Thoughts on fitness, health, good nutrition ... and running.

Welcome to Bald Man Running, a blog launched by Frank Murphy on January 1, 2015.

In March, 2013 I was selected as a contestant for the sixth season of Fort Wayne's Smallest Winner. Through this amazing program, I learned about good nutrition, sound exercise and accountability. By October, I would lose over 88 pounds (almost 37% of my original weight)! One of the many things I acquired through FWSW was a love for running. You can retrace my weight loss journey and discover how I became a runner by reading those entries labeled "fwsw" ...

Note: Many of the blog entries on this website predate 1/1/2015. Prior to launching BMR, I had written articles for various projects, and I have imported many of them into this blog (labeled "retro").

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Ireland Day 4

Photo album - https://photos.app.goo.gl/BECUC6gKjwJMfDtWA

Started the day in Sligo, went into Fermanagh and ended the day in Derry. 

Weather looked like it would be great all day!

On a morning walk, I saw this ... is it a crow? A raven? I think it's a blackbird, but dang ... it would have been to neat to get a nice pic of great big jet-black crow. I was in a highly significant area to Irish mythology ... it could have been the Morrígan, right?

One of the places I had on my original list was Knocknarea, the site of Queen Medb's burial cairn. However, I knew that I couldn't do everything on the list. While making plans before going to sleep the previous night, I decided to skip this spot. However, I spent some time chatting with BnB hostess before I left, and she convinced me to go. I am so glad that I did.

The cairn is on top of a mountain in Sligo, and it's visible from some distance away. There's a trail to the top, and it's about four miles long. Some of it in the woods, but most of it is on the open mountainside. The views are incredible. I could see Ben Bulben quite nicely!

The route is marked with numerous markers telling the story of Medb and her role in the Táin Bó Cúailnge, which is my favorite story of all time! She's the one who lead the invasion of Ulster and was opposed by Cú Chulainn. Despite being the "bad guy" in the story, she's not really portrayed as a bad guy. The Irish continue to hold both Medb and Cú Chulainn in very high regard. Reading the story along the way was really cool.

The first mile or so is along the base of the mountain, but you've got to go up at some point. There's a very long set of stairs that climbs about 700 feet to the top. It was a good old-fashioned party train!

A "party train" is something I learned while a participant in Fort Wayne's Smallest Winner ... it's a lot of stair work. Great cardio! Those FWSW party trains made this party train possible. It's been ten years since I went through FWSW, and I continue to reap the benefits. It was a little extra special wearing my FWSW colors while summiting Knocknarea!

You're not allowed to climb the cairn. That would be rude.

This is one of my favorite pics of the trip ... the story is that Medb was buried standing upright with a spear in her hand while facing her enemies in Ulster. I was "looking over her shoulder" when the sun peaked through the cloud cover.

Next stop? Cuilcagh. They've got a "timber walk" that goes to the top of a mountain that's on the border of County Fermanagh and County Cavan. The views are supposed to be extraordinary. 

The park is also a nature preserve, and they don't want folks trudging through the delicate terrain, so they built a boardwalk. From where I parked, I had to hike about two miles to get to the start of the boardwalk. There was about a mile of fairly gentle incline, and then over a mile with a much steeper climb. It would be the mother of all party trains!

I would came down the mountain much quicker than I went up! :)


While at the summit, I met a family of five (mom, dad, three girls). There were trying to get a selfie and I offered  to take their pic. As I held mom's phone, I said, "abair cáis!" (Irish for "say cheese"). They said cheese! I realized later that I probably should have said "abraigí" (which is used when speaking to more than one person while "abair" is for one person) instead, but oh well ...

As I chatted with the parents, we talked a little about the Irish language. I really did very little with the Irish language while I was there. So much of my time was spent outdoors doing solo stuff that I had few folks to carry on a conversation. Most Irish folks speak English, so it was not necessary to conduct business. So ... months and months of lessons and hard work learning Irish really didn't lead to much Irish communication.

I did enjoy reading the signage as I traveled. That was fun and interesting.

And the views from atop Cuilcagh? Yes ... it was worth it.

Next stop? Enniskillen, a city on an island in Lough Erne. Very picturesque, but I didn't have much time to spend here.


I had to get to Derry, and was running a little late. The BnB hosts ask that you arrive before 6:00 pm, and I wound up being late. I did call ahead and they knew I was running late.

Incidentally, trying to figure out how to make international phone calls is an adventure, particularly in Ireland where some of the numbers are Republic of Ireland and others are United Kingdom. 

I had some time to stroll around Derry, but I spent more time doing so the next day ... so I'll talk about that in the next blog entry.

Don't forget ... there's plenty of pics in the full photo album. These blog entries contain only a few.

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