The Grand Canal Hike in Fall 2003
no particular order, some of the lessons
learned during my hike:
- * Although the Grand
Canal passes through some
undistinguished countryside for about
half of its route, lacking the flair and
drama of Ireland’s legendary mountains
and coastlines, it possesses a quiet and
serene beauty that is mighty good for
the soul. I felt a deep sense of
spirituality there, alone with just the
birds and the still waters
* There is no sure substitute for
careful, thoughtful planning before your
I was about 90 percent prepared.
I missed on two accounts.
I began my conditioning hikes
much too late, starting only about three
weeks before my trip.
And I had no good information on
lodging between Robertstown and
* It doesn’t always rain in Ireland!!
Of the six days, only during one
morning did it rain, and then only
- * There are not as
many little villages and towns along the
canal as I had thought, even though I
had access to good detailed maps. So
* Off season (I hiked in late September)
the Grand Canal Way is essentially
I saw only one other hiker, a man
using the way as his route between
Dublin and Naas.
Of course there were local
walkers and people out walking their
dogs, and some probably using the way to
get from one village to the next, but no
But an older man in a pub in
Pollagh told me that during the summer,
hundreds of hikers passed through.
* Boating also must be highly seasonal.
I saw only one boat underway
other than two or three Celtic Cruisers
* Americans also are a rare breed that
time of year.
I saw no other Americans during
my several days away from Dublin.
Quite likely it would be unusual
to encounter Americans even during high
season out in the western County Kildare
and County Offaly countryside since it
doesn’t have the tourist appeal of other
* Blackberries in Ireland taste just
like the blackberries in Tennessee and
But they ripen two or more months
later due to the cooler temperatures.
* A light daypack is all that’s needed
for a rewarding hiking or walking
Careful packing—rolling your
clothes and similar articles—works
* The Grand Canal Way is an easy walk or
For much of the route, a grassy
surfaced towpath eases the impact of the
many thousands of footsteps a hiker will
And as some of the Grand Canal
Way literature claims, the way is ideal
for older walkers.
* For those who want to limit their
hiking or walking to just the most
scenic and pastoral regions, a quick
train trip from Dublin to Hazelhatch or
Sallins, picking up the way at one of
those points, is highly recommended.
someone tell me what this means?
The sign was near a road construction
site in Northern Ireland.
Are there "man-eating” plants there?