Killary Adventure Weekend!!!
By far the greatest few days of my time thus far in Ireland! Over a hundred of us IFSA students took over a hostel just north of Galway in Connemara. For most people it was a weekend of partying and drinking with some outdoorsy things thrown in. For me, it was a chance for everyone to leave behind their cell phones, their wifi devices, and just hang out in nature for a few days. After having spent all summer living on farms, I was hankering for a whiff of fresh air and a chance to get out of my own head.
On Saturday morning, we went Gorge walking and kayaking. I had no idea what Gorge walking entailed, but it turned out to be the most beautiful, surreal experience I’ve had since hiking Mt. Ventoux in the beginning of the summer. We heaved on our wet-suits, strapped on our helmets, and made our way up a narrow creek, scaling waterfalls with nothing but a few ropes here and there, and floating in pools under a canopy of moss-covered trees. It was one of the more Irish experiences I’ve had here. And at the same time, it unexpectedly reminded me of home. Then I got to kayak on a fjord with the greenest hills I’ve ever seen lining the shores. And every so often the sun would peak through the clouds and illuminate one spot on the hillside, making it even greener before. Jumping off of floating trampolines into the water wasn’t too shabby either. I felt like a little kid again.
After lunch I was the only one of my friends to do the Turf Challenge. Don’t be deceived by the name, cleats were not involved. I basically spent three non-stop hours running from mud pit to rope course, sliding down pipe tunnels into vats of various decaying plant life, and getting yanked out of neck-deep mud as thick (and exhausting) as quicksand, or so I imagine. Before the cliff jump into Ireland’s only true fjord, I looked like a mud-monster version of Medusa. And I was loving every second of the gag-reflex-inducing, nose-hair-burning, retina-eviscerating adventure!
Oddly enough, I felt like I was finally in my element. After weeks of being cat-called from moving taxis in the middle of the day and turning down invites to bars on school nights (drinking on a Monday…and a Tuesday…and a Thursday just feels wrong), I was glad to feel a sense of normalcy and order. Walking through the gorge and running through the mud took my mind off every complaint I have had about Ireland, every desire to be home and at school with my friends, every feeling of utter loneliness that had been occupying my mind for weeks.
Granted, I’m still counting down the days until my flight home (as are most study abroaders I know). But for just one weekend I was able to be in the present moment and enjoy every second of it. Killary is a weekend I’ll never forget!