“I want to be more creative”.
These were the famous words that Junior Account Executive, Orlaith McAlister, uttered when she set up her Instagram page, ‘Dandering in Ireland’. A page that would challenge and encourage Orlaith to be more creative when it came to capturing that perfect shot of the rural Irish landscape, on her many hiking trips.
Initially the page was hidden for a month, but was quickly picked up by Love Ballymena and Discover NI for its stunning photographs and now boasts 600 followers, all enjoying Orlaith’s adventures during lockdown.
Venturing to new places in Ireland:
“I have always loved the outdoors and adventuring to new places, so when lockdown hit I took advantage of all the hidden gems dotted around the Northern Ireland. I’m fortunate that I live on the North Coast, so that makes it easier for scenic pictures. Whilst most people look forward to a day trip to Portrush or Stewart, they tend to forget that the Causeway Coast stretches for almost 2 and half hours and there’s some amazing views along the way.
Having said that, I do enjoy a trip to Portrush, particularly walking around the Glens of Antrim, as it’s just as stunning, especially with the views of Scotland.
We’re fortunate with Ireland as it has so many amazing hiking trails to enjoy, such as Lurig in Cushendall. When you reach the top, you see out to Garron Point to Cushendun.”
Orlaith’s ultimate hike:
One hike I would massively recommend is Galtymore in Tipperary/Limerick. It’s a popular mountain and once you get to the top, you are rewarded with views of greenery for miles and miles, which is breath-taking. This hike only about 45 mins from Limerick City also and even closer to Tipperary, I would say it’s mid-range hike with a trail 75% of way up.
Now that lockdown is beginning to ease, I’m looking forward to seeing more of Ireland and discovering new hiking trails. The next places I’d like to visit are Cork and Kerry, someday I aim to complete all of Wild Atlantic Way view points. So far, I have done around 6, from Cliffs of Moher, Lahinch beach, to Rosses Point Beach in Sligo.
Top tips for hiking
Now, that I know a bit more about trails, these are my top tips for hiking:
- Plan! Research the way up and check if there is a car park.
- Extra socks are a must!
- Proper walking boots will make all the difference.
- Pack water and snacks.
- Don’t rush, take your time going up and stop for breaks if needed.
Orlaith’s blog is part of a series for #WeArdmore where we showcase our colleagues’ unique interests and skills outside of the agency.