July 23, 2012

a whole lotta walkin': glendalough

On our fourth day in Ireland, we took to the mountains...I'd heard about and seen pictures of Glendalough at Evin's house, but still wasn't prepared for what was in store.  We arrived amongst swarms of tourists from all over and began our walk toward the monastic settlement shown in many of the photos I'd seen.  Apparently in the past, Evin's family had the place to themselves, but the day we were there you could hardly take a photo without people popping up somewhere.  After wandering shortly around the old gravestones and buildings (I marveled at the tall round tower, built many centuries ago) we then headed toward the big lake.  This was the first taste of how much walking was in store for us this day...a little over a mile just to get to the upper lake (passing a neat mossy forest on the way).  From there we looked up and, seeing folks on top of the mountains, thought it might be cool to check out that view.  So of course, we found the trail and began upwards...lunch in the car, mind you.  I'm not much for hiking steep inclines and complained a lot, especially since I was getting hungry, but Evin gave me an apple from his bag and then it wasn't so bad (at that point, it seemed like the most delicious apple ever).  We climbed a massive series of wooden planks built to control erosion on the slope, which I thought was really impressive and must have taken many men to complete.  It didn't take too terribly long to reach the top, where the view was breathtaking...and from there, we walked like goats (I always think of goats when walking atop mountains) all the way around the lake, stopping to look down crevices to the black lake hundreds of feet below.  It was so beautiful walking along the top, spotting animals here and there, but I was really glad to be back at the car with our sandwiches and chips.  I can't remember exactly the number, but I think I calculated that we walked 10 miles (maybe more) on this day.  After we got home, collapsing on the floor seemed like a good option...but we took Grandpa to the pub for what I consider a well-deserved pint.

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