A Week in Wicklow – Part 1: Cottages and Caches

For those that don’t know, I like to write up my holidays. Partly because I’m a man of words and I like a story to go with the photos I take. Partly because I want to remember what’s happened, so that I can refer back when I need to. And partly for the benefit of others. When people want to know what our holiday in such-and-such a place was like, where we stayed and ate, and what we enjoyed and learned, I can just refer them here.

So comes my write up of a week in Wicklow, on the East Coast of Ireland.

Introduction: Cottages and Caches

We love Ireland. I’ve visited the Dingle Peninsula in the south-west twice now, once with lovely wife and once, many years ago, with others. We’ve done Northern Ireland, and so, this year, we thought we’d try the east coast.

I’d heard good things about Wicklow and there’s a national park with some mountains in, so we booked some time off, a small cottage, and a ferry, and planned our trip away.

Finding a cottage for two is hard. Most are much bigger, or really pokey and small, so we booked into a 4-bed cottage, accepting the extra cost as the price for some extra space.

We got online and bought some Ordnance Survey of Ireland, 1:50,000, “Explorer” maps, and a Harvey map of the Wicklow Mountains. We ordered a book of mountain walks too, but it didn’t arrive in time. Our experience of walking in Ireland is that it’s not as easy as the UK – land is less accessible, paths are not as clear, and maps are not as easy to get hold of, so we wanted as much information as we could get up front.

We also managed to get hold of a GPS receiver. After our long weekend in the Lakes with some friends who introduced us to the “sport” of Geocaching, we’ve been wanting to incorporate some geocaching of our own into a holiday.

Fortunately, our birthdays are both in early June and some very kind people clubbed together to get us a Garmin eTrex Legend H: slightly above the basic model with mapping capability and some geocaching features.

We printed out details of a pile of caches before we went, as access to the Internet and a printer was not expected to be easy to find.

So, booked, packed, equipped, and informed, we expectantly headed to bed early on Friday night.