Monday, 1 October 2012

Week Seven: Ring of Kerry

This weekend we took a trip to the Ring of Kerry (Thank you Loyola!) and we were able to spend a couple of days with everyone in our program and get to explore some of Ireland at the same time. Though the actual driving around the Ring of Kerry was slightly terrifying – we were in a coach bus and the road is incredibly narrow, and on the side of a cliff – it was stunning. On Friday night we heard from a GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) player, who told us all about the GAA sports (Gaelic Football and Hurling) and gave us demonstrations. Some of us were even called up to try it out ourselves, which went less than smoothly. After that we went to a trivia night that had been set up specially for everyone on our trip, and it was great craic. (Here, “craic” means fun.) There was a lot of whispering, even more yelling, and the occasional fist smacking the table. My team came in third, and I will never again forget that it is REM that sings “Losing My Religion.” On Saturday we stopped to have lunch at one of the best viewpoints in the Ring of Kerry, and we unpacked our picnic overlooking the most beautiful mountains and valleys. While we were eating, I felt as though having our picnic there was not enough of a commemoration of how magnificent the sight before us was. After lunch, however, we took about eight thousand pictures, so I guess that made up for it. Our next stop was to climb a mountain, literally. We even met the man who owns the mountain (can you say, things that only happen in Ireland?) and he talked to us so fast I barely understood a word he was saying. But he did say that he and his wife are trying to pave a path up the mountain so that people who are in wheelchairs or are unable to walk the hike for any reason are still able to enjoy the beautiful scenery, which I thought was really cool, especially since he said their motivation for doing that was their own daughter, whose disability prevents her from climbing her family’s mountain. At the top of the mountain we took some pictures with some cows and the beautiful scenery around. My favorite moment of this hike was looking around at one point, and seeing a cloud directly next to me, toward the edge of the mountain. Take this all in, I thought, because who can say they’ve actually walked through the clouds? That night we learned some Irish step-dancing moves, including the Siege of Ennis, which brought me right back to my own step-dancing days. Though I will barely admit it, the moves came back to me very quickly, and I was brought back to my childhood pastime (given up mainly because it conflicted with soccer too often). Though we struggled a bit at the beginning, by the end we were spinning each other around the room and doing the moves easily. I’d say we could be mistaken for Riverdance by the end…maybe. 

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