Glendalough & the Spinc Loop
The only 'sight' we had initially planned to visit in the Wicklow area was Glendalough, so we decided to make that our first stop here. The weather looked OK, but we expected to get some rain, so we packed all our rain gear.
Inside the visitor center at Glendalough we learned that every first wednesday of the month the entry to the exhibition is free, and since today was exactly that, we checked that out before we went outside to see the real thing.
Afterwards we looked at the remains of the Glendalough monastery. That was alright but I do have to admit beside the round tower the graveyard really was the best part. I loved the ancient, crooked tombstones with the withered inscriptions on them.
Since the exploration of the monastery didn't take us all that long, and the school classes walking around were very distracting, as not to say annoying, we decided to take a walk through the Wicklow Mountains National Park, since all the trails start around the Glendalough Visitor Center anyways.
We decided to do the white path, called "The Spinc Loop" as this would take us the farthest up above the lakes, and was supposed to give some stunning views of the surrounding area.
First we followed the "Miners Road" along and saw the remains of the old lead mine, and then wound our way up the mountain.
During that time we already got a short shower of rain, but that didn't bother us at all. Soon we were up the mountain in a little valley, where we saw some deer. We're still not sure exactly what kind of deer they were, but have a look yourself.
Afterwards our path led us to a timber boardwalk, and this is really were things got interesting. About the same time we reached the boardwalk that would lead us over the mountain and to the cliffs, clouds were shaping up right behind us. As soon as we started the walk along the cliffs, it started to hail.
First lightly, then stronger. The hail stung our faces and legs, but at first we preferred the hail to regular rain, thinking we wouldn't have wet clothes as soon. It didn't take very long before we were soaked, especially the legs, where no raincoat and backpack protected the normal clothes.
We walked on, and the hail turned into snowflakes. By that time we had reached the steepest part of the cliffs, where we were supposed to have a stunning view. We just saw hail and snow being pushed up the mountainside with great gusts of wind that tried to pull us off the boardwalk. Behind that, the world was hidden behind this awesome weather phenomenon.
About the time we reached the end of the cliffs, the hailstorm first receded and then stopped. Soaked as we were we followed the path down the mountainside and decided to go home and have a hot shower afterwards.
What a day!