The Wilds of Connemara

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I may be the only person in Ireland who gets excited about sheep.

The latest NUIG Mountaineering Club adventure was to Connemara, hands down the most beautiful place I’ve been in the past three weeks. The hills roll on carpeted by deep green and furry grasses and dotted with brown and purple heather plants. The mountain summits are rocky outcroppings which rise steeply from the farmland below. This is also one area of Ireland where Irish is frequently spoken.

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With a clear 70 degree day (something much lower in celsius….) we could see all the way to the sea

In the medium group, we hiked fast enough to summit three peaks, but slow enough to lounge around on the highest one for lunch and stock to sample starchy red berries from trees at the lower elevations. Frequently, while hiking in the grasses, hikers would fall into deep pits of bog where mud would eat up your shoes. Thankfully, all the landings were soft as the grass was so deep and cushy. Plush.

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We decided to take a break on the descent. What I would give to live in this grass forever! **Thanks to a friend who took this picture 🙂
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The apporach to the third and final summit…nearing the edge of the world!
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A friend and I agreed that we were wandering through the landscape of an epic fantasy novel.
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Over the edge!
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Kylemore Abbey, a Benedictine Monastery founded in 1920 on the grounds of Kylemore Castle

Our hike ended at Kylemore Abbey where we were allowed to dip our sore feet in the pond, but go no further. The historic landmark was recently restored and there’s a decent entry fee for those who are willing to pay. We were happy to admire the architecture from the outside, although I read up a bit about the history since leaving and discovered it’s pretty interesting. Nuns fleeing Belgium in World War I founded the monastery as a safe haven for their ministry. Far up on the hill on the edge of a steep cliff, a statue of Jesus presides over the creatures roaming the hills.

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