The 4th Annual Irish International Bouldering Meet took place on the 2-4th March. The Irish Bouldering Meet was the idea of local climbers who wanted an informal gathering that would attract boulderers from Ireland and abroad to meet in the stunning location of the Wicklow hills and generally crank hard and enjoy the ´craic´.Below is an account of the weekend from Dave Flanaghan, meet co-organiser and webmaster of www.theshortspan.com „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 the hoards began to arrive and we warmed up for the overhanging testpieces of glendo with some table climbing.

Dec sends the T7 6b (with mid 2 table split span) on Friday night. ph. Dave Flanaghan

Saturday dawned bright and with the sun out, hangovers disappeared very quickly. Sleeping bags where emptied and pads packed for the short drive to Glendalough car park. I counted about 50 boulderers out in Glendalough / Glendo on Saturday which is a healthy turnout for any climbing location in Ireland. Ireland has a small and spread out climbing community and it was good to see people make the effort to drive in the midst of a mixed forecast. Those brave enough where welcomed by excellent conditions, 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.

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

Saturday was a stunning day and with the locals on hand to guide the ´newbies´ to Glendo, the boulders where literally being crawled upon. Glendo is a maze of boulders, of various heights and sizes, without a personal guide or bouldering guide (see www.theshortspan.com), it´s easy to miss some classic problems.

Joan Mulloy stretching for some sharp crimps. ph. Micheal O´Dwyer

With the forecast bad for Sunday, Saturday turned into a long day with the sharp granite of Glendo slowly destroying the fingertips of most. The rain stayed away and the sun continued to shine, with the last boulderers leaving the valley in the last lights of the day.

Rowan Druce working a highball project (?) with a sketchy landing. ph. Gregor

With Sunday expected to be bad tired climbers headed to the bar for some superb and well-earned Guiness. Those pure of heart who stayed in the hut witnessed the stunning Lunar eclipse and some incredibly bad dancing in the local hotel.Just like last year, and as forecast, 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 real pity as the wicklow hills holds many beautiful bouldering locations which those who had travelled from afar never got to explore. Next year…

Looking back down the stunning Glendalough Valley. ph. Brian McAlinden

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 so many boulderers gathered together in one place. Bouldering in Ireland is a minority activity within a minority activity so it´s important to 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. “ The next meet will be held in March ´08. Keep an eye out on www.theshortspan.com for information.