Author: Elisabeth

Fiddane Woodloop

Don’t ask me, why I post this walk now and not earlier. It is one of my favourite trails. Not too short and not too long. Quite easy to walk.

Suitable for everyone and every season, because you have two options to park and you can skip the hill, if necessary. Like with every walk good shoes are always recommended.

When you start here:

GPS: 52°6′27″ N  8°35′20″ W

Fiddane Woodloop
Fiddane 1st option

A small parking area is provided in front of the barrier and then you can walk smoothly up the hill. It’s not very steep and leads through the grassland.

Fiddane view

On your way up and depending on the weather you will have a spectacular view over the surrounding area. Such views might give you a feeling of limitless freedom.

Once up the hill, it doesn’t matter which direction you take as it is a circular walk. What ever suits best in that moment, do it.

The total lengths starting from here is approximately 7,5 km.

When you start here:

GPS: 52°7′2″ N  8°34′16″ W 

Fiddane 2nd option

You can park your car next to the gate and simply continue along the trail. This is almost flat without any significant gradient.

The total lengths starting from here is approximately 4,5 km

You will pass by a farm and the gate might be closed, however, there’s a stair provided.

provided stair in case the gate is closed

Directions

From Cork City Center take the N20 towards Mallow. Best way is to use Apple or Google maps.

If you want to join me for a walk or hike, please click here for guided walks in Co. Cork

Inchydoney Island

Overview over the walk

First things first:

As it is a beach walk, please take care of the following:

  1. Low tide isn’t only a recommendation here, because some parts of the walk might be flooded and in worst case impossible to be used. Though please have a look at the tides before you start to go there. A nice app that works for me perfectly fine is the app:
    for iOS: “Tide Times : “republic of ireland”
    for Android: “Tides Near Me”
  2. Where’s the wind coming from? The easier task is to have the wind in your back. Most of the times the wind is coming from the West. When you start at the beginning with the path to the right, you’ll have the wind in your back.
    As it is a circular walk you can decide, if you go around clockwise or anti-clockwise.
  3. On warm days it might be an unnecessary question if you want to put off your shoes and walk through parts of remaining mud, but on other days it might be essential. That’s why good walking shoes is the best insurance on this walk.
  4. There are several carparks available, but when it is busy this one is the best to avoid the crowds.

And now let’s go! It’s time to come out of the house after the new virus kept us inside for a long time.

Parking area left, small house right

When I parked the car, I was not sure which direction I should start with. But as I’m a 150% right hander, I intuitively went to the right. That it was the right decision, I found out later on that walk.

It starts comfortable on an old tiny road, which is also the approach to the Island House and Gardens.

You pass it by and walk up the hill. Once up the hill you have already a wonderful view to the beach.

A signpost to the beach

It isn’t that steep, but when you feel it is too steep for you, only slow down your pace. Once up the hill you have already a wonderful view to the beach.

Hold on to the right until you meet the road. Cross the road and walk to the left now until the road splits up on the Y-junction. Follow the street right down to the parking area and through the dunes to the beach.

The beach area is divided in 2 areas:
One in front of the hotel and one behind the hotel, separated by the cliff, but also connected by a few stairs.

Spend as much time on the beach as you want. It is one of the nicest beaches in County Cork or return another time only for the beach as such.

It’s not only beach

Stairs from beach to hotel car park

At the end of the first beach part take one of the stairs up, cross the parking area and take one of the walks down to the 2nd part of the beach.

Inchydoney beach

Before you go on, check the tide times. The water can return back faster than expected!

When you feel save to go on enjoy this beautiful beach walk. After the next corner the beach changes a bit and can be a bit challenging . It’s not everywhere simple sand. And it’s not always a stable underground.

Sometimes you can sink into the sand deeper than expected and also the muddy parts aren’t only muddy on the surface.

Birds, too, sink sometimes deeper

The other part of the beach

The last part of the beach walk

After 5 km you end up at the road again and now you have only 100m over the bridge to your car.

