Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Irish rock round-up 2013. AKA emerald allsorts #1

Posted in Rock Climbing, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 23, 2014 by Dr Dan Barrios-O'Neill

This little e-zine was born out of a love for rock climbing in Ireland.

It’s a fledgling attempt to capture the essence of happenings on the rocks of this island in 2013, or thereabouts. Please feel free to download it, share it, print it, or host it on your website. If you like what you see, or have any feedback, then let me know either via the poll, a post, or both.

That’s about it.


PDF copy here: EA#1

The first first since

Posted in Rock Climbing, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 11, 2013 by Dr Dan Barrios-O'Neill

Busy times, the busiest of my life in fact, meaning I have about 10 minutes of procrastination time to write this blog.

Since my daughter was born in July I’ve been flat out, its been amazing and exhausting in equal measure. Parents know this well, so I won’t labour the point, nor will I fill this post with photos of her…she’ll be a digital native, so I’m not sure she’ll appreciate her father filling up the public domain with slightly embarrassing baby photos.

During downtime I work on the PhD, which trundles on slowly but surely, and having a child has been galvanising to my productivity – I write like a man possessed whenever she naps. Climbing has rightly taken a bit of a back seat, but I am a cabin-feverous soul, so the wall in the back yard has provided some much-needed movement, and kept my motivation for all things ticking over. Getting out on rock has been very rare indeed, but like the PhD I’m highly motivated to make use of the little time I have, whenever I get the chance. So it was lovely to get a little project of mine done on Sunday morning, a long extension to a problem I first climbed years ago. I had tried the extension a few times previously, but manflu and wet holds hadn’t really given me the chance to ‘have at it’. Sunday was different – I used one of Deya’s nappies to dry out the wet hold, then swarmed up it after a quick warm up. Slightly warm autumnal sunshine, a light breeze, and cold rock. Perfect. Later that evening I found some old footage (not great) of the last first ascent I made before fatherhood and bunged it together with Sunday’s footage. For me they mark interesting waypoints in a rapidly changing life:

For those that are local to or interested in bouldering in the Cooleys the Mexico block offers a nice collection of short steep ups and pumpy links, well worth a visit I think. I wrote a quick topo to lubricate your enthusiasm:


An afternoon in Niagara Glen

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2013 by Dr Dan Barrios-O'Neill

I’m currently in Canada where I’ve been attending an annual international conference on invasive species; this year it was in Niagara Falls, which is quite the place. The falls themselves are beautiful, but the town left me feeling like I was trapped in a perpetual garish carnival. So, whilst the conference was more than worthwhile, I was glad to escape the town one afternoon to do a bit of bouldering, only down the road, but a whole world away.

Thumbing the wagon down

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2013 by Dr Dan Barrios-O'Neill

After rediscovering the pleasures of climbing on actual rocks, particularly untouched ones, my motivation to explore is well and truly back. Much of the legwork can now be done virtually; Google street view, Panoramio and Youtube are all brilliant tools but, as I’ve said in the past, the devil is in the details. So much rock holds superficial promise, but up close ends up giving no climbing, or terrible climbing.

So, when you find incredible unclimbed features amongst all the choss, the childish sense of excitement is difficult to suppress. Is this the biggest climbable roof in Ireland?


Given my current lack of fitness, and the greasy conditions I tried it in, it’s probably very doable with a little effort. The prospect of linking this is all the motivation I’ll ever need to get back on the wagon, and there’s only one crimp, so the gammy finger is no excuse.

I’ll be climbing 20 move power endurance roof problems on my home wall for the foreseeable.

Back to rock

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 7, 2013 by Dr Dan Barrios-O'Neill

Its been a long time coming, what with piles of PhD work, instructing, routesetting, finger injuries and blizzards, but I finally managed to get out on real rock last week. Had a wee dander to the Ring of Gullion to check out the potential for new routes – didn’t really find anything worthwhile, but I had a great day pottering about in the sunshine, and climbed some new problems in the process. Mostly, it was just nice to move over the rock and to remember what lichen smells like. Though I didn’t miss gorse, and all those little dry thorns that seem to accumulate in your socks. This crag may be of passing interest to locals, but probably not worth the visit otherwise…gotta love the Irish esoterica.

Do you have a fleg?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on December 13, 2012 by Dr Dan Barrios-O'Neill

All the current melodrama in Belfast, over what has become affectionately know as “de fleg”, reminded me of this bit of comedy insight from Eddie Izzard: