bouldering in Ireland


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Just a few photos from a nice evening up on Knocknagun a few weeks ago. For more info about Knocknagun check out the guide.

Tim Chapman getting to grips with Cyclops. Photo by Dave Flanagan.

Diarmuid Smyth on the arete to the right. Photo by Dave Flanagan.

Tim on the roof traverse Splodgedown on the Tor. Photo by Dave Flanagan.

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Bouldering BBQ Bulllock on 18th June

Michael Reardon on a highball arete in Bullock. Photo by Damon Corso.

On Thursday the 18th of June there will be a bouldering BBQ in Bullock Harbour (see the guide for more information about the climbing there) from six in the evening onwards. The BBQ will be provided but you need to bring your own food. This is a chance to check out some of the more esoteric deep (and not so deep) water solos, traverses and boulder problems. It will also be a good opportunity to clean up some of the rubbish left lying around so bring a black bag.



Peter Tom McMahon repeating his highball slab Bullet on a yet to be made public boulder in Wicklow.


Gap of Dunloe climbing meet 2009

Nigel Callender on the Jurgen Myers boulder in the Black Valley.

Juan O'Raw is organising a "Meet In The Gap" climbing meet will happen at the Gap of Dunloe, Killarney, Co. Kerry on the weekend of 17th-19th of April. Juan saids "....also to include slide shows, bbq and wild party, bogger style. Dont miss out!! BE THERE OR BE........A BUMBLY!!!"

There is plenty of climbing from bouldering to trad of all grades. There is camping accomodation available for a small fee at a golf course about 5 mins walk from the Gap. This is a great opportunity to check out the mint sandstone of the Gap and maybe find some new problems.

This event is being supported by Con Moriarty and Spórt Corrán Tuathail there is rumours of a pig...

Eoin Kennedy has written a comprehensive bouldering guide to the Gap and the Black Valley just in time for the meet. It includes details to over 70 problems and can be downloaded here: GapOfDunloe.pdf 2 MB



Updated bouldering guide to Ireland 2009

After another long battle the fourth edition of the guide is finally finished. The guide is 115 pages, contains just under 1500 problems and about 200 diagrams (maps and topos).

The first edition from Feburary '05 had 600 problems, the second from October '06 had 900, the third from March '08 had 1050, so the problems keep on coming.

This guide is intended to be reasonably definitive but just because something has been climbed doesn't mean it is worth documenting so I haven't detailed every variation, elimate, lowball sitstart or squeezed in micro line. From a personal point of view I attach the highest value to logical, independent lines with good moves and good landings and every problem that fits this criteria is described. Though I welcome other opinions on omissions and inclusions.

The next version of the guide shall be a Glendo only update as its the most popular bouldering area in Ireland and there is a lot more bouldering to describe there.

The following areas have been added to the fourth edition :

  • The Scalp, Dublin - there is now about 50 problems detailed here.
  • The White Bog, Cooleys, Louth - new area with 20 problems.
  • Turlough Forest, Wicklow - another new area with 35 problems.
  • Glendasan, Wicklow - not a new area but there are almost a dozen new boulders and 30 new problems described now.
  • Bullock Harbour, Dublin - new topo which details about 50 problems and solos.

To download the guide right click and select "Save Target As..."

guide4.pdf 6.9 MB

Huge thanks to all who contributed. Comments, corrections and feedback welcome on the message board.

2009 Irish Bouldering Meet report

By Dave Flanagan and Peter Tom McMahon.

Photo by Nils O'Dwyer.

This years meet was blessed with great spring weather and excellent bouldering conditions with bright sunshine and the strong wind. The attendance was good with a decent number staying over in the hut. In spite of pretty late nights nearly everyone was up good and early driven out of bed by the sunshine. There was a good mix of locals and visitors (from as far away as Sweden and the US). Most of the classic problems got some attention, the nu wave classic highball Rhythmn and Stealth had two ascents. On Sunday there was a bit of exploring done and a few new problems were done high up in the scree near Permadry.

A big thanks to all who made the effort to come and a special thanks to to the MCI, the IMC for the use of the hut and Wicklow National Park without all of whom the meet couldn't happen.

And now over to theshortspan roving correspondant Peter Tom McMahon:

I met them in the Hotel, Sloper made some barrier joke and I didn’t laugh, I asked him to explain it later, and a forgotten insignificant moment of my 29 years was regaled back, in HD. And we all drank merrily and it was hell raising craziest shit that this bar room ever saw. And David was there and Michael who had just fathered a foetus and Tim and John and Ramzees and Barracuda and Johnny two hands and Bill and Ted and The KGB and the RFUCK.

And then we rocked.

Some rocked harder than others.

I did sweet all, I was too unfit, I was a fake human.

So when we were returned to our IMC quarters I took it to the furthest-out level and washed up some dishes, and young hop along Alan did bake the tastiest Burgers, he’d carried 27 Kilograms of ground beef(what do you call a cow with no legs) all the way from the city beyond the valley, and he brought bags of thyme from Israel and mustard from England and some chick played the Eucalayle and wore corduroy jeans and Ireland kicked ass and Heaslip held his hand triumphantly as he made for the try, like Harry held the crux of Best Buzz Ever before summiting from the sitting start.

I took it to “no law no limit” extremes and demonstrated to a girl from new England a new and speedy way to cast on, and I showed the leader of the short span meet, the pearl and the plain stitch.

And the band played waltzing Matilda. And in any insignificant instant the good lord could strike any one of us with a technicolour lightning bolt to the skull, reaching to touch the Earth, through the neck bone to the ankle bone, into the molten iron core of the spherical planet and that would be that and the circle would begin again, in the after shock of an electric orgasm in a land before time, and the conception would rise up through the phase of zygote.

Ehh yeeaahh. For more of Ped's musings check out

More photos: Mark Hand's.


Bouldering Meet this weekend

The Bouldering Meet is this weekend. See below for details. The weather forecast is looking reasonable. If the weather is showery we will probably end up playing it safe and going to Glendalough both days.

"Friday: Windy tonight, with rain becoming more widespread, and turning heavier in places too. Clearer drier weather spreading into the west and south later. Strong south to southwest winds, veering west to northwest later tonight and early tomorrow, with local gusts to 80 - 100 km/h at that stage. Lows 6 to 9 C.
Sunday: Strong winds gradually moderating tomorrow. Early rain in the north and east clearing during the morning and early afternoon - mainly dry otherwise, with sunny spells and just perhaps the odd light shower. Highs 9 to 12 C.Saturday night will be dry and rather cold, with a slight frost developing under clear skies. Some mist or fog patches will also develop as westerly winds fall off light. Lowest temperatures 0 to 5 degrees, coolest across eastern counties.
Sunday: A little milder on Sunday with some good sunny spells at first. However cloud will gradually increase, and though most areas will remain dry and bright, some occasional rain will affect north and northwest fringes later in the day. Highest temperatures 9 to 11 degrees generally, in a mainly moderate southwesterly breeze."

Irish Bouldering Meet 2009

Photo by Grzegorz Bajson

The Sixth Annual Irish Bouldering Meet will be on the weekend of Friday 13th to Sunday 15th March based in the I.M.C Hut in Glendasan Country Wicklow.

The Hut has cooking facilities and bunks/wooden platforms (you will need a sleeping bag and something soft to lie on - bouldering mat?) for about 40 people on a first come first served basis. If the hut fills up there is plenty of room to camp in the garden (It can get a bit noisy in the hut so those looking so a quiet nights sleep might be better considering camping also). Either way the cost is €10 per night (please pay me as early as possibile on the weekend).

In recent years we have gone to Glendalough on the Saturday and Glenmacnass on the Sunday but the exact plan this year will depend on the weather.

Come along, the weekend is a great laugh and is a good chance for to meet up with your fellow climber and do some great bouldering.

We hope to have a lecture on the Saturday evening, details to be announced.

You can download a larger verison of the poster to put up at your local climbing wall or anywhere it might be seen.









Would you credit that?

Dermot Smith and PedMcMahon on the The Tank, Crolly, Donegal. Photo by David Flanagan.


Updated bouldering guide to Ireland 2008

Dave Flanagan on an unclimbed problem in Fraughan Rock Glen, Glenmalure, Wicklow. Photo by Ped McMahon.

After a long battle the third edition of the guide is finally finished. The guide is almost 100 pages, contains over 1050 problems and about 150 diagrams (maps and topos). The first edition from Feburary '05 had 600 problems and the second from October '06 had 900. I have redrawn the vast majority of the maps and diagrams.

This guide is intended to be reasonably definitive but just because something has been climbed doesn't mean it is worth documenting so I haven't detailed every variation, elimate, lowball sitstart or squeezed in micro line. From a personal point of view I attach the highest value to logical, independent lines with good moves and good landings and every problem that fits this criteria is described.