Most probably you first have to clean your shoes 🙂

Dirty shoes included

Directions

From Cork City take the N40 towards West Cork and leave at Exit 3 (Direction to Skibbereen and Bandon). Follow the the N71 until Clonakilty. It’s about 60 km or pretty much an hour to go.

Once arrived in Clonakilty take the 2nd exit on the first Rdabout to stay on the N71 and take on the 2nd Rdabout the 2nd exit to leave. Pass by the Railway Museum and follow the street. Take care the harbour is always on your left side. When the main street turns to the right, follow the tiny street to go straight on.

GPS: 51°36′14″ N  8°52′19″ W

If you want to join me for a walk or hike, please click here for guided walks in Co. Cork

Happy Christmas to you….

It was a wonderful summer! I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did.

Let’s enjoy Christmas now. Weather is seasonal and one calls it bad, the other accept it as it is.

Maybe you find the time to go out for a walk. Just get the head free for half an hour.

And then we will meet for longer walks in spring. Co. Cork has loads of possibilities.

I wish all my readers a peaceful Christmas and all the all the best for the 2020! I hope you will stay with me in future.

Elisabeth

Curragh woods, Co. Cork

This was my first walk nearby recommended by a friend. At the 15.December 2017 I was out there and it is wonderful.

Last weekend I was at Curragh woods again. It hasn’t lost any of its flair. This time I walked one of the trails completely. I can really recommend it. But with baby buggy it’s a bit exhausting, because it’s quite hilly. That’s why children should at least be able to walk well.

 

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Diagnosis: Atopic eczema

A stolen year of my life

Atopic eczema is basically not really life threatening.

It is more or less one of these skin disease which are annoying and depending on how much you are affected by. It can bring your lifestyle down to a point, where you have the feeling you don’t have the power to fight against it. Life is going on and changing all the time.  And if you are persistent enough, you will come out of this black hole you feel like trapped in.

What is atopic eczema?

It is the most individual skin disease ever. It very often starts in early childhood and vanishes when grown up. In some cases also adults are affected by chronically dry skin. Most frequent irritated areas are crook of the arms and back of the knees. However, it can also affect the whole body.

Mostly it can be easily treated with  cortisone tablets or cremes. If you are lucky, it helps on the first attempt and you can live symptom free for a long(er) period. My longest period was almost 20 years.

This disease as such isn’t completely understood, but in meantime researchers found out that it is linked to our immune system. Some genes seems to show mutations which influence our immune system. As result the immune system overreacts and causes these painful rashes.

My journey started again middle of 2013. After 20 years with only a few flare ups a year which were treated with cremes like the ones you can buy over the counter in your next pharmacy or with a short period of taking cortisone tablets, which requires a prescription by your doctor.

Now the flare ups came more frequent and were treated in the following months with a light therapy. It helped the first 2 years to bring me over the winter. In summertimes I mostly felt well. However, in August 2016 it flared up to an extent I never knew before. My skin dried out so quickly and constantly renewed.  It looked like a sunburn and peeled constantly. When I woke up in the mornings, my bed looked like a sandbox. I couldn’t creme that much to have a relief from the itchiness that came along with.

Because I already suffered from  a light osteoporosis they decided to treat me from now on with immunosuppressive.

At that point I had not slept more than 3 or 4 hours a night. I mentioned that regularly, but nobody was really interested in.

I never received that kind of medicine. I trusted my doctors. They have studied medicine, not me. November 2016 they prepared me for getting this therapy and found out during this process, that I suffer from latent tuberculosis.

From my family history I knew, that my dad had tuberculosis beginning of the 70ties. Family (my mum, my brother and me) was treated with the available drugs at that time which should be valid for lifetime.

However, to be on the safe side, I was referred to the specialist and they strongly recommended a treatment with Isoniazid. The most popular drug.

