83 kilometers, out and back in six hours, wildflowers, and a great brown bog. How can one spend a Saturday in a better way? Thinking back on that weekend makes me a bit homesick. Here in Barcelona, it is difficult to come across a location that values such a huge expanse of peatland.
I planned my trip according to a Lonely Planet book I found a few years back. I started out my trail in the town of Kildare, the capital of Irish's thoroughbred trade. Kildare is a small town that includes all the needed facilities one might need. Although this town might not be as warm as the next one, the remarkable history of this location is worth visiting. It is said that the everlasting flame of St Brigid burned there in the sixteenth century.
After about 30 km, we stopped at a Forest Park near Donadea, where we had our traditional picnic with a not so traditional landscape of an abandoned castle.
About 10 km later, after digesting our sandwiches, we spotted the first sighting of the bog.
I think what fascinated me most about this trail is finding the Peatland World, a farmstead with a goal to educate locals and visitors about the importance of conserving this astonishing bog.
It is amazing for me to see how different locals live in the same country I have spent my childhood in, and how each lifestyle is dissimilar to someone living just a few kilometers away.
With that being said, I still believe I made the right choice in moving out to Spain, a more civilized location. I love being surrounded with high-end fashion stores as well as a handful of tourist attractions.
Equipment: All we needed was a good lunch (packed a number of sandwichs), water (important!) and your bikes, that become your pair of legs.
A visit to Dublin during the summer would be incomplete without a visit to Croke Park, the most modern stadia in Europe. With a capacity of 80000 (set to be increased to 90000) it's the 5th largest stadium in Europe and can be seen from miles around. Not bad for an amateur association. It is the Gaelic Athletic Associations Headquarters. It hosts Gaelic football and hurling (the fastest field game in the world) during the summer months from June to September. Irelands 32 counties, as well as the "counties" of New York and London compete in the championships. Dublin's big matches are usually played at Croke Park. The Leinster football and hurling finals are held here and the All Ireland Quarters, Semis and Finals are usually played to sell out attendance's. Three quarters of the stadium are three tier modern stands, but the northern end (Hill 16) is the last remaining part of the old stadium. It is terracing but its expected to be demolished next year. Croke Park hosted the magnificent opening and closing ceremonies of the 2003 Special Olympics. A massive stage was erected at the Hill 16 end for both ceremonies. "Foreign games" such as soccer and rugby are forbidden to be played on GAA pitches so the FAI & IRFU cannot avail of the facilities at Croke Park. When UEFA inspected it for the Euro 2008 bid, they said it was a magnificent stadium in a magnificent city and would easily hold a Champions League Final or European Championships Final.
Equipment: Tickets for all games except for the All-Ireland hurling and football finals are available through gaa.ie, ticketmaster.ie, ticketmaster outlets around Ireland and Croke Park its self. Tickets are priced from E5 for under 16s to E20. You are usually paying for two games for one as there is quater final double headers held in late July and August. Also minor games are played before the Semi Finals. Food and drink is available from the numerous pubs. cafes, fast food outlets, shops and restaurants around the stadium as well as inside the ground. Bring a raincoat just in case the heavens open.