The following areas have been added to the third edition :

  • Doochary, Donegal.
  • Fanad Head, Donegal.
  • Glenmalure, Wicklow.
  • Stonecutters Glen, Wicklow.
  • Doolin, Clare.

In future the guide will be updated more often as some of the areas new to this edition had been discovered over a year ago. The next edition will hopefully contain updated guides to Glendo, The Scalp, Gap of Dunloe/Black Valley topos, Cooleys and Carrigshouk for starters.

To download the guide right click and select "Save Target As..."

guide3.pdf 3.7 Mb

Huge thanks to all who contributed. Comments, corrections and feedback to the message board.

Bouldering news: July 2008


Michael Duffy on Switch, Scalp. Photo by Mark Hand.

Michael Duffy has climbed an 8a boulder problem in the Scalp called Switch. It's a steep roof and "very good". Its seem the Co-op is starting to bear fruit. Michael has done a good few new hard problems in the Scalp and is working on a guide at the moment.


Jamie Mulhall on Too Itchy, Glendasan. Photo by Ciaran Mulhall.

Ciaran Mulhall along with Jamie Mulhall, Joe King and Calliam Johnson have climbed about a dozen new problem just below the mining village in Glendasan, Wicklow. Check out the new problem database for full details of all the problems.

Ciaran Mulhall on Ron Burgandy Arete, Glendasan. Photo by Ciaran Mulhall.

Rive Slabs Boulder, Glendasan. Photo by Ciaran Mulhall.

Gap of Dunloe, Black Valley

Christine Pilo on Escape Artist, Gap of Dunloe. Photo by Damon Corso.

Damon Corso on the Bone Yard Arete
Black Valley. Photo by Damon Corso.

Damon Corso and Christina Pilo repeated the sit start to Bone Yard Arete in the Black Valley thinking it was around 7b. They also did a new highball in the Gap about 50 meters to the right of the Watchtower boulder (note access issue is sensitive in this area of the Gap) there is a tall (20+ feet) face called it Escape Artist about 6b+.

Dave Flanagan on The Corner, Murvery. Photo by Jenny Halford.

Roundstone, Connemara

Dave Flanagan and Ped McMahon did some exploring of the coast near Roundstone, Connemara. With a little help from aerial photos we found some good climbing in two areas. The rock is excellent granite (similar to that of North West Donegal but not at all sugary), the climbing is mostly soloing/deep water soloing but there is a good bit of bouldering also. Murvey is the most extensive area, walk in about 5 minutes and Gurteen is smaller but in similar style.

View Larger Map

It's a pretty hidden away place and as I wandered around I assumed that no one had ever climbed there before only to walk around the corner and see this beautiful granite wall, about 25 foot high, above a deep pool of water with loads of chalk on it. It must of been recently as the waves/rain would have washed the chalk away otherwise, if this was your chalk post up on the message board.

New problem database

I have added a new problem database

Now we have one central place to record and store all first ascents (for better or worse). Please add any new problems you do in the future or have done in the past. Post on the message board if you have any problems using it.

New bouldering in the Black Valley, Kerry

Eoin Myers on the unclimbed sitting start to the arete of the
Bone Yard Boulder. Photo by Damien O'Sullivan.

Kevin O'Leary.
Photo by Damien O'Sullivan.

In Spring 2007 Damien O'Sullivan, Eoin Kennedy, Hugh Henessey and Mick Walsh did some great new bouldering in the Black Valley in an area called Flash Dance. The further potential was obvious and last weekend they went back with Eoin Myers, Kev O' Leary and Steph Stariha. Damien reports

"The boulders did not disappoint. The rock is of good quality, there is a broad range of difficulties and the setting is amazing. We only rubbed the dust covering the surface, not even going so far as to scratch it."

The walk in is about ten minutes. The boulders may be on private property and you definitely cross private property to get to them. Directions here.

These new problems combined with the established bouldering in the Gap of Dunloe make this part of Kerry a very worthwhile bouldering destination. My plan at the moment is to organise a gathering of boulderers in the Gap, similar to the meet in Wicklow, for the June Bank holiday weekend.

More of Damo's photos are here.

Kerry sandstone. Photo by Damien O'Sullivan.

2008 Irish Bouldering Meet report

By Dave Flanagan and Peter Tom McMahon.

Tim Chapman on some slopey holds. Photo by Mark Hand.

The forecast was mixed for the weekend of the meet but I think for once it was dried than expected. Saturday started well and was dry til around 3 when the drizzle descended. There was a reasonable number of boulderers out, maybe 40 and there was opportunity for everyone to get a bit done.

The weather on Sunday was much better and with an early start we managed to get a nice bit done in Glendo in good conditions and even some sun. The attendance was definitely down on recent years maybe because the forecast wasn't great. However it's worth noting that there been some climbing done on every meet so far. Anyway the meet will be back next year.

A big thanks to all who made the effort to come and a special thanks to to the MCI, the IMC for the use of the hut and Wicklow National Park without all of whom the meet couldn't happen.

Peter Tom McMahon wrote the following report of the weekend:

I purchased the Irish Times on Wedensday from the Polish girl in the newsagent. There was a cloud in the box forecasting the weather for the coming weekend. On Friday night i drove to the cabin in the woods. When i arrived Tom was talking about Dwarf Pornography and according to the Kaleidoscope in my mind the psilocybin was kicking in. So i left for solitude and a stroll before the introspection became paranoid and annoying. I walked to the graveyard and lay in a bush by a tombstone.

Returning to the cabin; I met the troops in headtorch headgear heading for the Glendaloch Hotel. So i turned in my heels and joined their merry parade. They played pool with the natives and music on the jukebox. I sat by the fire and watched the fire and thought it a warm lovely picture.

We returned to the cabin and spoke a conversation full of gags. I lit a fire and slept by the fire and a log fell out and nearly gave me a nasty injury. In the morning some had breakfast in the cabin, others in the cafe and some went straight to the rocks. We walked toward the waterfall and gathered by Big Jim and Jane.

Along the way i shared the local lore with two lovely Polish girls and regaled them with my memory of the endless night in Kevin's bed. We climbed. The rain came and we returned to the Hotel for tea crumpets and scones and there i found a paperclip by the bar to replace the broken zip on my raincoat.

The weather was drizzling. Returning to the cabin; Dave and I stopped by a lovely Rock in the forest. It was dry and difficult. We spent near an hour and a half working the right side arete. Then it was dark. In the cabin i ate chicken burgers and bacon. The troops gathered and we drank and talked and slept.

In the morning we returned toward the waterfall into the valley. The weather was very nice, the climbing conditions excellent the craic mighty but i had to leave early to catch a Mother's Day lunch appointment in the Yacht Club.

Updated bouldering guide to Ireland

Ped McMahon on the Annalecka boulder that was
recently found by Seamus Crowley.
Photo by Dave Flanagan.

Finally the second edition of the bouldering guide is finished. Containing more than 900 problems (300 more than the first edition) from all over the country north, south, east and west. It's designed to be downloaded and printed off and brought out to the boulders. Feedback, comments and information about new areas welcome via the contact page.

Thanks to all who contributed.

The following areas have been added to edition 2:

  • UPDATED Portrane, Dublin.
  • UPDATED Glendasan, Wicklow.
  • NEW Cloghogue, Wicklow.
  • NEW Toit le Cul de Clare, Clare.
  • NEW The Chief, Derryrush, Galway.
  • NEW Gap of Dunloe, Kerry.
  • NEW Mullaghdoo, Donegal.
  • NEW Malin Beg, Donegal.
  • NEW Muckross Head, Donegal.
  • NEW Fairhead, Antrim.

Right click and select "Save Target As..."

.doc 4.6 Mb

.pdf 3.5 Mb



Irish Bouldering Meet 2008

The Fifth Annual Irish Bouldering Meet will be on the weekend of Friday 29th Febuary to Sunday 2th March based in the I.M.C Hut in Glendasan Country Wicklow.

The Hut has cooking facilities and bunks/wooden platforms (you will need a sleeping bag and something soft to lie on) for about 40 people on a first come first served basis. If the hut fills up there is plenty of room to camp in the garden (It can get a bit noisy in the hut so those looking so a quiet nights sleep might be better considering camping also). Either way the cost is €7.50 per night (please pay me as early as possibile on the weekend).

In recent years we have gone to Glendalough on the Saturday and Glenmacnass on the Sunday but the exact plan this year will depend on the weather.

Come along, the weekend is a great laugh and is a good chance for to meet up with your fellow climber and do some great bouldering.

You can download a larger verison of the poster to put up at your local climbing wall or anywhere it might be seen.

Google ads are gone

I have removed the Google Ads from the site, they didn't generate much money, not enough for that house in Font anyway, and were a bit of an eyesore. Thanks to all who clicked on them.

Underdeveloped Review

Finally this long awaited film is out. Featuring trad, deep water soloing and bouldering in the Burren, Fairhead and the Mournes. While not a professional production the climbing is well filmed usually from two angles and often from an ab rope. There are a few shakey shots but they never detract from the climbing. The pacing and editing is excellent, particularly in the intro and outro.