2 months before this treatment began, dermatology clinic has started to treat my skin disease with Methotrexate on 15mg weekly dose.

possible side effects:

„A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.“

Side effects 🙂 Me and side affects? I never had any problems in the past and so I won’t have any with these drugs. That was my naive believe.

I never ever have believed that side effects can be worse than your actual disease.

The result after a few months or so was devastating:

My skin condition turned into worse, I suffered from anxiety. I couldn’t work for about 3 weeks or so and I told the doctors, Isoniazid might not be the best treatment for me. I can’t stand 9 months suffering from anxieties. I never had in mind that the worse skin condition might be related to Methotrexate.

So Isoniazid was replaced by Rifampicin. A shorter treatment for 4 months and I couldn’t believe it can turn worse. Thank god the anxiety vanished after getting rid of Isoniazid. But again, in my sleep pattern nobody was interested in. When I mentioned it, I was referred to additional drugs, like Telfast or Phenergan.

Both reduces the itchiness, however, it hadn’t any effect on my sleep pattern. I slept until 1 or 2 am and then the odyssey started: half an hour here, 15 min there. At the end I had overall 3-5 hours, depending on how exhausted I was. But fresh and having had a good sleep? Dead loss!

But brave as I am, I went again to my workplace every single day.

The combination Rifampicin and Methotrexate turned my skin condition into worse. I couldn’t believe it can get worse, but it did. From that time I couldn’t work and was on sick leave for about 3 months.

Side effects Rifampicin amongst a whole list of others:

  • skin itching, rash, or redness

On a certain point the doctor offered me to take me into hospital to get the skin under control. Because of the severeness Methotrexate was replaced by Neoral (Cyclosporin) 300 mg. At this time my weight was 64 kg.

I have often cried for hours in pain, but to stay in hospital was no option for me. I had the strong belief when Rifampicin has ended, then everything turns into good.

End of July the day of my last pill of Rifampicin had come. Juhu!!! Now the time comes to climb the highest heights instead of staying in the deepest hole. And my skin condition was almost good. I started working again beginning of August. I felt well.

At the same time, dermatology clinic decided to halfen the dose of Cyclosporine. The intent was good, as kidneys might be affected on a longer use. I couldn’t expect how fatal this decision would be. The next follow up appointment was booked in dermatology clinic in 3 months time.

In the next 10 weeks or so, my skin condition worsened every day. And from middle of October 2017 I was again on sick leave. Beginning of November Cyclosporin was set again to 300 mg. Nothing changed. Also under the high dose my skin turned only very slow into better. From December the insurance agreed on a limited disability condition that allowed me to stay at home and concentrate on a suitable treatment.

End of February 2018 my skin was not good, but better, however, the blood results showed already that my kidneys are affected by the use of Cyclosporine.

I never will forget the appointment where the doctor told me:

„We will give you another 4 weeks before we have to change the medication.“

I couldn’t believe that it will go back to Methotrexate and this time with 20 mg. But from beginning of April I had to follow this plan. After 2 weeks on Methotrexate my hands flared extremely up on the inside that I wasn’t able to prepare something to eat or driving my car. I was dependent on my son’s helping hand.  My GP made an emergency appointment with the dermatology clinic, but when I attended this appointment my hands were good again. I showed them the pictures how my hands looked like, but it seemed it was not of interest. I also told them, that after taking the drug I’m 2 days not able to do anything. I couldn’t go for running errands, I couldn’t go for a walk. I was weak. I couldn’t eat the first 2 days. They only brought it in relation to nausea, but that was not the case. It’s hard to tell your problems and you have the feeling they aren’t interested in. Methotrexate is the cheapest drug, it can help with severe atopic dermatitis and so it has to help. They didn’t even take into consideration that all these might be related to side effects of Methotrexate.

I didn’t want to accept to be so helpless and so I searched for other options to support myself and my skin. I changed my daily cream to coconut oil. It was a good decision. Coconut oil reduces the itchiness. However, all the other cremes I needed a prescription for increased in strengths, but the impact on my skin was low.

