We departed Lahinch on a lovely day and headed north to the town of Belmullet.  We were definitely outside the touristic track now.  First up was finding a laundry–the girl was willing to give our stain problem a go.  (Did I mention that I left a Burt’s Bee’s lip balm in my pocket, so the previous laundry load had red stains all over it?  Strangely, the lip gloss is almost invisible on the lips.  Marc was particularly hard hit by the lip balm disaster and, poor guy, had to pick up some swanky new clothes at the Ballybunion pro shop.)  The girl in the laundry managed to scrub out some of the stains and save a few of Marc’s pairs of pants.

Once Marc was delivered to the golf course, I headed to tourist information to get a walking tour map.  I had read about Erris Head, only a few kilometers away.  I drove in the described direction, looking for the promised sign to Erris Head.  I guess we were firmly in the Gaeltacht, though, because the sign to the trailhead was in Irish and shared maybe two letters with the English name.   And naturally, the map from tourist information was only in English.  I sailed past my turnoff, but quickly started to doubt I was in the right place.  I dug up a bilingual map to confirm, and then did a nice reverse U turn.

The parking area, packed with a minibus, a motorcycle, and several cars already, was at the top of a cliff.  In fact, the whole walk was in a free field perched on top of a rocky peninsula rising up sheer cliffs from the Atlantic.  It is one of Ireland’s furthest western points–important to navigation by air and sea.

The only way to get out to this point is by foot. I climbed a tall ladder/stile and walked among the sheep who had probably originally  made the trail.  The day had turned pristine after a spurt of a shower convinced me to wear a rain jacket on my hike.

Like so many places in Ireland, photos do not do Erris Head justice.  I took a couple of hours and walked the path around the circumference of this protrusion of land, the way marked by a series of arrows.  In Ireland, grass soon covers any attempt to carve a “real” trail, I guess.  I met some tourists on a walking tour of Ireland, most from the US midwest.  Just as I finished my circumnavigation of the headland and rejoined the outbound trail, the phone beeped:  Marc was ready to be picked up.  Perfect timing.

Photos of Erris Head are HERE.