Ricky Bell on Faith, Burren.

Photo by Paul Hiller.

The granite in the Mournes looks great all beautiful round shapes and curves. The incredibly slopey holdless smeary crux and resulting slide from Mushroom Boyz is one of the highlights of the film as are the delicate starting slab/smearing moves solo above a terrible landing on Crystal Methods.

The bridge jumping chapter is great, it breaks up the climbing nicely and goes on just long enough. Ditto the rock paper siscors tournament atop the cliffs of the Burren.

On Stigmata Ricky's forearms bulge alarmingly as he crimps his way up the overhanging corner. Paul Swail climbs Siren and tops out to a round of applause from onlooking tourists. The plum vertical Faith shows us exactly what an E7 looks like, how small the holds are, how sustained the climbing is and how sparse the gear. The Power Of The Hobo is a beautiful black prow overhanging the sea. Ricky solos it and promptly jumps from the top.

Ricky's ascent of The Complete Scream in Fairhead is the climax of of the film. The chopping of the bolt and the placing of a tenious looking sling held in place with duct tape underline the seriousness of this climb. The history of The Complete Scream echoes that of another historic trad climb across the Irish Sea on the side of Snowdonia called Indian Face. Both routes were sullied by bolts but are now long and complicated incredabily bold lines up the middle of huge faces.

The music is varied and is the sountrack is the best I have heard in a climbing film.

Often the extras on a DVD are just padding but in this case none of the climbing in the extras would of been out of place in the main film. The slideshow of Paul Hiller's photos (see is excellent. I would of liked to see more bouldering but I would say that.

Ricky Bell on Thrill Issues, Mournes. Photo by Paul Hiller.

At the end of the film Ricky saids:

"Underdeveloped started life as a collection of home videos and after 2 year of filming and 2 years of editing thats effectively what it still is. We tried to maintain the humility of the original videos. This film is not about glossy production, its not about hard climbs and its not about big ticks, its just about climbing in Ireland"

This is a great film. Buy it from

Now where did I leave that rope and rack...

Route List


  • Mushroom Boyz E7 6c
  • Idlewild E6 6b
  • Crystal methods E8 6c
  • Tolerence E8 6c

The Burren

  • Jokerman E6 6b
  • Stigmata E6 6b
  • Siren E3 5c
  • Faith E7 6c
  • Unknown.
  • The power of the hobo E7 6c.


  • A bad skin day. E7 6c.
  • GBH E3 6a
  • Wall of Prey E5 6b
  • Styx E6 6c
  • Halloween E5 6b
  • The complete scream, E8 6b.


  • We're all learning E7 6c, Mournes.
  • Thrill issues of the jelly man E7 6c
  • Eazy now E6 6c
  • The Happiness that hurts E7 6c, Burren.
  • Fairhead bouldering.
  • Mournes bouldering.
  • Glendalough bouldering.

Super 8 film

For about a year I took the my Super8 camera out climbng with me, waited for the best light and drove everyone mad making them repeat problems one more time for another angle and moving bags out of the background.

Every few weeks I would send a finished roll to Switzerland to be developed. So after ten rolls, I had twenty five minutes of film which I got transferred using a very expensive telecine machine to DVD, I then threw it all together on Window Movie Maker. And here it is in it's scratched, over exposed, under exposed and blurry glory.

Right click and "Save target as..." to download.

Bouldering news November 2007

Derryrush, Galway

John Harrison and Derek Carmody have done a few new problems in Derryrush, Connemara. They did Aracnaphobia 6b on the Yosemite boulder which is marked as a project on the current topo and 3 problems on the backside of the Barn boulder, Castlemaine XXX 6b, Wallabie 6b and Bubbalicious 5.

Derek Carmody on Wallabie, Derryrush
Photo by John Harrison.

Eddie Barbour on a yet to be finished traverse.
Photo by Paul Swail.

Robert Hunter.
Photo by Angela Carlin.

Cooleys, Louth

Paul Swail and friends have been some exploring in the Cooleys. Paul is working on a topo at the moment.

Gritstone, Fermanagh

It seems the fabled gritstone of Fermanagh is receiving some attention again. I found the picture to the right on Neals McQuaid's post on the Geared Up blog but haven't been able to find anything more about it so apologies.

Annalecka, Wicklow

A lot of the trees in Annalecka have been cut down recently. This has opened up the place and it is now a much more pleasant place to climb, the views are good and the rock will dry much faster.

Portrane, Dublin

Pierre Fuentes and Dec Tormey have been filled in a few gaps in the Alley.

Gap of Dunloe, Kerry

Damien O'Sullivan has done about 25 new problems on the boulders below the Main Face in the Gap, up to 6b.

Nigel climbed the highball Under the Red Sky at 6cish and One 7a+ which is a steep and technical roof in the Watchtower area. Marcel (from Slovakia) did a new line starting on a jug left of problem 13 in the roadside area and joining it at the top of the overlap, about 6c. Kate Forrester did a left hand line up the massive slab (problem 16 in the topo) it starts in the cave from sitting and finishes directly up the slab at about 6a.

Eoin Kennedy in the Gap.
Photo by Damien O'Sullivan

Nigel on Under the Red Sky, 6cish in the Gap.
Photo by Nigel Callender.

Black Valley, Kerry

Damien O'Sullivan, Eoin Kennedy, Mick Walsh and Hugh Henessey have done some good bouldering in the Black Valley at the foot of the Reeks. They have climbed about 20 problems, the rock is 'great quality' sandstone and required little cleaning. The boulder are either side of the waterfall at the back of the valley, the left side in particular has plenty more potential.

Rocky Bay, Cork

Paul Harrington has developed some bouldering in Rocky Bay, Cork.

John Harrison bouldering in the cave in Fanore.
Photo by John Harrison

Fanore, Clare

John Harrison discovered a new roof near the road in Fanore that is climable on in the rain. However it does suffer some seepage in the winter. It's behind the church in Fanore, exit the church carpark and head up the hill..

Doolin, Clare

Nigel Callender has climbed two new problems in Doolin, marked as projects in the Doolin guide. Night follows day is 7c and is basically a full travese of the Fireworks block starting from sitting on a good hold 1.5m left of the arete and finishes as for Fireworks. He also climbed The longest year 7a+ in the Base Camp area.

Nigel on Doolin's hardest problem Night follows day
Photo by Grzegorz Florek

Al Millar on Monkey Business at Fanad Head.
Photo by Dave Millar

Bridge Boulder at Doochary.
Photo by Dave Millar

Fanad Head, Donegal

Geoff Thomas, Peter Cooper, Dave Millar and Al Millar have done a dozen new problems at two areas (Ballyhoorisky Point and Rinboy Point) on Fanad Head, Inishowen. The problems are on coarse granite outcrops above a pebble beach.

Doochary, Donegal

Dave Millar has developed a half dozen boulders centered on the town of Doochary. All close to the road.


The long anticipated UnderDeveloped (Trailer.mpeg 12 Mbs) is having a launch showing at the Queens Film Theatre in Belfast on the 17th of Nov at 2.30pm then a piss up at the Kitchen Bar at 8pm. Tickets we'll be available from this Monday at Cotswald Outdoors or mail Ricky Bell at and he will sort you out if you can't get to cotswalds.

All the new stuff will be added in to the next version of the guide which will be finished at the start of December.

Thanks to everyone who sent in some news, if anyone has any corrections or additions get in touch.

Board of UCD?

Michael Duffy is looking for people to join a bouldering wall co-op much like the famous school in Sheffield

The School in Sheffield.

Over to Michael:

As you already know the lack of decent indoor bouldering facilities in Ireland is appalling. Until decent training facilities exist it will be impossible for people to achieve the high climbing standards seen in other countries. In Wicklow alone there are countless high calibre problems still to go, and to be blunt, we do not have the standard of climbers (as there are no facilities) to climb them. Over the years numerous home boards have come and gone, with the only reliable facilities being the universities, and these are a joke. As is our weather. I did more indoor training last summer than I climbed outside. Training is a year round thing.

A space has become available in South Dublin which is ideal for housing a bouldering venue. Taking the School Room in Sheffield as an example, a group of people share responsibility for what is essentially their wall. A co-op, where everyone has an input.

The possibilities of the venue are discussed below, but the over riding factor is that this will be the best (only!?) dedicated training facility in Ireland, and with every member owning a key, means access is 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.


Maxwell Lane, Off Maxwell Road, Rathgar / Rathmines, Dublin 6, South Dublin City. Workshop to let. Located in a well respected area. 10min cycle from UCD.

