Hey everyone!! I am halfway through my study abroad trip in Ireland! Recently we adventured to the scenic peninsula of Howth in the Republic of Ireland. While there I embarked on an unforgettable hike that took me to new heights, both figuratively and literally. Our adventure began with a visit to the historic Howth Castle grounds, where we partook in a captivating lecture by a guest lecturer.
As the lecture concluded, our knowledgeable guest lecturer intrigued us with the prospect of a leisurely 45-minute hike to a summit or a bus ride up to the summit. Some people decided to take the beautiful bus ride up to the summit, I was tempted to go with them. However, I decided to embrace the challenge, fully aware that I might be pushed beyond my comfort zone. I am so glad I did. In the beginning, we were very excited to take a nice walk through Howth and up to the summit. However, we did not know what was in store for us.
What was supposed to be a 45-minute short hike turned into an unexpectedly challenging two-hour uphill hike through muddy terrain. Our guest lecturer had miscalculated the timing, basing it on his own experience during drier days. As we climbed up, the rain from earlier that morning had caused the trail to become very muddy, which was not easy, especially at the steep inclines. With a group of over 15 individuals, each with varying levels of fitness, the hike proved to be more challenging than anticipated. I had also not been on such a strenuous hike since my back surgery last summer, or even before that due to my chronic back problems. At many points during the hike, I felt like giving up, but I knew that I had to keep going in order to experience the beautiful views that I had dreamed of seeing.
There were multiple times we had the opportunity to stop and catch our breaths (sort of), at these times we saw amazing and gorgeous views. We also got to see and experience places that are in Irish mythology. As I trudged through the mud and persevered through the steep inclines, a sense of accomplishment washed over me whenever we had the opportunity to stop and take in the mountains, coastline, and nature. This is everything that I had ever wanted. I was doing this!
Once we had made it to the summit we took another walk to see the coast. The panoramic views that greeted us from the top were nothing short of breathtaking. The hills stretched so far and were so vibrant with hues of green. The ocean was so blue and endless. I couldn’t help but feel a profound connection to the land as if the very essence of Ireland’s rich heritage was embedded in those landscapes.
Everything about this hike was so transformative for me. It proved to me that I could do everything I wanted in Ireland. I wasn’t going to be held back by physical challenges and was going to be able to embrace all opportunities. I didn’t need to be afraid of my back holding me back. I felt the anxiety drift away at the top of the summit, I knew I would be able to trek every trail that was going to be given to us.
The hike had not only tested my physical endurance but also awakened my senses to the wonders of Ireland. It reminded me of the importance of embracing the unexpected and seizing every opportunity for growth and exploration. Sometimes, the most rewarding experiences come from pushing ourselves beyond what we thought possible.
In the pictures above, I’ve included a collection of photographs from my hike that I loved most. Some from the top of the summit, some of the coast, and just some of the beautiful nature we saw on the hike.
Thanks for reading!!! <3