I’d love to tell you about one of my favorite parts about studying abroad. It’s the opportunity to explore the local landscape and nature!
During my time here in Ireland, I have been staying on the most western coast of the island, in the Connemara region of County Galway. This region is known for being the most ‘authentically Irish’ and the most beautiful in its landscape. Connemara is surrounded by the Atlantic ocean, and bordered by multiple mountain ranges, as well as containing many bogs and fields.
Being surrounded by such natural beauty, I decided to make the most of it and hike around the region as much as I could. I often take shorter 2 two mile hikes to my favorite beach along the ocean, and spend lots of time just reading and gazing across the sea.
I also climbed to the summit of Diamond Hill, a small mountain in the local town of Letterfrack, where I intern at the radio station. This was one of the most difficult experiences of my life. I have been slowly conditioning myself throughout this semester to do longer and more difficult hikes, and this was definitely the final achievement of my conditioning.
It was a long, steep, and wind trek up and down the mountain, but I am so glad I did it. Being in such a region has helped me do things I never thought I could do. I’ve discovered my hiker within, and have found a new passion for exploring nature, and plan to explore my hometown for more hikes when I get back to the United States.
I have also learned the profound effect spending time in nature can have on my interior life. I found it so much easier to meditate and pray when I hike to the beach. The shore becomes a place of meditative silence, as I listen to the waves crash in a rhythmic pattern.
It does feel strange that I had to travel thousands of miles away from my home to make this discovery, but it does feel as if I have discovered a world that had been hidden to me before. Studying in Ireland has created a new appreciation in me for the beauty and truth that can be revealed in nature. I am so glad I had this opportunity to adventure in a new country!
Here is a picture of my favorite beach hike!
Until next time my friends,
Enjoy the beauty of nature all around you!