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Trinity Climbers in Glendalough

Trinity Climbers trip to Glendalough, County Wicklow, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, February, 2007.
Another excellent trip, made especially pleasant by the blessing of fine weather.
Saturday: Acorn Buttress. Three routes. From right to left, Fascilis Descendus (HS 4b), Provo (VS 4c), and one other route (most likely Inferno).
Sunday: Expectancy. Two routes. An abseil route to the right us was also put to use by our group and several others passing by.


Glendalough is a popular location, so much so that it was unavailable for the second trip of the year which ended up going to the Mournes. An elite few had spent New Years in Glendo, but it was just a taste of things to come.
Rather than pedantically translate Gleann Dá Locha (Glendalough) or repeat what so many tourist brouchers have said already or a picture could more easily communicate, I would suggest instead that depending on your level of English fluency you might be able to take an educated guess at the meaning of the name Glendalough, especially if I were to point out the words glen and lough/loch should be found in any good English dictionary and note "dhá rud" is Irish for two things (counting things but not people). In any case, we invariably shorten Glendalough to Glendo, and I will refer to it as such here after.

The trip began on Friday, a mountain of gear accumulating outside the Luce hall and people running round at the last minute trying to pick up a few extra bits and pieces. Jack had shrewdly exaggerated and told people to meet at 5:30 which nearly everyone had actually arrived by 6 o'clock and we wandered over to the fag on the crag (Oscar Wilde statue, Merrion Square) only to discover the bus driver would be at least another hour. The upside of this delay meant there was time for a pint and some food in the Pav although most of the group decided to stay with the bags and equipment. Captain Ger, Louisa, Casia, Harry, Alan (me), and possibly one or two others, took full advantage of the opportunity to share a quick meal and line our stomachs for the trip ahead.
Once we were on board the bus journey was stunningly short in comparison to other expeditions to places further afield than Wicklow. Stricter controls on the numbers meant we could all fit in a smaller twenty seater coach, there was room enough to drive in, turn around, and drop us right at the door of the IMC Hut. (The alternative in past years had been a long troublesome night hike, with large amounts of heavy gear, awkward loose groceries, and other odds and ends, which felt much longer than it actually was.) Former climbing club captain Liam Murray (who has since become a captain in the Irish Defense Forces) was in the hut to welcome us with a a roaring fire and an already empty bottle of red wine.
Beds were quickly claimed and the table and fridge filled with an abundance of food and kettles set to boil for dinner to cook. After a minor setback and the realisation the kettles were plugged in but the power strip they were attached to wasn't yet connected to the wall, we were able to cook up many different pasta or noodle based meals. Meanwhile drinking began, and several cars full of people swelled our numbers to almost thirty.

There were many things which made this trip remarkable but the Hookah pipe is pretty high on the list. Ari (our man from Finland) had gone to the trouble of bringing this rather large and complicated looking device, carefully reassembling it, filling the glass bowel with water, and lighting the charcoal burner. The combination of large group of students having a party and an elaborate smoking device might lead you to certian incorrect assumptions but flavoured tobacco was what was the only substance being smoked in the Hookah this weekend. The tobacco smelled a lot like raisins to me, as for how it tasted you will need to ask others, as my attention was devoted to some fine Belgian beers. Starting with a small bottle of Duvel, moving on to a more generously sized bottle of Leffe Blonde, after which resorted to generic beers not worth mentioning. The evening was finished off with a taste of tonic wine from the monks of Buckfast Abbey &ndash purely for medicinal purposes of course &ndash and the rest of the bottle safely stored for the next evening.

Musical entertainment was provided not only by Ger the reluctant banjo player, but also Luke on guitar and Deirdre on bodhrán. Deirdre can hardly be described as shy but turned out to be almost as reluctant to play in front of crowd as Ger (somewhat less reluctant when playing in a group). She was however willing to teach and many were happy to try their hand at the bodhrán, although in most cases not literally using their hand but rather the wooden tipper and using only one end. Ari was particularly capable, thanks to previous drumming experience and provided precussion for Ger and Luke on several tunes.

(Maybe another half or two thirds more to go.)

Wicklow.com page for Glendalough
Wikipedia page for Glendalough
Wikipedia page explaining a bodhrán is a type of drum, and more.

Disposable Camera Photo Scans by Lena Doherty:
Photo gallery of Glendalough Trip February 2007
Photo gallery of
Glendalough New Year's Trip

Writers Note:
In the particular context of an online journal it may seem odd to explain Alan (me) is the author of the document but it would be poor writing style if a printed version of this article no longer made sense and this is a relatively easy way to achieve the required clarity.


June 2015



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