Last week, while trolling through adventure videos, I came across a short of two guys bouldering in Ireland. It was a simple, effective edit: the rock was wet, the valley was green and bracken, the guys kept finding beautiful, big, dark rocks to climb. It inspired me to abandon my search for early morning news and type “bouldering Ireland” into Google. A site named The Short Span showed up in the first two spots. I clicked. There were videos, of “Ireland’s Strongest Dad,” of “The Beast from the East” and “The Wiener from the West,” and of the 2012 Gap of Dunloe Climbing Meet. There were forums and an archive of posts packed with data on remote Irish climbing locales.
Most of the posts were written by Dave Flanagan. He included pictures and detailed tips about where and when to climb. I eventually emailed Flanagan with a few questions, including why and when he started the site.
I just wanted to share information about the great bouldering I had found. The site started in 2000, I think. No one ever asks me where the name came from, I think they assume it’s related to bouldering, but it actually is a reference to a poem by a British climber and writer Geoffrey Winthrop Young.
“In this short span between my fingertips and the smooth edge and these tense feet cramped to a crystal ledge, I hold the life of a man.”
I hadn’t asked the question either, but wished I had. Flanagan also sent his list of the five top bouldering sites in Ireland, which I did ask for. His picks are listed below. If you want to know more, you can check out The Short Span or purchase the e-book version of Bouldering Ireland.