This time last week during a weeks holiday to both counties Sligo and Mayo, in the norths west of Ireland, we hiked up Croagh Patrick or “The reek” as locals know of it. This mountain is one of Irelands Highest peeks and is most famous for being climbed by pilgrims on Reek Sunday every year, which is the last Sunday of each July. On this Sunday, thousands of pilgrims climb Croagh Patrick in honor of Saint Patrick who, according to tradition, fasted and prayed on the summit for forty days in the year 441.
It has been a personal aim to walk the peeks of a list of mountains in Ireland for a couple of years and “The Reek” is just one of these mountains to hike in the next couple of years.
The weather on the day was perfect and we started our walk about Midday having driven some 80km to the main car park used to start the hike. The start of the walk is good, being flat for a while and then only slowly rising in level, so you get a little time to warmup before the main slopes higher up the mountain side. Once you hike the first slopes the path levels off for a while until you come to the bottom of the main peek.
I really enjoyed this hike, its hard – no getting away from that fact but when you do finally get to the top the views are amazing, you can see most of county Mayo and well into county Sligo from here. there is a step that surrounds a small chapel that you can sit on to eat and have something to drink. We rested here for about 10 mins before walking around the top of the peek.
As you can see these images below are mostly taken at the top, when I finally go to open my bag and get my camera out. As I said you truly feel on top of the world here, this point is some 764 metres (2,507 ft) above sea level, not the highest mountain in the country by about 250 meters but here you start your walk at sea level so it could well be the highest distance you have to walk to get to the top…..
I will let these images do the rest of the talking for me other than to say , this is one of the most enjoyable walks of my life and I cannot wait to walk more Irish mountains in the months yo come ..
Croagh Patrick, County Mayo, A gallery
Carrauntoohil (/ˌkærənˈtuːl/, Irish: Corrán Tuathail) is the highest peak on the island of Ireland. Located in County Kerry, it is 1,038 metres (3,406 feet) high and is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range. The ridge northward leads to Ireland’s second-highest peak, Beenkeragh at 1,010 m (3,310 ft), while the ridge westward leads to the third-highest peak, Caher at 1,001 m (3,284 ft). Carrauntoohil overlooks three bowl-shaped valleys, each with its own lakes. To the east is Hag’s Glen or Coomcallee (Com Caillí, “hollow of the Cailleach”), to the west is Coomloughra (Com Luachra, “hollow of the rushes”) and to the south is Curragh More (Currach Mór, “great marsh”).
Carrauntoohil is classed as a Furth by the Scottish Mountaineering Club, i.e. a mountain greater than 3,000 ft (910 m) high that is outside (or furth of) Scotland, which is why it is sometimes referred to as one of the Irish Munros.
A Panoramic image of the county Tipperary mountain slievenamon, We had a lot of Snow locally last Sunday and today Friday the only snow to be found was at the top of the mountain. Its a little Hard to present Panoramic images on a blog like this one, so I hope that you will click on the image to get the full size version.
This view is from the road at the bottom of the path used to walk to the top on the mountain, the path is up-hill all the way and as such while its not a long walk its a demanding one. When you get to the top however the views are well worth the energy and time spent 🙂
Flying above a layer of mountain tops
Blue snow clouds, deep blue, yellow and white
It looks like the snow-coated hills,
are covered in snowdrifts and gaps,
where the winter heather peeks through,
Walking with carefully so you Don’t fall
down into the drifts.
It was just before dusk
When he started his climb
The path grew narrow
So the dog went ahead
It grew rocky and steep
But the old man kept up
Not knowing the dog
Had slowed his pace
The old man thought back
To his very first climb
That summer evening
Of his twelfth year
All alone on the mountain
A heaven full of stars
A rock for his pillow
He talked to the moon
He asked many questions
He called his ancestors by name
The heavens answered him
With many signs and sounds
That were later explained to him
By the tribal Medicine Man
A man who came to play
A very important part in his life
He became a warrior that year
He learned much from his family
The tribal customs and traditions
Were ingrained in his soul
He was a good listener
And was comfortable with words
He was accepted by the coucil
At a very young age
He had the strength of his father
The patience of his mother
The intelligence of his grandmother
And the wisdom of his grandfather
He learned how to guide
Not only himself but others
He had become all things
To all of those around him
He was a good chief
But his days were dwindling
His mind kept going back
Over all the things he had done
No regrets, no what ifs
Knowing he did his best
But things were changing
It was the dawn of a new era
The old man reached the ledge
Where he had stood many times
Since being that boy of twelve
And he was still awed
By the beauty of the heavens
The stars seemed so close
You could reach out and touch them
And that night, he did
Carrauntoohil (/ˌkærənˈtuːl/, Irish: Corrán Tuathail)
The highest peak on the island of Ireland. Located in County Kerry, Ireland it is 1,038 metres (3,406 ft) high and is the central peak of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks range. The ridge northward leads to Ireland’s second-highest peak, Beenkeragh (1,010 m), while the ridge westward leads to the third-highest peak, Caher (1,001 m). Carrauntoohil overlooks three bowl-shaped valleys, each with its own lakes. To the east is Hag’s Glen or Coomcallee (Com Caillí, “hollow of the Cailleach”), to the west is Coomloughra (Com Luachra, “hollow of the rushes”) and to the south is Curragh More (Currach Mór, “great marsh”).
