Did you know that the country of Ireland - in its entirety - places a complete ban on alcohol 2/365 days a year, closing pubs, liquor stores.... all of it? Did you know that those two days are Christmas Day, and Good Friday, the Friday prior to Easter Sunday? Neither did we.
Last Sunday was Easter Sunday... You do the math there.
So, our plans of drunken pub hopping between our small hiking adventures dashed, we simply hiked. Starting out our day on the M50 after retrieving our rental car from Dan Dooley's at the Dublin International Airport was interesting. Driving on the opposite side of the car, and road took a bit of getting used to, but Dad managed to get the hang of things.
We drove through the Dalkey Village, a small village located about 10 miles South of Dublin, stopping off at the Dalkey Castle, across the street from the Castle Heritage Center and Goat Castle on Castle Road.
After walking through the chilly, deserted town we made our way up the hill to our first castle hotel of the trip - Fitzpatrick Castle. The lovely receptionist allowed us to check in several hours early, and we were able to take a quick nap before starting our day.
We really lucked out with the weather today, and absolutely took advantage. Sticking to our original plan of hiking, we started our day out in Killiney Hill Park, where we climbed more than 200 total stairs to the Obelisk, a structure built more than 250 years ago, watched several rock climbing instructors teach a ropes course in the Dalkey Quarry, and found a small pyramid atop the hill near the Obelisk the provided a fantastic view of the bay below.
After exploring the park, we headed down in to town via Vico Rd, making several stops, including White Rock Beach (where did not see any white rocks, but would love to come back and enjoy a warm summer's day here), Hawk Cliff (where I, incidentally, also did not see and hawks), and Sorrento Park, all of which were less than a mile walk from one another.
Once we reached the end of Vico road we check out the Coliemore Harbor, one of three harbors in Dalkey, and explored the Dalkey Island about 300 meters off the coast via viewfinder, where a herd of feral goats, and rabbits we were able to watch that were the size of dogs (literally!) have taken over what remains of St Begnet's Church, and one of the Martello Towers. Although seals and whales were rumored to frequent this harbor, we weren't lucky enough to see either creature.
At this point I was starving, so we headed deeper in to Dalkey Village, down the now-busy Castle Street we had explored earlier this morning. Most shops were either already closed, or in the process of closing at just 4pm (the perks of Good Friday....), but we were able to find a fast food restaurant still open, and ordered chicken kebabs (which were a lot more like chicken gyros, but who am I to judge that?), and burgers with salt & vinegar.
After that we doubled back to the Idle Wilde Cafe to snag some coffee to keep our now freezing hands warm on the walk down to Bulloch Castle before finishing our 10 mile (or roughly 16.1 kilometers) walk for the day.