Tuesday, July 13, 2010

wilderness weekend

this past weekend we had another busy few days over in ireland. as a whole group this time, we made another trip to the west side of the country, to connemara. we had stopped there very briefly on our first trip, but im glad we got to go again. our hostel was pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but i didnt mind a whole lot. it was nice to see the outdoors so up close, ive never seen countryside the way i see it here, it is truly breathtaking (besides, the 20 something of us are perfectly able to make our own fun for two days. and did we ever) despite the copius amounts of rain and a few bedbug bites the weekend was a success.

our first stop on friday was in galway for a quick visit. we had a bite of lunch and paroused the shops, didnt buy anything though. then on to the hostel, where we proceeded to (with bulmers in hand!) climb fences, mountains, and bogs in the pouring rain. chasing sheep, catching frogs, and enjoying every single minute of it. now our clothes and shoes took a beating but it was completely worth it.

so many street performers in galway. (ps. we stopped in galway on sunday for lunch and this little sand dog had puppies :))
home of the claddagh ring.
original "white o' morning" cottage from the Quiet Man
the closest thing ive gotten to american diner food :)

have i mentioned i am in love with sheep yet?
picture perfect.

on saturday we went to kylemore abbey, which is an actual working abbey at the moment which used to be a finishing school for girls. in fact their last two students finished a few months ago. the lower part was open for us to tour around. it was truly an emotional visit, one that i almost couldn't quite handle. after a lot of tears, hugs, and prayers sent around the group of us experienced one of the most humbling and touching days of our lives. as we sat in that church we all fell completely silent..everyone sitting, standing, and just soaking it all in, in their own special way. it was life-changing to say the least, which is how im starting to feel about everything in this trip. ireland has this aura about it for me..something i dont think ill ever quite be able to explain.

half the group in front of the abbey
kylemore abbey entrance.
so many gorgeous things.

the beautiful church.
kylemore abbey gardens.

hunting for 4-leaf clovers?
connemara national park.
profs. and kids included :)
after we left the abbey we went to connemara national park, filled with even more gorgeous scenery. and some of the boys even made it all the way to the highest peak! (quite impressive :)) after a quick stop for dinner in cong, and an reinacment of the Quiet Man at the museum there we headed back for the night, filled with more card games, a few sips of wine, and a game of pictionary. i feel so close to everyone after this weekend, it is funny how you can be so connected to a group of people you have almost just met. these places and people will have such a huge part in my life forever.

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