The poem When Erin First Rose is a beautiful homage to Ireland by the famed poet William Drennan. In Drennan's words, Ireland is the Emerald of Europe "with the sparkle and shine of the most precious stone".
With his exuberant tone, it's hard to miss the sense of pride spilling out of the verses; the small island standing proud of its affable people, lush landscapes and untamed sea. I agree with William Brennan, Ireland is a gem. But when it comes to climbing, it's a hidden gem. Relatively few people from outside the island venture out to search for its magic, and there's magic to be found for those who try.
That moment when two weeks of climbing begins to catch up on you, Though the Looking Glass (E3 5c) | Climber: Roman Marin | Photo: Jon Gill
Our trip was brewed last October, when Rob Greenwood and I started making plans for Ireland - Owey Island in particular. Having been there once before and having failed to get to Owey Island due to the weather, I knew the crux would be getting the right weather window. Other teams seem to have had no problem with the weather, but having been buffeted before, I wasn't going to be turned away this time. To that effect, I spend most of the week prior to departure glued to my computer screen checking Atlantic pressure charts. It wasn't looking good. I even packed guidebooks for Orco and the Alps as the weather across the UK looked unconducive for climbing.
But on the Friday before departure I saw two magnificent high pressure systems making their way to Ireland. This was our chance to strike.
Read Roman's latest blog postfor more one his pursuit of good weather windows, a rest day, and some of Ireland's best climbing.