Things to Do In Ireland – The Stairway to Heaven

I spent last week in Belfast, Northern Ireland. But one of the trip highlights actually took us a few hours’ drive out of Belfast to Cuilcagh, Ireland. So, I guess I can add this to my travel diaries, right?

Stairway to Heaven, Cuilcagh

If I wasn’t a 30-year-old woman, I would’ve been weeping too.

The total journey from start to finish was approximately 15km. It took us about 3/3.5 hours and I almost stopped and turned back on numerous occasions.

At one point where we actually reached the bottom of the wooden staircase that leads you to the summit and viewing platform (worth the climb!), I met a young lad about seven years old, crying his eyes out. His dad was trying to persuade him to make the climb, that they were almost there, that the whole 2 hour journey to this point wouldn’t be worth it if they didn’t spend another 15 minutes climbing the steps to the summit. But the little boy had had enough. And so had I. This little lad was the absolute personification of my internal emotions. If I wasn’t a 30-year-old woman, I would’ve been weeping too.

Cuilcagh Boardwalk Trail – Information & Reviews

Oh my goodness. I don’t know how to explain my feelings in words. But I’ll give it my best shot.

You know how we’re often told to enjoy the journey and not just the destination? I’m sure you’ve read the many quotes on the topic. If not, here’s a few to jog your memory…

Make the journey an adventure of its own.

Life is a journey, not a destination. Learn to enjoy the ride.

And my favourite and probably most relevant…

We are so often caught up in our destination that we forget to appreciate the journey…

Well, I don’t know how to tell you this, but … if I’d not been caught up with the destination, there is NO WAY I would have continued on that journey. The destination (and Adam) was the ONLY thing pulling me along.

There’s about a 5km walk before you even reach this main boardwalk denoting Cuilcagh Mountain Park

The views along the route were great and all – sheep and fields, vast grasslands and various bodies of water. And on a sunny, less windy day I may have been super appreciative of these expansive views (and the journey).

But on that particular intermittently rainy, and persistent, abusively windy Sunday, the miserable weather truly dampened my spirits and, I’m ashamed to say, mostly ruined the journey for me. (But I’d still recommend this on a sunnier, less windy day!)

Travel Diaries Blog Series: Feb 2020: Visit to Amsterdam and VondelPark

The way to the summit was tough. At many points, I felt as though even if I had tried to fall forward flat on my face, the wind was so fiercely confrontational that I wouldn’t have been able to.

I’m not making this sound too appealing, am I? Sorry! Let me do a quick 180!

The highlights of this trip outweighed the challenges.

The view at the top was gorgeous. At first we were enveloped by the clouds but as they dispersed we were blessed with a clear view for miles on every side.

The journey back down the mountain took less than half the time of the ascent. The wind that had held us back so fiercely, shortening my strides and slowing my pace, gave me wings on the way down. The combination of downhill with what felt like 10 miles per hour winds meant I quite literally ran the majority of the way back. I couldn’t help it.

And actually, we had seen so many people jogging back on their descent as they passed us on our way up. So it was quite funny to realise and truly understand why. They couldn’t help it either!

What were the other highlights of this visit to Cuilcagh in Ireland?

I generally adore nature walks. So, the trip gave me a chance to think and reflect, even despite the abruptness of the wind and random rain showers.

More time spent with Adam out of the house and visiting somewhere new together as a first for us both. (He hadn’t walked the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ before either.)

Visiting the UK? If you’re visiting England and into British history, wildlife and…English fudge (mmmm sweets), check out Chester! Five Fun Things to Do In Chester.

So, tell the truth… have I inspired you to take this journey to Heaven? Ha!

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