Building - current

  • Workshop Lock up - 65msq (11.5m x 5.6mx 4.5m high)
  • Toilet
  • Kitchen Area
  • Parking
  • Phone lines
  • Alarm
  • 3 Phase Power/Storage heating/Secure building

As this is a co-op, everything will be discussed and agreed by all members. What follows is only a suggestion to what is currently possible:


  • 125msq min climbing area
  • At least 15 people can climb at any one time
  • Maximum of 4.5m above the landing surface
  • Stretching space
  • Seating space
  • Storage space
  • Fridge, Kettle, Stereo, Heating, W/C, Drinking water, Hot water


  • 6m long x 5m wide 45° board
  • 6m long x 4m wide convex (20 – 60°) curved board
  • 70m2 of vertical, off vertical, roofs, and arêtes
  • Campus board
  • Size of boards and circuit lengths means that endurance/stamina is also catered for


It would be suggested that a good mix of grades and permanent set vs regular rotated sets of problems be set.

The permanent problems could be set by visiting climbers. Current suggestions are Pat Nolan, Siobhan Coughlan, Andy Harris, Al Williams and Zippy. Also, with the Bouldering meet coming up next month, it is suggested that an after (problem setting) party could be held as international climbers of a high standard will be around in Dublin. The rotating problems could be set by any member / visitor who proves their problem is good enough as well as Ronan Browner, Chris Rooney, Howard Hebblethwaite and Michael Duffy. (All of which have set IBL competitions over the last decade.)

The Nitty Gritty

The cost of rent is €900.00/month which is very cheap for something of this size and flexibility in such an area. We estimate approx. €50-60/month for electricity and heating costs. As regards insurance, each member would have to sign a disclaimer. You climb at your own risk.

For this venue to work we would need about 20 people to pay approx. €10 a week each (cost of 2 pints) for a 1 year period (To cover the annual lease). If more people express an interest the numbers can grow and the price would drop. Included in this price would the heating and electricity bills. After the first year, members could then decided to join up for the next year or not, no strings attached. As the property could go tomorrow, places are on a first come basis. We therefore need to know asap if people are interested as well as any suggestions which may push this on further. You can contact me via email at or on 087 9097133.

There will have to be a joining up fee of approx. €50 per member for construction fee’s, and as it is a co-op, members would have an input into the design, from the boards to the problems. Currently we already have 7 boxes of holds, fixtures and fittings and enough plywood / timber and matting to get going.

I am currently in discussion with Pat Nolan of King Kong Climbing Walls as regards design and construction but we need to know if people are interest before pursing any further.

In a nutshell it’s as simple as that. This could be the best bouldering facility in Ireland but it needs 1 years commitment by at least 20 people. Please don’t let this opportunity pass.

All the best

Boulders from the sky
The Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources has done an aerial survey of the coastline of the Republic, it is accessible from this website. So is this the end of tramping around in the rain looking for the next Portane of Aughrish Head? Probably not but is is definitely handy for figuring out where is worth a look and where isn't.

Carrickfin, Donegal on the left and Bullock Harbour, Dublin on the right.

Wormhole, Inishmore, Galway on the left and Aughrish Head, Sligo on the right.

Doolin, Clare.

The website has a stern warning about copyright and reproducing their material. Funnily enough if you right click and view source on the webpage it saids:

" Copyright (c) 2001 - 2007 Province of British Columbia, Canada All Rights Reserved
This material is owned by the Government of British Columbia and protected by copyright law. It may not be reproduced or redistributed in whole or in part without the prior written permission of the Province of British Columbia. "

On the topic of aerial photos I think it is worth mentioning Google Maps/Earth. Most of Wicklow and Commemara is now in high resolution making it possible to spot individual boulders and outcrops. Unfortunantly Glendalough isn't in high res yet.

A big boulder somewhere in Wicklow.

Here are links to some areas covered by Google Maps:

Doolin bouldering: sample chapter from upcoming Burren guide

Guidebook produced Peter Owens has released an advance preview of the new Burren and Aran Islands guide. The chapter on Doolin bouldering by Grzegorz Florek looks great and is real leap forward in terms of style for an Irish guidebook.

The full guidebook will be an A5 full colour production similar in layout to the Doolin PDF and is due out in early 2008. Peter is still looking for some more high quality leading photos for the guide so please go through your collection and if you have anything suitable get on to Peter at Also if you have done any new routes this summer, and not been on to him already send on the details.

Right click and select "Save Target As..." to download the guide
.pdf 4.3 MB.

Michael Reardon

Photos by Peter Tom McMahon and Dave Flanagan.

As you have probably heard by now American climber Michael Reardon has been missing since Friday evening when he was swept by a rogue wave from the foot of a crag on Valentia Island in Kerry. I was lucky enough to meet and climb with Michael in Bullock Harbour just two weeks ago and will remember him as a really friendly and enthusiastic guy who tore around Bullock waxing lyrical.

Lan Mara.

Scoping out a traverse.

Right crack.

Steep and Leaningful (FA).

I first met Michael at his slideshow in Westwood last winter after which I felt I had a much better understanding of his climbing, prior to it I had just assumed he was another of those slightly insane free soloist but in his slideshow Michael made it quite clear that this wasn't the case, by never doing anything he couldn't reverse, knowing when to back off and doing every move static he left as little as possible to chance. After climbing with Michael it was obvious why free soloing was his climbing style of choice, he was so full of energy and enthusiasm I don't think any other approach would of fed his rat.

Anyway that evening in Bullock Michael did a few first ascents on the steep headland south of the main climbing area, the pick of the bunch was the direct line up the middle of the very steep wall called Steep and Leaningful. Michael was also very taken by the deep roof south of the main area and I though it might be nice to refer to this as Reardon's Roof.

Always the poser.

Corner (FA).

Last route of the day.

Checking out the roof.

I know Michael would have had a huge impact on Irish climbing yet it wasn't to be. Our loss. Michael had been writing a blog for and his last entry is about the first half of his visit to Ireland. Here are Michael's thoughts after his first and second visits to Ireland. For more background on Michael check out his website

Condolences to all Michael's family and friends.

Wormhole, Inishmore

Over the May bank holiday weekend a group of us went to Inis Mor and visted the Wormhole and climbed the usual problems. However the tide was low and the sea was relatively calm so we were able to climb on the cliff just above the Wormhole itself. This is the first time out of 4 vists I have seen it in condition. The problems are excellent, all slightly highball and vertical with very clearly defined holds. Well worth a look.

Tim Chapman in the Wormhole. Photos by Dave Flanagan.

Annalecka/Wicklow Gap photos

Diarmuid Smyth on two very nice problems in the forest at Annalecka.

This new(?) boulder is on the hillside near Glanekeera. The line Diarmuid is on is a project, the arete to the left goes on either side and there is an excellent slopey topout problem further to the right.

Photos by Dave Flanagan.

Polldoo Glen

The right line on the Butterbean starts from a good
sidepull and finishes with a horrendous mantle.

Polldoo Glen is in the Bluestacks Mountains, County Donegal. Download the guide for details of the problems and directions on how to get there.

While getting lost on route to Polldoo we managed to spot some huge looking boulders in the distance in the valley south east of Polldoo. However the lack of a decent map doomed us to drive a few small roads where the hills have eyes and then give up. There always seems to be unfinished business nowadays which is no bad thing.

Spring is the ideal time to visit Polldoo as in the summer the midgies can be fearsome and its pretty exposed, boggy and rainy part of the world in the winter.

If anyone has any updates or comments on Polldoo could they please contact me. I would be especially interested to hear if anyone has climbed on the slab boulder below or done any problems on the Butterbean.

Photos by Petertom McMahon, Diarmuid Smyth and Dave Flanagan.




The magnificent Echo Rock. Though technically roadside as it's five minutes from the car, it feels like deep in the middle of nowhere. It's a long drive up and down a rough forestry road to get there.

Past the Butterbean is an excellent campsite on the tiny natural pier of Cronloughan.

This boulder which is slightly right (facing uphill) of Split Rock has three great slab problems.

This is the left hand line on the Butterbean which requires a considerable amount of feel to get up. Descend by jumping down onto a pad.

Split Arete on Echo Rock, in the background is Glascarns Slabs. Split Arete is a classic highball slopey arete, the first few moves are probably the hardest the rest is just a building crescendo as the ground recedes and the pump proceeds.

The Pabbbage Catch boulder at dawn.

Bull Head bouldering

Over the Easter weekend Michael O'Dwyer and family stumbled across some new bouldering in an area called Bull Head just outside Dingle in Kerry.

The rock is very solid Old Red Sandstone with lots of edges (see the GSI geology of Ireland map here). Michael saids that most of the problems don't top out as the cliffs are often high with soil cornices however the landings are sandy.

Here is a link to a Google Map with directions to the bouldering

Photos by Michael O'Dwyer and family.

A good walk spoiled

Seamus Crowley's problem Sadhbh Wars goes just
left of the tree. There is a futuristic ie. impossible
dyno up the shallow groove to the right of the tree.

by David Flanagan.