And I changed my nutrition. I left wheat, milk and sugar behind me and thought it might bring at least a bit a relief. After 12 weeks I couldn’t notice the slightest change. I had lost 6 kg and was now down to 58 kg, but my skin was still extremely bad. My hands flared up in almost same severeness every 4 weeks. Barely I thought I can do a few things more, it flared up again.

I mentioned that again to the dermatologist but it was simply overheard. My week looked like following:

Monday: bad

Tuesday: bad, Methotrexate

Wednesday: bad, barely can’t eat, barely can’t do any activity, skin slightly better

Thursday: better

Friday: better

Saturday: slightly worse

Sunday: worse

After 5 months tortured with Methotrexate, they decided to change the treatment to Azathioprine. A light came up at the horizon.

I read the leaflet and thought: It can only come better. Hope is the last to die.

From day 4 on I suffered from severe nausea and diarrhoea. I lost 5 kg in 5 days. With 53 kg I panicked and stopped the treatment in agreement with my GP. My GP sent a letter (!!!! no email!, no, a letter) as he has no short cut to the specialists. My next appointment in dermatology clinic was 3 weeks later.  I did not ask for an emergency appointment, because I know what hassle it is for my GP to get an exception. He has to write a letter.

At the very beginning I thought the GPs are connected with the hospitals to get at least a 2nd opinion or help in emergency cases. No way. It must be done the old fashioned way. Writing a letter and post it. Welcome to 2018.

So I waited patiently for my appointment beginning of November. This time I had definitely no expectations. I was simply desperate. The insurance had told me in meantime I am fit for work and they won’t pay anymore. My savings were all gone and so I used my last available shares to come at least over the next weeks.

But this time I was lucky!

They told me, my atopic dermatitis is really hard to control, but we bring you back on track. We promise. (How often did they tell me this sentence in the last 15 months?)

I got a prescription and a leaflet for Cellcept. I had no idea what it is. It is definitely an immunosuppressive, which works almost in the same way like Azathioprine.

And I thought: Thank you…. I can’t afford to loose another 5 kg.

It turned out, that this drug is exactly what I need. It eliminates 99% of itchiness. That is already half way through. If I won’t suffer from any other unforeseen side effects, it is a last minute goal in the 92nd minute of extra time.

The whole last 15 months could have been shortened, if they had  skipped Methotrexate early enough. In my eyes there is no reason to torture somebody so long, only because it is the cheapest available drug.

HOWEVER, I’m back at work after a sheer odyssey and I’m alive.

Thank you to all who helped me to survive this almost darkest chapter of my life.

Bweeng Duff

Summer has ended and the short autumn goes almost seamlessly into an early winter. The temperatures are at least early in the morning really wintry. We have to get used to it, however, there are still so many sunny days which makes it easy to find the time to go for a walk.

It’s been a while ago that I shared a walk with you. For different reasons. But last weekend I met Conny near Bweeng (don’t ask me how that is pronounced!). It’s a wonderful area with hills, grassland and woodland. Continue reading

Glennagear Woods

In my eyes this summer has been the best since a long time. But all things come to an end and the unpredictable weather is back again in Ireland.

Does it keep us away from going out for a walk? Of course not! We have good shoes, good clothing and if the weather app shows a chance of 50% rain, the likelihood is given, that it won’t rain at all or only drizzle. County Cork and every 20 km a different weather. This was the initial situation that day.

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From Inchileigh to Ballydaly Upper

Have I ever been excited about the way markings on some hiking trails? Never before! This trail seems to be the famous exception to the rule. It’s so easy to follow the trail, you will never have the feeling to get lost and it’s fabulous.

However, you should be fit, because the trail is a bit demanding. It’s not suitable for buggies. Dog owners could struggle at the stiles here and there, depending on how good your dog deals with such difficulties. We managed every of these stiles, but it sometimes was a bit tricky.

Inchileigh, stiles to climb over

Hiking shoes are definitely recommended. With good shoes the hiking experience will be a good one.

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