The summit of Carrauntoohil
Carrauntoohil is classed as a Furth by the Scottish Mountaineering Club, i.e. a mountain greater than three thousand feet high that is outside (or furth of) Scotland, which is why it is sometimes referred to as one of the Irish Munros.
The Macgillycuddy’s Reeks also contains many loughs of which lough callee is just one, the image above was taken last week while approaching the devils ladder route up to carrauntoohil Mountain peek. The morning was misty yet lots of wonderful light was finding its way on the the green slopes and the deep water of the lough, the mountain top is some distance above this level and hidden in the mist ……
The last Sunset of May 2016
The last days of May 2016, here in Ireland have been blessed with prefect springtime weather, bright and warm until well into the evening time, so yesterday evening when we both got home around 6pm we decided to pack a small meal and get outside to walk up our local mountain of Slievenamon, county tipperary.
It was a perfect evening and the views from the top of the mountain were just stunning in the evening sun. On getting to the top we eat our food and just enjoyed walking around the summit, taking in the 380deg view of the landscape below.
This was a perfect way the end the Month of May 2016 🙂 🙂
Slievenamon, county Tipperary : The last Sunset of May 2016, Gallery
A simple old story this one but filled with such a simple truth.
Folktales and Fables : The North Wind and the Sun
The North Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger, when a traveler came along wrapped in a warm cloak. They agreed that the one who first succeeded in making the traveler take his cloak off should be considered stronger than the other.Then the North Wind blew as hard as he could, but the more he blew the more closely did the traveler fold his cloak around him; and at last the North Wind gave up the attempt. Then the Sun shined out warmly, and immediately the traveler took off his cloak.
And so the North Wind was obliged to confess that the Sun was the stronger of the two.
The story concerns a competition between the North wind and the Sun to decide which is the stronger of the two. The challenge was to make a passing traveler remove his cloak. However hard the North Wind blew, the traveler only wrapped his cloak tighter to keep warm, but when the Sun shone, the traveler was overcome with heat and soon took his cloak off.
The fable was well known in Ancient Greece; Athenaeus recorded that Hieronymus of Rhodes, in his Historical Notes, quotes an epigram of Sophocles against Euripides which parodies the story of Helios and Boreas. It relates how Sophocles had his cloak stolen by a boy to whom he had made love. Euripides joked that he had had that boy too and it did not cost him anything. Sophocles’ reply satirises the adulteries of Euripides: “It was the Sun, and not a boy, whose heat stripped me naked; as for you, Euripides, when you were kissing someone else’s wife the North Wind screwed you. You are unwise, you who sow in another’s field, to accuse Eros of being a snatch-thief.”
The Latin version of the fable first appears centuries later in Avianus as De Vento et Sole (Of the wind and the sun, Fable 4), early versions in English and Johann Gottfried Herder’s poetic version in German (Wind und Sonne) also give it as such. It is only in mid-Victorian times that the title “The North Wind and the Sun” begins to be used. In fact the Avianus poem refers to the characters as Boreas and Phoebus, the gods of the north wind and the sun, and it is under the title Phébus et Borée that it appears in La Fontaine’s Fables (VI.3).
Victorian versions give the moral as “Persuasion is better than force”, but it has been put in different ways at other times. In the Barlow edition of 1667, Aphra Behn teaches the Stoic lesson that there should be moderation in everything: “In every passion moderation choose,/For all extremes do bad effects produce”, while La Fontaine’s conclusion is that “Gentleness does more than violence” (Fables VI.3). In the 18th century, Herder comes to the theological conclusion that, while superior force leaves us cold, the warmth of Christ’s love dispels it, and Walter Crane’s limerick version of 1887 gives a psychological interpretation, “True strength is not bluster”. Most of these examples draw a moral lesson, but La Fontaine hints at the political application that is present also in Avianus’ conclusion: “They cannot win who start with threats”. There is evidence that this reading has had an explicit influence on the diplomacy of modern times: in South Korea’s Sunshine Policy, for instance, or Japanese relations with the military regime in Burma.
The Last afternoon of March 2016
This afternoon is bright and sunny
between the mountain clouds,
Springtime is in the air,
The weather is mild on this late March afternoon,
the breath of April is rising fast,
I am alone on the quiet mountain top
looking down on an old untried illusion
Some shadows sit on the green landscape below
memory’s rise from their sleep,
The crows fly above while others rest
on the stone walls of this mountain side,
In the air as hunting birds call
the fast hover of the kestrels wings.