Mark Twain said "golf was a good walk spoiled". I know where he is coming from about golf but for me a walk needs some alterior motive as a walk for it's own sake can seem a little pointless. Don't worry I'm aware of the irony of a boulderer calling anything else pointless.

For anyone who wants to combine a nice walk and some great bouldering the area south of Wicklow Gap is to be recomended. For further information on these boulders download the guide.

Annlakecka is a new area just off the Wicklow Gap road that has been developed by Seamus Crowley over the last few months after lots of hard cleaning. There are a few boulders but the climbing is mostly on cliff edges of various heights spread through the forest. The rock is very rough with large chunks of quartz. Happily it is less than five minutes walk from the road. Seamus is working on a guide at the moment. Aren't you Seamus?

The starting holds on Sadhbh Wars.

The lads looking for boulders under the pylons that go from Turlough Hill down to Blessington. While this boulder had no problems on it, just down river are two boulder with some resonable problems to be done.

Looking up Glanakeera Valley towards Turlough Hill. Glanakeera means "the valley of the sheep or ewes" and is also spelt Glenakeeragh. Coincidentially there is an article in the latest issue of Walking World Ireland about a walk called the Glenekerragh loop.

On the right skyline is a band of cliffs with some rock awaiting the attention of an adventerous boulderer.

The central and unclimbed line on the Glanakeera boulder is easy up to the big jug then gets very blank. In the Winter the sheets of plastic are nessacary to keep the pads dry.

Yellow Snow is the excellent flake/arete line on this boulder to the right of the Glanakeera Boulder.

Diarmuid rubbing his hands with glee before trying his problem Crack Cradle 6a+ which goes from the good break to a small hold in a rather dynamic fashion. Some spanner has written their initals on the rock in chalk.

The left hand side slab on the Glanakeera Boulder. Out of sight around the corner is an excellent mantel problem.

This boulder is in the valley below Art's Cross and was found thanks to a tip off from TheShortSpan's roving correspondent (Our man in Aghavannagh) Sé O'Hanlon. The sunlit face is about 16 foot high. The right arete is the outstanding line but it will take a bit of doing as it's about an hour's walk from the road, needs a good clean and will be quite difficult.

2007 Irish Bouldering Meet report

By Dave Flanagan.

Three Sponge Bob Square pants walk in on a dinger of a day. Photo by Dave Flanagan.

Year Dry Wet
2004 2 0
2005 2 0
2006 0 2
2007 1 1
Total 5 3

Like any outdoor event in Ireland the weather has a huge part to play in how well the bouldering meet goes. Coming on the tail end of a very damp winter it was hard to be optimistic. However the forecast was good for Saturday and terrible for Sunday and that was how it turned out.

Over the four years of the meet we have had 5 dry days and 3 wet days which is a pretty good score I think

On Friday night we warmed up for the overhanging testpieces of glendo with some table climbing.

Dec sends the T7 6b on Friday night. Photo by Dave Flanagan.

I counted about 50 boulderers out in Glendalough on Saturday which is a healthy turnout. The conditions were excellent, cold but not too cold with a strong breeze to keep the rock dry. Once again this was one of the first times in the year that the sun reached the boulders and it was appreciated by all.

With the forecast bad for Sunday the pure of heart had little reason to stick around in the hut. Those who stayed witnessed the Lunar eclipse and some incredibly bad dancing down in the hotel.

But just like last year Sunday morning arrived with impressive levels of rain. It was simply a case of having breakfast, cleaning the hut and getting out of there.

A rather busy Big Jim. Photo by Dave Flanagan.

The real importance of the bouldering meet is as a social event, the boulders in Wicklow are there every day what is unsual is to have some many boulderers gathered together in one place. Bouldering is a minority activity within a minority activity so it's important and share information and our collective enthusiasm for the activity.

A big thanks to all who made the effort to come and a special thanks to to the MCI, the IMC for the use of the hut and Wicklow National Park without all of whom the meet couldn't happen.

Bouldering Meet this weekend.

From Met Eireann.

Details of meet here.

Irish Bouldering Meet 2007

The Fourth Annual Irish Bouldering Meet will be on the weekend of the 2/3/4th March based in the I.M.C Hut in Glendasan Country Wicklow.

The Hut has cooking facilities and bunks/wooden platforms (you will need a sleeping bag and something soft to lie on) and for about 40 people on a first come first served basis. If the hut fills up there is plenty of room to camp in the garden. Either way the cost is €7.50 per night (please pay me as early as possibile on the weekend).

In recent years we have gone to Glendalough on the Saturday and Glenmacnass on the Sunday but the exact plan this year will depend on the weather.

Come along, the weekend is a great laugh and is a good chance for to meet up with your fellow climber and do some great bouldering.

Incidentially the origin of the word 'craic' is worth a look on Wikipedia.

Google ads

Just doing an experiment with google ads for a week to see how much money it makes. I'm saving for un petit Château in Fontainbleau.

The Scalp

Diarmuid Smyth on the crux move of the problem
Photo by Dave Flanagan.

By Dave Flanagan

The Scalp is a narrow rocky valley on the Dublin/Wicklow border between Enniskerry and Kilternan. The steep sides which are covered in rock and pine trees appear to have huge potential. Unfortunantly they don't and there is only one good problem. About fifty steep meters above the parking spot there is an overhanging wall with a small flat platform below it. The problem goes up the wall from a sitting start using a few small sidepulls with a high but easy finish. It's about 6a+ and requires a bit of power endurance to link together.

I was there a few evenings ago and just as I put on my shoes I noticed this snake of middle aged ramblers huffing and puffing their way up the hill towards me led by a shrill middle aged woman. Peace and quiet gone, I had to endure a stream of inane comments, one woman wanted to know was I going to play the piano (I think there was something wrong with her mind), another thought climbing was all trick photography. "Where was my rope?" they asked.

The history of climbing in the Scalp goes way back to 1925 and it's not known who did the first ascent of the problem but I suspect that it has had a few devotees who have visited occasionally over the years. To the left of the problem is an unusual route done in 1958 called Tree Chimney. This is the description from the guide on

Climb the overhanging wall by backing up the tree. "In a high wind the tree sways and one is liable to be pinched. Also some-times one has the impression that the rock itself is living, Which is disconcerting".

Due to its overhanging nature, the shape of the valley and the trees the problem should stay pretty dry in the rain, so it could be a good option if you are rained out further south in the mountains and need to get some climbing done. Also the Scalp is one of the few bouldering areas you can get the bus to, the 44 goes from town to Enniskerry via the Scalp.

If you do go have a look around for more good problems but don't all rush at once...

2006 Bouldering Meet

The weather forecast was dodgy and Friday morning was grim and full of rain. Unfortunanltly tt didn't inspire many to come down to Glendasan. Every outdoor event in Ireland takes a chance on the weather and this tiome we were unlucky but the previous two years we were absolutely blessed with prefect weather so maybe we had it coming.

A hardy group of mostly Dublin based boulders showed up over the course of the weekend and there was an hours climbing done in Glendalough before the drizzle started and after sitting it out for a while in various caves it became apparent it wasn't going to stop and there was an exodus to the hotel for apple crumble. Over the next twelve hours darts were thrown, halls of fame inaugurated, tea supped, dinners cooked, pints drunk and discos danced. Sunday dawned grey and we all made our way home.

Thanks to all who came and a special thanks to to the MCI, the IMC for the use of the hut and Wicklow National Park without all of whom the meet couldn't happen.

Another UnderDeveloped trailer

Here is another Under Developed trailer from Ricky Bell.

To download the trailer (MPG, 7.7 MBs) right click UnderDeveloped-ComingSoon.mpg and "Save Target As...." .

UnderDeveloped preview

Under Developed is a new video by Ricky Bell and friends about their year's climbing due for release soon. It features bouldering, routes and some dangerous looking stunts.

"a little preivew (40 minutes) of everything, hard moves, small holds, long run outs, meaty problems, lucky falls, E8's, unlucky falls, peer pressure, throwing stuff off stuff, jumping off stuff, stuff you shouldn't show your mum and ali wilson and johnny mac semi-naked!!!" Ricky Bell .

To download the trailer (MPG, 12 MBs) right click Underdeveloped.mpg and "Save Target As...." .


Here is a photo of Solidarity that you can download as wallpaper for your PC. Click on one of the sizes below then right click on the image and 'Set as background'.

1024 x 768

1280 x 1024

Under Developed

Under Developed is new video by Ricky Bell and friends about their year's climbing due for release in December. It features bouldering, routes and some dangerous looking stunts. They plan to have a showing in Belfast and Dublin and the video might be availabile to buy at some stage. Underdeveloped.mpg (MPG, 12 MBs) rights click and "Save Target As...."

The fall off Mushroom Boyz E7 6c when the pebble crumbled is VERY VERY impressive. Keep an eye out for another trailer in mid November.

