Mountains and Mud!
Well I can officially say that I have been zip-lining, cliff jumping, abseiling, and covered head to toe in mud, and it’s all thanks to Adventure Weekend in Killary! Last weekend, IFSA butler took us 3 and a half hours away from Dublin to the middle of nowhere where we met up with all of the other people from the IFSA Ireland programs. We spent Saturday and Sunday doing very adventurous outdoor activities, and we spent the nights doing very typical Irish things: hanging out, dancing, and drinking.
After a long, bumpy ride down to Killary, we finally arrived at the hostel, which was miles from the nearest town. My friends and I were craving a late night pizza, but unfortunately the nearest pizza place was over 20 kilometers away, and no matter how much begging, they wouldn’t deliver. Friday night was pretty relaxed, with the exception of a very intense trivia game. Part of the trivia game included a scavenger hunt, which my team won, so we got a shot of beer for our victory!
The real fun began on Saturday morning when we started doing the outdoor activities. My friends and I all did zip-lining and the high ropes course first. The spectacular views combined with the nonstop adrenaline made the whole experience surreal. The zip-lining course started from a 3 story tall structure, and ended right before a huge pine tree. I was going so fast near the end that I thought I was going to hit the tree! After you stop at the tree and slide back to the middle of the course, you are supposed to drop your rope about 50 feet to the people on the ground so they can steady you while you let yourself down. I forgot to let my rope down, and once I finally did, it was all tangled up, so the people on the ground couldn’t help me. After the instructor trekked through the grass and mud to pull me back, I was finally able to get down. Even though I was really struggling, it was so much fun, and I was laughing so hard by the time I got to the ground!
Our next activity was the high ropes course, which was absolutely terrifying. The actual ropes course wasn’t too bad; it was exhausting, but after making it to the top, the adrenaline rush was worth it! The scary part was the trapeze. Basically, you and your partner are each attached to a rope, and you climb a 25-foot free-standing pole. Once you both make it to the top, you reach out and jump for a trapeze that is floating a few feet in front of you. I went with my friend Sarah, who is deathly afraid of heights, and I’m not too good with them either, so we were both freaking out. Once we both made it to the top, the instructors counted down for us to jump, but when they got to the Jump! part, neither of us went! We were so terrified! After some cajoling from everyone on the ground, and promises that we wouldn’t die, Sarah and I both jumped off the pole, but instead of reaching out for the trapeze, we just grabbed on to each other and hung 25 feet in the air. At the time it was terrifying, but once we were hanging in the air, it was incredible.
Saturday afternoon was possibly one of the most bizarre three hours of my life. After we put on our wetsuits (which took awhile), we began the “Turf Challenge”, which is basically a mud run. Now, a mud run might not seem like a hard or daunting task, but it was intense. We went through obstacle courses in mud, swimming pools of mud, mountains of mud, and tunnels of mud.
After each mud course, we would do a water course, so we could rinse off our wetsuits, but no matter how much water we went in, we were still covered in mud. At one point, my friend Vanessa got her leg stuck in the mud. I was the only one near her, so I tried to help her, but then we both got stuck. Our instructor, Jono, thought it was funny to just watch us, but after struggling for about 5 minutes, he finally took pity on us and got us out of the mud. The last part of the mud run was probably my favorite because it was also the scariest. We jumped off a cliff that was about 10 feet above the lake. I am very afraid of heights, so the 10 foot cliff felt a lot higher. I wasn’t going to jump because I was so scared, but my friends convinced me, and it was so worth it! Although the water was freezing, it was so refreshing, and the perfect way to end a day of being covered in mud!
After all of the amazing activities on Saturday, we were all exhausted, but there was a disco that we could not miss! My friends and I danced for most of the night, which was a blast. We met a lot of other people from the different schools in Ireland, which was fun too. On Sunday morning, my friends and I were able to go abseiling and on the giant swing. Abseiling was scary at first because the only thing holding you four stories high is a rope that you control. Even though it was scary at first, it was also exhilarating!
The giant swing was also a lot of fun, and you even feel like you are free falling for a few seconds! It doesn’t look like it would be that scary from the ground, but once you are raised up, you realize just how high up you are. The best part is right after you pull the string when you and your partner just free fall! Even thinking about it now, my stomach starts to drop!
Adventure Weekend was probably the best weekend I have had in Ireland so far. Between laughing with my friends, freaking out over the heights, and overcoming my fears, it was an incredible experience. I will probably never be able to go zip-lining in Ireland again, and the chances of me abseiling down a four story building are also slim to none. The combination of the gorgeous scenery, the pure adrenaline rush, and the sense of serenity made this a weekend I will never forget.
That’s it for now!