(by Gerry Moss, November 2007)
Climbing at Hook Head, Co. Wexford.

(See also: Playing Hookey)

During this damp, dreary and dark run up to Christmas, it’s good to have an alternative to the wall available every now and then. I’m thinking of places like Knockadoon, Helvick Head, Barnbawn and Hook Head – all sheltered sunspots when the cold northwesterlies are blowing showery rain across the land. For, no matter how they spruce up the climbing wall (and it could do with some sprucing up) you can’t beat climbing outdoors.

We went back down to Hook Head in Wexford recently, on one of those pet days when the skies were blue, the sun was shining, the winds were light and a mid-day low tide, combined with a full moon, gave perfect conditions.

It’s a sort of self-service place – you just ramble along the foot of the cliffs until you see something you would like to climb – and off you go. Walls, cracks, corners, overhangs big and small, high up or low-down, whatever takes your fancy.

We all notched up some routes, ranging from Diff., to V.S. in a variety of situations. Protection is generally good, with friends being useful.

It’s a lovely area for a ramble too, the Wexford Way runs along the top of the cliffs, and there’s always a chance of spotting some dolphins, seals and gannets.

A real suntrap and, although the climbs are only 15 minutes at most from the carpark, when you are down there, all alone on the slab, you can savour that wonderful feeling of being away from it all.