Chipping in Glendo Mystery

Two weekends ago a large group hanging around Big Jim in Glendalough noticed this etching on the easy angled slab (see photos). It seems to say IRA 26, it is obviously very old as it had lichen on it and is the exact same texture and tone as the rock surrounding it. What was strange was that none of the group - about a dozen glendo regulars - had ever noticed it before, probably something to do with the angle of the sun.








3rd Irish Bouldering Meet this Weekend

The 3rd Irish International Bouldering Meet is on the 24/25/26th of March 2006. It will be based in the IMC Hut in Glendasan Co. Wicklow. The Hut has cooking facilities and bunks/wooden platforms and for about 40 people on a first come first served basis. The hut will fill up but there is plenty of room to camp in the garden. Either way the cost is 7.50euro per night (please pay me as early as possibile on the weekend). Last year we went to Glendalough on the Saturday and Glenmacnass on the Sunday, the exact plan this year will depend on the weather.

Read the report and download Kim Leyland's video to see what happened at last years meet.

There are some photos of last years meet here

Thanks to the Wicklow National Park and the Mountaineering Council of Ireland without their help the meet couldn't happpen.

The Chief, Derryrush

Dave Flanagan on Highawatha, The Chief, Derryrush. Photo by Jenny Halford.

Full Circle, Connemara

Photo by Grzegorz Florek.

Ho ho ho

By Malcolm O'Beirn.

Bouldering Meet video

Kim Leyland (of Beardown Productions) has made an excellent video of the meet. Download it here

This is the report that appeared in the Spring edition of Irish Mountain Log.

The Second International Irish Bouldering Meet was held the weekend of the 11/12/13th of March based in Glendasan Co. Wicklow. Again this year the sun shone and the rain kept off. The ritual sacraficing of goats seem to do the trick.

Though there was slightly less people around this year people came from Dublin, Cork, Galway, the North and a carload each from Wales, Manchester and Sheffield. I think I even saw a few slighty sceptical trad climbers lurking around.

On Saturday everyone went to Glendalough and warmed up in the sun in Big Jim. This was virtually the first week that the sun shined on the valley floor in Glendo since Novemember - the bouldering solstice. In an inspired moment Conor O'Shea decided that he wanted to be rolled down Big Jim wrapped in a few bouldering pads. He survived to drink another day. I did the Duffy Slap (this is me trying to retroname a problem) after been shown a 'new' foothold by Geene Smith. While nothing earth shatteringly hard was climbed invention and reapprisal was the order of the day, Howard Hebblethwaiteshowed everyone the traverse under the block holding the Fin in place, Rob Hunter climbed the arete right of the Fin using one hand, Michael O'Dwyer shared some of his projects around.

Both Friday and Saturday night were characterised by some hard drinking till late, this however didn't stop most people getting up the next morning. On Saturday night there was even some traditional irish singing, while on Friday night we had some less traditional milling instead.

On Sunday a hardy group of about twenty went to Glenmacnass while the majority went back to Glendo for more. The conditions were perfect on Sunday, the ground was slighly frozen which made the going easier, the wind was light and there was a few flakes of snow falling. The Sheffield lads prepared well for the boggy walk in along the Glenmacnass River by fashioning overshoes out of plastic coal sacks. Considering that the ground was either slippy bog or abrasive granite they held up well. Everyones first stop was Solidarity, the awesome arete standing guard over the rest of the valley was recently in Simon Panton's top 50 boulder problems in the UK and Ireland. It received one ascent on its left hand side and three on the right hand side. On a personal note I failed to Tombstone Arete again, bouldering is all about embracing failure anyway, seem to have been doing a good bit of that lately. A new more static sequence was found for the Joker but I'm deeply sceptical about it and feel it was just proof of the great conditions. Dermot Smiths's traverse project in Sector 3 which he has prematurely called "Lip Service" is still undone despite lots of grunting, banter and exotic heel hooking. The couch was deemed comfortable by all who perched there. None of the major projects in Glenmacnass, the Wow Prow and the No Dice Rib, were climbed.

On Monday the weather returned to the more typical south westerly dominated system. And the winter ended just like that.

Thanks to the IMC, MCI, Wicklow National Park and all who came.

10 Commandments

The MCI (in conjunction with the BMC) have recently produced a poster featuring '10 Commandments' for bouldering good practice. Most are plain common sense, only one, the no wire brushing commandment, may raise some controversy however I for one fully agree with this rule. Any piece of rock can be cleaned sufficently with a nylon brush.





Guide to Cloghogue

Cloghogue (known to some as Ben's Font) is the hidden valley above Lough Tay in the Wicklow Mountains. The area was discovered this winter by a hillwalker called Ben Marsh and developed by Pierre Fuentes with help from Kevin Cooper, Michael Nicholson, Dawid Nowak, Andy Robinson, and Declan Tormey.

There are about 35 problems ranging from 3 to 7a+ on the usual rough granite, the walkin is about ten minutes and the setting above the stream amounst the oak trees with views to Lough Tay is great. Definitely worth a visit.

View of the boulders from the opposite hillside.

Dawid Nowak finishing his Anti-Climax

From left to right: Dawid Nowak pulling hard on Allez le Bouef!, Michael O'Dwyer on the slopey Arete proper, Michael Nicholson demonstrating Nearly headless

Guide by Pierre Fuentes, photos by Dawid Nowak and Pierre Fuentes.

To download the guide right click
cloghogue.doc (0.7Mbs) or
cloghogue.pdf (1.4Mbs) and "Save Target As...." .

The Blackstairs

Harry Fogg cutting loose in the Blackstairs. Photo by Michael O'Dwyer

The Tor in the Blackstairs. Photo by Michael O'Dwyer

Guide update - Request for information

I'm updating the guide over the next week so if anyone has any updates, new areas, new problems, corrections or grade queries please send me an email.

New problems update

Nigel on the sit down start to Harvey Oswald

Nigel Callender has just repeated Sway On 8a at Gallt Y Ogof in the Ogwen Valley in between torrential showers. First ascended by Chris Davies it appeared in the bouldering video "Stick It" (under the name Superfuzzybigmuff, John Gaskins did the second ascent so Nigel's might be the third. He has also done the first ascent of the "superb sitting start to Ogwen Valley classic, Harvey Oswald, boosting the overall grade to around V8" and he also

"Cleaned up one of the North wales projects this morning, it's the link from Arse Soul into Northern Soul, the Classic V5 on the Wavelength hillside (Upper Satellites). Reckon it goes at Font. 7c. Tried it briefly in April but was too weak following my operation, did it in a session today. it's called Northern Scum"

Siobhan Coughlan has completed Ben's roof 7c+ at Raven tor in the Peak district which is the first Irish female ascent.

Dave Millar on Happy Days 6a+ in Burtonport.
Photo: Marlene Gardiner

Dave Millar has done the first ascent of Happy Days 6a+ in Burtonport and a highball arete 5 in called Barnes Gap outside Letterkenny. He has also been developing a half dozen new boulders next to Lough Barra. Topos for Barnes Gap, Doochary (Lough Barra) and Fanad Head soon. More great photos on the Colmcille Climber site.

There is an article in this months Climb magazine about bouldering in Fairhead by Rickly Bell. Ricky's guide is here.

The dates for the Irish Bouldering League have been announced see for details.

New boulder in Mall Hill, photo: Pierre Fuentes

The foresters have been busy in Mall Hill recently cutting down more trees this has exposed a half dozen boulders maybe more, a few weeks ago six new problems where climbed on the best granite in Wicklow with a good bit more exploring to be done. Its also worth mentioning that the access details for Mall Hill have changed since the guide was written in Febuary. Its now possibile to park on the Glenmacnass Road and wade across the river to get to the boulders.

  1. - 4 left hand side of arete using small corner.
  2. Chigaray Arete 6a arete on righ hand side.
  3. - project sit start might also be possibile.
  4. - 4+ slab getting started is the crux.

Steve McMullan on a new mantel problem in Glendo. Photo: Eoin Lawless.

Barry O'Dwyer on a new problem in Aughris Head.
Photo: Eoin Lawless.

John Loane, Kev Moroney, Barry O'Dwyer and Eoin Lawless visited Aughrish Head during the summer and did some new stuff in the cave with the stalactites on the left end of the beach, Barrry also did a steep looking problem to the right of Monkey Business in the cave on the right.

Al Sharan showed me around some of the new developments in Glendo includin the Cherry and there are a few decent lines but its impossibile to describe their locations (ie. I can't remember). They are in the scree to the right where the small stream crosses the path?????

There are a few new problems above the Tripod boulder (which is well worth a quick look) in Glendo including a nasty looking mantel and a long traverse.

A new area has been developed in the Wicklow mountains by Kev Cooper, Pierre Fuentes, Andy Rob etc (good to see the old folks getting out and about) but it is still TOP SECRET.







Night climbing at Bullock Harbour

by Peter Tom McMahon.

Let the games begin

Now that its got a bit cooler the bouldering season has really started again. The weekend saw a few new problems done.

