Something for the weekend… Ireland is beautiful, make use of your time here and get out and explore! Student Ambassador Xinya Peng from China considers herself somewhat of a seasoned hiker and thinks it’s one of the best ways of getting out and in touch with nature!

During the various lockdowns, everything in our lives has moved from outdoors to indoors. Apart from working and studying at home, being able to get in touch with nature has become more precious, and this gave me a new hobby – hiking. Fortunately, not far from my home, there is a particularly good hiking place – the Wicklow Way. 

The Wicklow Way is the first marked trail in Ireland, and due to its proximity to Dublin, it has always been one of the most popular walking routes in  Ireland.  The road starts in the southern part of Dublin, and the city is quickly left behind as the route goes deep into the Heather Moorlands. 

Hiking trail (photo: DigitalDublin via Canva)

I embarked on a walking tour of the Wicklow Way again last week. I first crossed Marlay park and then, along a road uphill,  I  came to the parking lot of  Wicklow Way.  This is where the hike started. Today I plan to arrive at Fairy Castle on the top of the mountain and return. In the beginning, it was like entering a misty forest with tall trees. Immediately afterwards, as the circling road winds all the way up,  you will pass by the gurgling creek.  Sometimes, if you’re lucky enough, you will see the baby deer!

After walking for a while, you arrive at a spacious platform where you can overlook the entire Dublin View. The entire city of Dublin is right in front of you,  which is really amazing. The difficult journey has just begun.  As the altitude increases, the air is much colder. You will see the snow in the grass and large clouds right in front of your eyes. Huge stones lead the way forward, and sometimes you need to jump over them one by one to move on. But you will see a flock of sheep grazing on your right and they curiously look at strangers passing by.

The Wicklow Way (photo: Pablo Escuder Cano via Canva)

It was dusk when I reached the top of the mountain, the golden sunset shining on the clouds in the distance, and I felt like I was in a fairy tale. The next road is more difficult, the cold wind and icy road might make you want to give up. However, the thought of reaching the top of the mountain will keep you walking. When I arrived at Fairy Castle, it was already evening and the city at the foot of the mountain had already started to light up. The lights looked like the stars in the sky, twinkling at the foot of the mountain. With the bright moonlight, I went down the mountain and went home. . .

Hiking is really a good exercise, especially during a pandemic. It naturally brings us joy and relieves our anxiety bringing us real relaxation. Are you ready for a hike? Let’s put on our backpacks and set off together.

Xinya is studying Digital Media at the National University of Ireland Galway