A group of Chilliwackians recently returned from a trip to Ireland where they hiked nearly 200 kilometres through some of the world’s grandest scenery.
The 12 “mature” adults, most of who are retired, walked along the Dingle Way, a 180-kilometre trail around the Dingle Peninsula in southwest Ireland in June, said Rob Forde who organized the trip.
“National Geographic called this area the most beautiful place on Earth. It is quite breathtaking, and very historic,” he said.
Forde, who’s part Irish, called it their “Irish Tiny Town Tour” where the landscapes there were ever-changing.
“From seaside vistas to rolling green pastures and their multitude of stone fences, it changed around each bend in the trail. Our 180-kilometre trek was about 40 per cent hillside trails, 30 per cent quiet lanes, 10 per cent narrow roads, and 20 per cent beaches.”
They were surrounded by history as they passed by castles, standing stones, beehive monk huts, famine cottages, and more along the Dingle Peninsula.
“Most were quite accessible and local legends were eagerly shared by the townspeople.”
He said the people of Ireland were welcoming and wonderful, as promised by others before the trip.
Forde and another member of the group also brought along Irish whistles and a bodhran drum to play along Dingle Way.
As to be expected with a group of mature folks hiking over 180 kilometres, there was the odd strain, scrape, blister and bruise.
“It was not an easy experience for most of the crew,” Forde said.
And what’s a trip to Ireland without visiting a pub… or several?
Forde said the pubs were “plentiful and well-used.”
“Colourful and quirky exteriors led to compact and earthy seating areas full of yesterday’s treasures. I can still smell the peat fires,” he said.
Along the 180-kilometre journey Forde gathered as much inspiration as possible to bring back to Chilliwack where he will apply it to future projects – building small Irish pubs.
For years, Forde has been transforming corners of people’s basements or parts of garages into little Irish pubs in private residences.
“Overall it was a tiring yet fantastic trip… this 10 days together as a group will be a lifelong memory for all.”