Nigel Callander has climbed a "long term project" on the blank scooped wall in the car park at Ailladie in the Burren. Its called Anguish and is about 7b/c.

Start by stepping into the break using 2 opposing 2 finger dimples, optimistically throw for the poor crimp, stick this and move the left hand to another poor 2 finger hold before nailing the jug. It's a classic 3 star problem.

The foresters have been busy in Mall Hill recently cutting down more trees this has exposed a half dozen boulders maybe more, on Sunday six new problems where climbed on the best granite in Wicklow with a good bit more exploring to be done.

Pierre in Lough Dan

Another group visited Lough Dan on Sunday and filled in some gaps with about a dozen new problems.

I'm working on updating the bouldering guide with these and all the other new problems and areas that have been found since Feburary.

Muckross Head

Here is a short guide to a few problems in Muckross Head, Donegal by Michael Duffy, photos by Tony Rooney.

The following problems are to be found just after the last cave of the crag either scramble around by Dynorod or walk along the top. The platforms are non-tidal and south facing. Whilist the rock is generally solid, care must be taken when topping out as some of the problems could be classed as micro-routes. The Summergirl problem along with D, T and H are to be found just to the left of Dynorod in the last of the main crag.

  1. 5b Start at low break, up to hanging flake and the top.
  2. 5c Slabs edge on its left hand side.
  3. 5c From low break through slab.
  4. 5b From low break and up edge.
  5. 5c From low break through slab.
  6. 5b Up wall between corner and crack.
  7. 5b Crack.
  8. 6a From rattley jug to top.
  9. 6b From rattley jug to slopers and out right.
  10. 6a Crack to top.

Wifeandman 5c Traverse lip and up arete.
Whitevanman 6b Leaning face to sloping hold in the seam, left hand to jug on lip. Finish straight up.
Whitevanmantoo 6b/c As above except footless from the spike at head height to the seam.

Jesus 6b Rattley jug through overhand to arete.
Mary 6b Start below roof up to arete and top.
Joseph 5b Up arete.
Summergirl 6b Start on low hold, follow lip and up arete to break.
Dick 5c From back break along lip and up arete.
Tom 6a As above to crack and top break.
Harry 6a Left side of arete to top break.

Two new-ish areas in Donegal

Pippa Froggatt on problem 1 at the left hand end

Jon with Errigal in the background

An anglo-irish bouldering expedition to North West Donegal recently discovered two previously undocumented bouldering areas

  • Mullaghdoo is close to Carrickfinn, has about 20 moderate problems on nice looking granite.
  • Malin Beg as well as the established trad routes has about a dozen problems on the rocky platforms.

Jon Pearson (of has done up great mini-guides to each of the areas.

To download them right click and select "Save Target As..."

Mullaghdoo .pdf 0.3 Mbs

Malin Beg .pdf 0.7 Mbs








Updated: The Chief, Derryrush

Last week Toby Foord Kelcey found this monster of a boulder in Derryrush. Toby first read about the boulder in Tim Robinson's Connemara book (the one you see in some gift shops with a hand-drawn 1" map attached), His attention was captured by mention of a "40' boulder, the highest in Connemara", it was when looking for this that he found the other boulders in Derryrush.

The boulder turned out not to be 40' but still big - probably 25'. Toby only had time to clean up a couple of easy lines, both on the slabby south face. Unclimbed are a highball vertical face (west side), a highball leaning wall (north west side), a very futuristic prow and some shorter steep things on the east side. Large mats would be useful and some decent cleaning technology (ie a brush on a long stick).

South side

1. Diedre 4+ Pull over the overlap onto the hanging arete then up the easy corner.
2. Angel's Crest 3 Easy climbing up the south-east ridge/ rib. Don't fall off the frictiony moves below the summit. Also the best descent route

East side

3. Midge Alley 4 Sit start to easy climbing above.
4. East Face 5 Fingery climbing up the east face
5. East Break 5 Fingery start, moves diagonally right following thebreak to the top. Caution: loose in places.
6. Project prow ? Sit start and up the north-east prow.
7. Project traverse ? Sit start under the nose and traverse right without using the shelf.

North side

8. Project traverse ? Sit start and move left. Possible link to North-East prow?
9. North face 5 Sit start and move up the face. Highball.
10. North arête 5+ Sit start and move up the arête. Highball.

More highball and overhang lines to be explored on this side.

West side/cave

11. Cave problem 6b Start in the cave and move out and over the lip to finish.
12. Project traverse ? Sit start at the right of the cave and move left.

More lines to be explored on this side. Some harder cave problems also look possible.

Approach via the first turf-cutters road leading north from the junction of the R340 and the road to Cashel (shown clearly on the map in the guide, about mid-way between areas B and C). Follow it for about 1 km to just before a gate at a fenced off bit of forest land, Go through the gate into the forest and continue along the track for about another 1.5 km, until a locked gate is reached. You can park in an area here by the gate. Walk a little way along the track towards the house on the island. The boulder is now clearly visible to the north. Walk around the lake to it. Wellie-boots advisable!

Some serious cleaning!

"The problems so far are pretty good. There are two highballs on the northwest face. I think they are about Font 5. There is a problem starting in the cave on the west side which is pretty good. Maybe about Font 6b. There is plenty of potential for harder stuff here as well. The east side has a couple of easyish problems. It is possible to sit start the prow and probably climb it but we only cleaned it the last night I was out so no one has really tried it yet. There are a couple of boulders below the landing but with a couple of pads and some good spotting it should be fine. Highball, though there is a big jug up near the top. Overall I think the boulder is worth a look if you are around Galway. There is a serious midge problem out there as you might expect in a boggy area beside a lake on Connemara. Bring lots of midge repellent and they seem to leave you alone or hope for some wind." John Loane

Thanks to Toby, Malcolm O'Beirn, John Loane and Robert Nelson.

Conor's Roll

video by Ruairi Blair

Here is the long awaited video of Conor O'Shea's roll down Big Jim wrapped in two Franklin pads. The video from Beardownproductions of the meet should be along any day now.

Length: 3 secs
Size: 0.7 Mb
File: .WMV

Right click on the image and "Save Target As..."

New problems update


Andrea Seebacher and Christian Brandtner did a few new problems high up in the scree last Saturday.

1 Warm Up 5+
2 Little Ugly 6c
3 Ken 6c+
4 Barbie 6a+
5 Project ?
6 Easy Going 5+
7 Cool Stuff 6a
8 Jammed 6b


  At the meet there was also a few new problems added, Rob Hunter did the arete right of the arete right of the Fin - if you get me - its called The Love Handle and is the standard 5 sandbag, the traverse under the Fin block was done by Damien O'Sullivan after it was pointed out by Howard who may have done it as well. A Midge Too Far is the slopey sit start just right of Beachball by Diarmuid Smyth, Family Guy is on the southside of river up the valley from Big Jim. Step up to jug on face move feet up seam reach out right to hold, match and dispatch, about 5 also by Diarmuid. Michael O'Dwyer did the Hidden Prow near The Rails area. Start down in the pit on the holds on the left. Up the arete and finish up on the good holds out on the right. Direct finish has been done by the Hunters. Pierre Fuentes did Apple crumble the Mantle shelf on very sharp crystals behind the Fin 5+. Kevin Moroney did Cherry Bomb, near Chubba Chubb, sit start belov the overhang - move to the jug at the lip and contine up the slab using the quartz crystal 6a.

Lough Dan

Lough Dan has been relatively busy lately. The direct finish to the Shadow was done by the Hunters and Pierre Fuentes did the arete to the right, Doc Bloc.


In Derryrush, Michael O'Dwyer and David Flanagan did a few of the projects in the Yosemite area. Diarmuid Smyth developed The B'Ernie boulder Its 100 metres before the narrow bridge in Derryrush and about 30 metres off the road on the left at a gravel layby.

name grade description
Maamtle shelf 4 Lovely long mantle shelf with an increasingly slopey topout as you move left along it
Ernie 5 Move up the arete's using the large foot ledge to a lovely jug. Top out up along the sharp spine of the boulder
Bog Standard 5+ Fantastic problem up the near vertical slab using the two crimps in the middle of the face.

All these problems will be added to the guide in good time. If you have any more new problems send them in here.

Second Irish International Bouldering Meet

Thanks to everyone who came on the meet, once again it was a great success. There are a few photos on and some on Anyone who has an pictures get in touch and I will put them up here. Full report to follow...

photo by Christian Brandtner

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TheShortSpan tshirts for sale

The limited edition TheShortSpan tshirts are out. They cost 10euro are available in red/orange/blue/sand and small/medium/large. They are 100% percent cotton high quality tshirts. Any money earned from their sale will go towards making TheShortSpan a better website so please show your support and buy one (or more).

