The following is an except from my trip journal during my 11 days in Ireland.
21 May 2009 22:30
Today was a great first day of hiking! We had a relatively leisurely morning with breakfast at the hotel, then waiting be picked up by the tour guide (Tim). He came around 10:30 and after loading our bags we were off to Bray – “Dublin’s Seaside Playground”. It took a bit of time to get there due to traffic in Dublin, but we arrived around 11:30. There were three others on the bust who had just arrived that morning.
The rest of the group was already at the Best Western in Bray. We all got together for an introduction/orientation meeting. Tim gave a great introduction to the trip and we met the other trip participants.
The afternoon was open and my family and I elected to hitch a ride to Greystones with Tim and hike back on the “cliff walk” train. We checked into our rooms, dropped our bags off and met back with Tim. The drive from Bray to Greystones was short and scenic. In Greystones we stopped for lunch. Tim, Mom, and Chris ate at “The Happy Pear” (local vegetarian place) while the rest of us went to seafood place next door.
The hiking began just before 15:00, starting by the new harbor under construction in Greystones. They were working hard as we walked by. We gained a bit of altitude and got on the cliffs overlooking the Irish Sea. There was an old stone wall to the left and the Bray Head ahead of us. It was quite a fun 3-4 mile hike along the ocean. Flowers were plentiful and we saw a few sheep on the hill. There was some action in the ocean too. Mostly seagulls, but we also saw 3 seals near shore.
Just as we were about to enter Bray, we turned left up a set of stairs. The paved path quickly disappeared and split into many muddy trails leading up Bray Head. The hike up Bray Head was short and steep, affording a great view of Bray, Dublin, and the surrounding areas.
We wrapped up the evening with a nice dinner. I’ve started to get to know people on the tour, sitting across from Nancy, Ruth, and Stenson at dinner. Seems to be a great group!
Bray is a nice little town by the sea. There’s a nice beach which we walked along a bit after dinner. Time now for bed… big day of hiking tomorrow!
All of the pictures from the day in Bray are available here: Ireland Day 1: Bray & Bray Head on flickr