Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Lose me to This Land

This one is for the nature lovers. The story behind the photos on Facebook. As you know I'm a poetry chaser and that's what I did this past weekend...wild huge waters, rolling green hills, cows grazing by the sea, sheep on steep hills, rocks and waterfalls. The beauty this time actually hurt my mind, as I took so many pictures with my eyes, at night I couldn't fall asleep because they kept rolling through my head.

This was a Heritage Weekend Trip, taken mostly by international students, and I'm so glad I went because I happened to be in the same group as several other friends I've made since coming here. Among them were Morgan my super-tough-adventurous friend, Lexie my similar-to-me business friend and awesome person, Christina my good-cooker flatmate, as well as some guys & girls from France, Germany, and Austria. I had a moment, while out adventuring with these incredible people where I thought,"Wow, what a treasure, to be be here in this incredible place, at this time of my life, with these very people!" Never can it be repeated quite the same way down the road. Anyway, we left for Co. Kerry on Friday afternoon and it took a little over an hour to get there. After a week of classes at the university here in the city, we were all just so grateful to get out of town for a little. And seriously, the scenery got better and better every few miles for the whole weekend. We drove by the river and cow field after cow field, when all of the sudden we came into mountainous territory, and then between two mountains out of nowhere, popped the sea! Me and my friend Lexie's jaws literally dropped open and stayed there. We couldn't believe our eyes. Pictures don't do it justice.

That was Friday evening. I ate salmon and warm chocolate fudge cake for dinner. The hotel we stayed at, in a quiet little town, was super clean and comfortable. After breakfast in the morning, we all took off across the bridge and stopped on the other side, getting out to the sun just BEAMing in on our faces and glowing all over the fishing village. We went into a tourist place to watch something called the "Skelling Island Experience", which blew my mind. See those islands above? Well somewhere around the 9th and 10th centuries, the Monks boated out to these rocky, steep mountains in the middle of the sea and decided to live there! They might not look too huge right here, but they actually are. Over several years, the monks carved stares out of rock, all the way up to the top. And they build their houses and monasteries out of pieces of sheet rock. I so very much wished to go out to the islands themselves rather than just viewing them, but they were eight miles out, and they said the sea waters can change pretty fast when boating out. Though we didn't do it this time, it is totally possible to book a boat trip out there on your own.  

The next venture of the day was climbing a hill that a farmer owns, where he has cows and sheep and lets tourists walk up road to the top. At the top, their was a massive 360-degree view of Venetia Island, which we were on. And I'd been waiting to see some sheep since I started this trip, and here they were all around me! I was up so high, way above the lighthouse, with vast expanse of the Atlantic on three sides of me, and Irish farm fields and villages on the fourth side. Speechless, breathless after the trek to the top, yet  my heart burst to fill up and pop again. It's like as God told Job long long ago: "Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this."(Job 38:18). No, I can't comprehend, especially after seeing that! It totally blew what I thought I'd already seen!

The sky and sunshine were brilliant for our adventures, which I hear is more rare in this area.
Especially for October. I felt so blessed. And I didn't want to leave, like ever! But, of course we had to, and it was okay because the next stop was a castle anyhow.And I didn't know this until I got there, but it turned out to be the same castle from the movie "Leap Year". Very cool! Just so you know the movie doesn't show it quite right, but you should still watch it for sakes. For instance, we didn't notice a train station right down the hill, plus the hill going up into the castle isn't big at all. Oh man, it was so awesome to be able to climb up freely into the walls of an ancient castle without guards, rules, and worrying about safety too much. There were a few potentially dangerous climbs, but oh well! The inside of those castles aren't always as big as they look on the inside because the walls are so thick. That's also why they hold up so well after all these years. There were all these cubby-hole 'windows' too in the walls, and it was splendid to look out the very same seeing holes on the same land that kings and lords looked out of hundreds of years ago. We also explored a couple ancient forts, which are also in greatly preserved after so many years. Imagine "Zena the Warrior Princess" type stuff. People hoarding into a circular fort to keep safe from the invaders.

After visiting these sites, some of us, including me, decided to take a long country walk back to our hotel, which took at least an hour. It was totally worth it. Since I still hadn't wanted to leave anyway, it was great just to walk and walk till I was worn out. I was willing to just get lost in this kind of beauty.

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