They will be available at the IBL in DCU this weekend, at UCD wall during the week, maybe at the intervarsities, at the Outdoor Adventure show in the RDS and by post (postage should be about 1euro per tshirt). Get in touch if you want any posted out.

All sold. Thanks to everyone who bought one.


By Malcolm O'Beirn.

TheShortSpan needs a laptop

I have raised a small profit of about two hundred euro from selling the tshirts (there are still a few left) and need a laptop to keep the site going so if anyone has an old laptop they want to donate or sell get in touch. It doesn't need to be cutting edge just capable of running photoshop, illustrator and word.





Northern Lights in Glendalough

The Northern Lights were visibile in Glendalough late on Saturday night. Photos by Peter Tom McMahon.

more, more, more, more, more.

UCD extension

UCD in Dublin has a new bouldering extension constructed by Pat Nolan. The steep multi angle board fills the space where the slab used to be and more than doubles the total bouldering area so should make the winter a bit more interesting. There is also a few very large volumes added to the top rope walls. For any enquiries regarding climbing walls call Pat Nolan (0044) (0) 2866348133 or e-mail

Portrane photos by Eoin Lawless

Photos by Eoin Lawless, each is about 180k, more great photos on Eoins site.

BBQ on Three Rock today

The BBQ is on today (the first of June) on the top of Three Rock mountain. The food (burgers, sausages, rolls etc.) is courtesy of TheShortSpan. This will also be the last chance to buy a limited edition T-Shirt and support this website. If you are coming please post a message on the board.

Fanad Head

This is Monkey Business, 6a+ up in Fanad Head. Fanad Head is on the opposite side of Lough Swilly to the bouldering at Dunaff Head. Apparently the granite is really good with about twenty problems and a few projects. Thanks to Dave Millar for the photo.

Top 25 problems in Ireland?

This is a list of the top 25 problems in the country, in my opinion, naturally you will disagree, if you want to have your say do so on the message board. I have tried to include a good range of areas and grades.

Lan Mara
Away From The Numbers
Full Irish
Tombstone Arete
Darkness Before The Dawn
Saint Kevin's Slab
Living The Dream
The Plum
Original Route
The Rails
Big Jim Slab
Arete Right Of The Fin
Full Circle
Easy Arete
Back in Black
Split Arete
Sandy Slab

Bullock Harbour
Three Rock
Lough Bray
Lough Dan
Mall Hill
Jim's Nook
Polldoo Glen


By Malcolm O'Beirn.

A field guide to Irish Climbers

By Malcolm O'Beirn. Click on each one to open it full size in a new window.

Aughris Head

Photos by Michael O'Dwyer

Inspiration for the weekend

The lads at have made another brilliant video, this one is about Glendo so should be good inspiration for the bouldering meet this weekend. Watch Pieces of Glendo and others here

Derryrush, Galway

Malcolm O'Beirn has sent in some photos of the boulders around Derryrush in Galway. Check out the guide for more information about the established problems. A few boulderers have now visited and been impressed with this area. However there is lot more exploring to be done...

Malcolm's site is here.

Outdoor Adventure show and bouldering competition this weekend

The Outdoor Adventure show is on this weekend in the RDS Simmonscourt Pavilion.

The bouldering competition is on Saturday in the same style as the IBL with 20 problems for all to enjoy set by Ronan Browner and Howard Hebblethwaite. Similar categories, Male-A, Male-B, Female and Junior can compete for great prizes. The cost of entry to both the show and competition is €7 and you will receive a free pass for Sunday, so you can try the problems again.

For more details see for full details on the event.

Barna, Galway

Malcolm O'Beirn has sent in some photos of a new area in Barna a few kilometers outside Galway city. It's in a disused granite quarry with about 20 problems. More details in the impending bouldering guide.

Keep on eye on Malcolm's site, Eoin Lawless's site has some great photos as well.

Meet details

The Second Irish International Bouldering Meet is on the 11/12/13th of March 2005. It will be based in the
IMC Hut in Glendasan Co. Wicklow. The Hut has cooking facilities and bunks/wooden platforms and for about 40 people on a first come first served basis. The hut will fill up but there is plenty of room to camp in the garden. Either way the cost is 7.50euro per night (please pay me as early as possibile on the weekend). Last year we went to Glendalough on the Saturday and Glenmacnass on the Sunday, the exact plan this year will depend on the weather.

As there will be so many people out each day could people please do their poos before they set out for the boulders?

Grimper magazine

The October issue of French climbing magazine Grimper had an 8 page article about bouldering in Wicklow, written by Francois Chopard, we have been very kindly allowed to reproduce it here. The fullsize images are 150k.

Photos by Francois Chopard.

Outdoor Adventure show and bouldering competition

A major Outdoor Adventure show will take place on 4th,5th and 6th March 2005 in the RDS Simmonscourt Pavilion.

Included in this show will be a "Have a Go" climbing wall for the general public to get an opportunity to enjoy the climbing experience. More importantly for all climbers, a Bouldering Wall, rectangular and 12 metres long will be set up to allow a Competition take place on Saturday 5th March in the same style as the IBL with 20 problems for all to enjoy set by Ronan Browner and Howard Hebblethwaite. Similar categories, Male-A, Male-B, Female and Junior can compete for great prizes. Climbers who enter the competition will receive a Free Pass for Sunday, so if they wish to try the problems again on Sunday they are more than welcome!

Your support is important as it highlights the numbers of people climbing which has obvious positive consequences for the SPORT.

For more details see for full details on the event.

New climbing wall for Dublin?

Dominic Green is planning to open an indoor wall in Dublin city center. He is asking for support from climbers.

This is another attempt to build a dedicated wall in Dublin. I am sticking my head above the parapet a bit earlier than I would have hoped, simply because I need letters of support, emails will do but letters would be better.

So what is so different about this attempt to get a wall off the ground?

  • We have a building earmarked in a central location (about the same distance away from O'Connell Bridge as Baggot Bridge).
  • Floor area would be roughly 700sqm with a separate bouldering room and a toprope/lead facility. Quality bouldering will not be overlooked, and the lead wall will be of international standard with interesting and varies surfaces and routes to climb on.
  • The intention is to provide a cafe and shop.
  • Membership will be in the form of a club that will be an easy to join, open organisation, which will not make it prohibitive even for a one off visit.

Soon I will announce an inaugural meeting, prior to the opening of the wall, founder members will have a special offer. Firstly I need to prove to those interested parties, the huge pent up demand for such a facility in Dublin. You can help by sending a message of support either by email to or preferably by letter to

Dominic Green
1 Marlborough Rd
Co. Dublin

Just by way of conclusion, I'd rather shoot myself now than open a shit wall, so this will be right up there with anything decent you may have seen in Europe or the US.

If you have any questions call me on 087 686 5967

Submit problems

Added a new form to submit new boulder problems.

Your Name:


Problem Name:




Irish ascent of an 8a
Nigel Callender has repeated "Humble Pie" 8a in the Llanberis Pass in North Wales. Photo on

Old school bouldering

Recently Steve Young posted on the message board and sent me a photo of him bouldering on the Motte Stone at Cronebane near Avoca in 1973.

Steve wrote an excellent account of his time in Ireland for the IMC journal, it can be found on the IMC site.

"The Mottee Stone probably derives its name from the French word Moitie, meaning half, lying as it does halfway between Wexford and Dublin. Legend suggests that Fionn MacCumhaill hurled the stone from the top of Lugnauilla Mountain" from

From a bouldering point of view the stone isn't very exciting but it shows that bouldering in Wicklow has a history and that people have been out doing stuff for a while now.






Hardest problem in Ireland
Darkness before Dawn, Glendasan, Wicklow, 8a+

Just before Christmas 2003 John Gaskins climbed Darkness before dawn the hardest boulder problem in Ireland as well as one of the best lines. The problem is in Glendasan, Wicklow a few minutes from the road on a steeply overhanging block called the Tank.

John said this about the problem "It's a 3 star classic problem, I'd say it is one the best things I've ever climbed, I'm really pleased to have done such a good problem."

A very crimpystart following the thin crack rightwards leading to some "good holds" after the crack steps up, from here you can reach the lip. John used a cam placed under the boulder to hold his boulder mat in place and prevent it (and him) surfing down the grassy slope.

Was this arete in Glenmacnass climbed in the 50s?

In a bend of Glenmacnass river about five kilometres above the waterfall is a large granite boulder, the Riverside boulder. Its a large rectangular block with a heather hat, where the two biggest faces meet an arete with a slight s curve is formed. Its oft admired as it is prominent from everywhere in the upper valley.

Recently I was told that this arete was climbed in the early fifties by a Polish climber who was living in Ireland at that time called Andre Kopczinski. Apparently he didn't even use climbing shoes (this was a long time before sticky rubber or anything similar) just a thick pair of woollen socks. I was skeptical at first, after all this arete must be at least 7a and would of been one of the first if not the first of that grade in the world.

Makes you wonder how much stuff has been done and just forgotten about?

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