June 25, 2023
Where do I begin?
Ireland is everything and more than I anticipated it to be. I’m truly in love with this place. the landscape, the people, the culture, the history, simply everything is immaculate and otherworldly. There are simply no words to express how mesmerized I am with this place.
Which brings me to today—because I am so mesmerized by the landscape I decided to hike the landscape.
Ladies and gents, Dani is hiking some world-class trails!!!
When I first arrived in Ireland and headed to Waterford with the group, a couple of people said, “Wait there are mountains in Ireland?”, it made me chuckle. That comment would set off something in me internally—an unexplainable urge to hike these mountains and get up close and personal with the landscape I often saw in the distance.
So, without any training, stretching, or mental preparation, I headed out to Lemybrien to commence my ascent to the top of these distant mountains I often found myself daydreaming about.
On my way to Lemybrien, I had no idea what I was up against. I didn’t have a plan, didn’t know if a trailhead existed, and didn’t know exactly where I was going. I just simply dropped a pin location after biking past these mountains from Dungarvan. So I did as one would do—research—on my way to Lemybrien.
I so frantically looked for a clue or at least a name to where I was going. To my surprise, others have also been mesmerized by these mountains.
But to my surprise, there was a lake tucked in between these mountains.
it was almost like a bowl of cereal with that last bit of milk sitting at the bottom (at least that’s what it looked like to me).
The place I was headed to: Coumshingaun Lough
According to one Google review: Nicky Ch, « Great mountain, nice views but cursed. Almost died
Would go again 3/5 stars »
That’s the one, and there was definitely a trailhead.
I finally got to Lemybrien—didn’t know this then but the bus didn’t take me to where I needed to go. It dropped me off five miles away from the trailhead.
So I did what any normal person would do—walk there and occasionally stick my thumb in hopes that I could hitch a ride over…
Long story short: never hitched a ride and a five-minute car ride to the trailhead would turn into a 2-hour walk to the trailhead
It was a hiking pre-game. No complaints here…other than the fact Ireland’s weather decided to cooperate and hit the low 20s instead of its usual 15° and rainy weather.
As I hiked for 5 miles, I was continuously taunted by the range of mountains. I couldn’t get there any faster. I was itching to scale, climb, and run up the jagged rock formations. I was itching to see what the curse was. I was dying to see the lake people raved about on Google reviews.
5 miles was simply way too long for someone who was itching to be on top of the world.
But the walk did me well. It taught me patience and it taught me that hitchhiking is best executed by Hollywood. But alas I made it.
2 hours later…
The ascent was anything but easy. The terrain was something I wasn’t used to. The roaming goats continuously gave me an unsettling feeling (unpredictability from these cute animals is VERY unsettling when on a cliff), and the lack of food and snacks I had only made things worse.
I was connected with nature and finally away from the city. It was all I could ask for.
As I scaled up the mountain to get to my 1st stop (the lake) I would continuously stop for pebbles and rocks—why I just did.
I would pick up and collect rocks that either caught my attention, were big enough to defend me if a goat so happened to charge at me, or if they resonated with me, I don’t know. Again don’t ask me what that means or why I collected rocks—it’s simply me tapping into my inner child.
When I finally made it to the top of the first summit I turned back to see how far I had come on my journey. I was mesmerized. endless fields of green. endless hills and valleys of green. it was picture-perfect. I took it all in.
Took in that moment.
I turned back around to also be mesmerized. The lake.
If I was good at writing or speaking my feelings I would tell you how I felt and what I saw in that moment.
But I simply cannot.
There aren’t words for what I witnessed and saw at that moment.
I was speechless.
I simply just sat
and took in that moment.
How did I get this lucky to be here?
I almost felt gross with myself.
How am I enjoying this without the people I love the most?
How is that even legal?
I felt selfish.
I couldn’t and still can’t wrap my head around how I was able to see that view.
It was straight out of Star Wars, or Jurassic Park. It was ethereal.
AND I COULDN’T SHARE THAT MOMENT WITH MY FAMILY?? crazy.
I was in the bowl-shaped formation I had seen on Google. I was in the cereal bowl. Except what I was seeing was far better than any picture Google could’ve offered me. It was beautiful.
I simply had to seek out more.
So I did.
I hiked up to the top of the cereal bowl.
It was not an easy task.
After 4 hail storms, 2 thunderstorms, and 1 rainbow later, I would make it to the top.
It wasn’t easy. I was freezing, wet, dirty, and unprepared, but I was the happiest I had been in a long time. The hailstorms were refreshing. I was able to eat an ungodly amount of ice—provided by the universe <3
I was also able to witness hail. I felt like the sloth from the ice age—hail hurts when it hit your frozen-feeling skin.
And the cold rain cooled me off and potentially washed away the horrid smell of sweat and goat poop off me.
Count your blessings y’all.
Again, Ireland never fails to surprise one, and that view it provided me from the top of the cereal bowl was no exception.
Simply come to Ireland and experience it yourself.
I was among the clouds. I could touch the clouds and I could see the edge of the atmosphere looking into the universe. The sky was the bluest blue.
The clouds were whiter than white and the hues of green were immaculate.
I’ve never seen so many hues of green. I was astonished. I was “shook”. I was the breeze flowing through the tall grass. I saw the birds fly without flapping their wings and instead gliding effortlessly using the win to their advantage.
I was home.
I didn’t do much up there. I didn’t say much up there. I just sat and enjoyed the moment. I let the moment consume me.
There are simply no words for what I saw. I simply came up to these strange and mysterious mountains because they taunted me.
I didn’t know that they would open my eyes to a different world. To a different version of Ireland.
I walked up 10 miles to find myself speechless and in awe. I walked up 10 miles with no plan just a pinned location.
I walked up 10 miles with no training, no equipment, and no mental preparation.
But at the summit, I felt the most alive and accomplished I’ve felt in a long time. No amount of preparation, training, or equipment would prepare me for what I saw and what I experienced internally while sitting at the top of the summit.
I ascended to the top of these mountains unknowing of what to find and expect—only to find what I had been searching for
Drenched, cold, tired, and at peace. I had climbed mountains in school and my personal life—never-ending mountains.
They never seemed to end. Every time I would reach a summit there would be more to climb. More adversity to face. It felt never-ending—until I reached the summit of Coumshingaun Lough.
I have peaked through years of adversity and never-ending mountains of struggle. I am finally free at the top. Problems? Nonexistent.
Homework? What’s that?
Dani? At the top of the world.
I could finally look off into the horizon. Looking back at how far I had come to get to where I was at that very moment.
I was on top of the world.