A journey to the oldest cache in Europe

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I’ve been talking about finding GC43, the oldest active cache in Europe, for a while. So, when Heltinnen suggested that we could go there this Easter, it didn’t take too long to decide. Shortly after, we had started planning. And suddenly we were 9 crazy Norwegians going to Dublin.

The group consists of Heltinnen, kawlii, BEKA21, lynxalynx, harpix, hofstad, Hervik73, Hervik80 and myself (thomfre).

We started the trip with a short event close to the airport, GC5PC48 En stopp på vei til det store utland 2, before heading to bed at a hotel next to the airport. On Thursday April 2nd, all 9 of us boarded the same flight in Oslo, ready for a long weekend in Ireland.

After arriving in Dublin, we went straight to the hotel to check-in and get rid of the luggage. Since we have hosted several events while travelling before, we also wanted to host one in Dublin. So after dropping of the luggage at the hotel, we went out to find caches along the way to our event. We found several traditionals, a mystery, an earthcache, GCE388 Stiffy by the Liffey and GCJKTN Gardiner’s Treat, before ending up at GC5NDAB Crazy Norwegians in Dublin.

Stiffy by the Liffey

We had a few minutes to spare before the event, so we went to get some drinks at Starbucks close to the event location. Turned out that a lot of the other attendees also had done the same, it was pointed out in one of the logs that this almost looked like a Starbucks flash mob.

Meeting local cachers are always awesome, but we also got to meet a lot of other travelers. We had a good time, and got lots of tips for local caches. It was nice meeting you all!

After the event, we found a cache we got recommended, before heading to Hard Rock Cafe to get some food. We got a great start on our weekend in Dublin, even though the weather was a bit wet at the end of the day.

The main goal for the trip was GC43 down in Bray, so we went straight to the DART station early Friday morning. We had planned to take a bus, but apparently the schedule was altered during the Easter weekend. So we ended up walking, really fast. We made it, and got to Bray just as we had planned.

A taxi was waiting for us in Bray, to drive us to GC322 Kyle Cache 1. He must have thought we were crazy, as we had no clue where we wanted to go. But we had the coordinates, so harpix acted as a human SatNav. Shortly after, we arrived at the parking spot, and headed towards the cache. We didn’t take the easiest route, but we got there, and found it!

On the way back to the taxi

We got the taxi to drive us a bit closer to the trailhead for GC43, and now we were closer than we had ever been before. Several in the group had planned this as a milestone, so we only found two of the caches along the trail on the way out. The rest was saved for the return trip. I noticed a sign along the trail, and we definitely chose the right time to go here, one day later, and the trail would have been closed!

Notice along the trail

There was a lot of other people out on the trail today (and we even met a large group on some kind of treasure/clue hunt on the way back). When we got closer to the cache, I started to recognize the area from photos I had seen on the cache page. Shortly after, we arrived at GZ, and the cache was found within the first 5 seconds. It was awesome.

Logging the cache

We spent a lot of time taking photos, and suddenly a Swiss geocacher appeared. Perfect, we got him to take a group photo of us! (see the header photo)

After replacing the cache, and taking some more photos, we headed back towards Bray, finding the caches along the way. We got something to eat at Baracuda in Bray, before heading back to the DART. We took the train to the end station in Greystones, found a few caches there, before heading back towards Dublin.

We walked around and found some more caches, before we headed back towards the hotel and to get something to eat.

The Saturday was spent walking around in Dublin, finding a lot of caches. Some of the highlights of the day were GC567K4 Christ Church Cathedral (a really nice church), GC18N2P Collins Barracks (where really loud music suddenly started to play just as we arrived) and GC44TJZ Arbour Hill (which was a surprisingly nice prison, at least on the outside). Using so much time on GC2P9XR The Garden of Forking Paths (or starting late, as we did), that the guard had to lock us out, was also an experience we won’t forget.

The park is closed

Even tough we had to get up really early the next day, we just had to grab a few more caches after getting some food at the hotel. Exhausted after a long day, we suddenly decided to grab a taxi to find a few caches. We explained what we were doing to the taxi drivers, and I guess they got something to laugh about now… “At least the drinks are cheap here”, one of them told us. But we had fun!

The taxis

Sunday was our last full day here in Ireland, and we had booked a tour with Extreme Ireland to Giant’s Causeway and Belfast. We had to get up really early, and we left the hotel before people got home from the night before! Quarter past 6 am, we arrived at the meeting point. Half an hour later, we were on our way north.

The bus driver was simply awesome, and some of the roads he had to navigate with this huge bus, was even worse than the roads we have in Norway! Driving through one of the small villages in Northern Ireland turned out to be a real challenge, as people had parked on both sides of the narrow road – and there was cars coming against us in the opposite direction! But we made it, simply impressive!

Narrow road!

The first stop was at Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The walk out there was a bit longer than expected, but it was worth it. The queue to get over the bridge was long, but it didn’t take too long to get over. The bridge was really stable, and didn’t feel like other rope bridges I’ve walked across. We made it safely to the other side, before turning around and getting in the queue to go back.

Walking across the bridge

There was a lot of fog, but at least it didn’t rain. And it got better and better later in the day.

Us in front of the bridge

The next stop was the main goal of the day, GCPCPX Giant’s Causeway. This place was simply awesome, and is definitely a place everyone should visit some time! We spent all the time we had available, taking lots of photos. We’ve found other earthcaches related to columnar basalt before, but nothing has been close to this in size!

Awesome place!

Heltinnen and myself at Giants Causeway

We managed to get back to the bus on time, but just as with the previous stop, we had to wait a long time for some of the other passengers. It’s not nice to abuse other peoples time like that.

We did a quick photo stop at Dunluce Castle, before heading towards Belfast.

Dunluce Castle

This was Easter Sunday, and it looked like entire Belfast was closed! But we got to find several caches, so we are happy!

Almost everything was closed

After a long day, with many new impressions, we had a few hours ahead of us before arriving back in Dublin. We went straight to the hotel, and out to get some food – our last night in Dublin. We went to a great BBQ-place, where they even had free ice cream!

A long weekend in Dublin had now come to and end. The result for me is 66 new caches found, and 4 DNFs. Double the amount that I had hoped to find.

The return trip didn’t go exactly as planned. The flight from Dublin got delayed, and that caused a huge mess in Oslo. The group got split into 3 different flights, and our luggage took a fourth flight. On top of that, Heltinnen had gotten sick. But all of us made it safely back home in the end, so we can’t complain too much.

A huge thanks to all the cache owners in Ireland, and a huge thanks to all the crazy Norwegians that I’ve traveled with!

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