles loop (County Tyrone)
A post-Chistmas and final hike of 2017 brought me back to the Sperrins, where I’d started the year. Visibility didn’t look promising early on but cleared higher up to reveal some delightful snowy scenes. Read more.
So that’s it for 2017. Hopefully I’ll get to explore more of Ireland’s trails and scenic places in 2018, and maybe get a bit further afield too. The Balkans, especially, are calling out to me again so we’ll see.
Best wishes for the year ahead to everyone reading this.