This weekend I embarked on one of the loftiest hikes of my life; the location was Croagh Patrick. Croagh Patrick is a 2,507 mountain found in County Mayo not far from Westport. When our group was originally asked if we would be interested in going many of us did not know what we were getting into. We did not understand why people standing at the beginning of the path were wishing us good luck. It did not take long however for us to find out the meaning behind their remarks as the path quickly became steep and rocky. The path was wide at first, but narrowed as we made progress towards the top. There were other hikers who were joining us on our way up and some who had made it to the top already and were coming down. This caused problems as the path became so bottle-necked that no more then 2-3 people could pass at a time without being on the edge of a several hundred feet drop. To make this scenario more precarious the incline was close to 70 degree slant.
Once we made it to the top the view was a letdown. This was because we were so high that we were actually in a cloud. We decided to wait to see if the cloud would pass and it did, rendering the most spectacular views I have ever seen. One could look out for hundreds of miles. The town where we started was all but a dot in the distant landscape. After some time we reluctantly made our way down the rocky slants and arrived at our hostel for a much needed rest.
The next day we went to Kylemore Abbey, a Benedictine order of nuns. It is more known for the castle which was built by a man named Mitchell Henry. He built the castle for his wife who fell in love with the land. It is a story not too different with that of the Taj Mahal. It is a spectacular piece of architecture with a view straight from a fairytale.
Once our time was done at the abbey we went to Connemara National Park. This region of land is known for impressive winds and extensive bogs. We hiked around the base of a mountain and again were rewarded with great views of not only landscape, but unique flowers as well. One in particular is known as the Sundew. It is a plant that eats insects as the bog land is not nutrient rich. This visit to Connemara National Park ended our weekend and we began our way home, many of us passing out on the bus ride back.