Travel

The Time I Climbed a Mountain and Marched in a Parade

So, from the title of this post, I think you can pretty much guess what this is going to be about. I climbed a mountain. I marched in a parade. Seems like a very straight-forward, “duh” kind of thing, right? Wrong! What if I didn’t give you all of the important parts that make two simple facts (climbing a mountain and marching in a parade) into suddenly much more interesting stories or statements? Because, let’s face it. A lot of people climb mountains (Mount Everest anyone?). Heck, I know people who have voluntarily run up them. Not because they were in a race or being chased by a bear but because they thought it would be a fun thing to do. *cough* I’m talking to you, cross country people *cough* A lot of people also have marched or otherwise participated in parades. Christmas parade anyone? I was one of them. When I was in marching band we marched in a Veteran’s Day parade and several local Christmas parades. Good Lord I hated them. The physical marching, not the parades. In case anyone was wondering (or cares) parade marching is soo much more painful than competitions if you are prone to shin-splints. But I digress. The point is, a lot of people have done both, so what makes my two stories so extraordinary?

Let’s say, for example, that instead of climbing a mountain I climbed a tomb that just so happened to reside on top of a mountain. And let’s say that instead of any ole parade it was the St Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Dublin, Ireland….those little bits of information suddenly made things more interesting didn’t they? So maybe I should have titled this “The Time I climbed a tomb and Pretended to be a Leprechaun.” You know, because I’m not particularly tall and I was wearing green so…leprechaun. Bear with me here people.

The mountain adventure actually happened first though both of these took place over a single weekend. It was a Roberta trip. We drove over to Sligo, which for those of you who don’t know, is on the west side of Ireland. But since Ireland is apparently only about as big as the state of Indiana (so I’ve been told), driving from one side of the country to other only took two or three hours. But it was nice. I think it might’ve been one of my favorite Roberta trips that we did. It got hot and was decently steep but the view was gorgeous. The name of the mountain was Knocknarea I’m pretty sure–I looked it up after. The tomb sitting at the top is something called Medb’s (pronounced Maeve) Tomb. According to Celtic mythology (she was considered a historical person but opinion has since changed), Medb was a queen around the 1st century B.C. There are many monuments linked to her in and around Co. Sligo. Medb had five husbands and fourteen children: ten sons, three daughters, and a foster son.  Fun fact: seven of her ten sons were named Maine: Maine Mathremail, Maine Athremail, Maine Mo Epert, Maine Milscothach, Maine Andoe, Maine Mingor, and Maine Morgor. Another fun fact: Medb murdered her sister who was pregnant at the time. The baby survived and later killed Medb for revenge.

view of Knocknarea
view of Knocknarea
one of the steeper parts
one of the steeper parts
view from part-way
view from part-way
Medb's Tomb
Medb’s Tomb

Now, her tomb doesn’t seem like much. And by that I mean that it doesn’t look like what you might expect a tomb to look like. It is a pile of rocks on top of the mountain and by pile, I mean more like a mini mountain itself. The kicker to all this is that no one has ever actually excavated the pile so no one actually knows if there is anyone buried underneath the rocks or not. But real tomb or not aside, the hike up was wonderful. It was decently steep at times going up but the view was absolutely gorgeous and I actually really enjoyed the hike. But seriously, the view was gorgeous. Even just partway up to the top, you could see for miles. And from the top, looking out across the far side, it almost looked like we were overlooking Italian islands or something. The water was just this gorgeous bright blue color and everything was just so beautiful.

So that was Saturday. Sunday was St Patrick’s Day and, since we were so close to Dublin there was no way that we were going to miss out on celebrating in Dublin. But what made it so much cooler is that the International Society at NUIM marched in the big Dublin parade. Most of my friends and I were in the club because we wanted to march. Well, that and they took some cool weekend trips. But since parade rules said that each group had to have a “uniform,” the club had sweatshirts made and those would be our “uniform.” The sweatshirts were green with the NUIM emblem on the front over the left breast like most t-shirts and stuff and International Society was written on the back. The sweatshirts also had the Irish flag opposite the NUIM emblem and if you wanted, you could pay a little extra and get your home country’s flag on the sleeve. Most of my friends and I did that so we all have this sweatshirt as a memento of St Patty’s Day and of our time in Ireland.

friends and I at the parade
friends and I at the parade
Emily showing her thoughts on the rain
Emily showing her thoughts on the rain

I don’t know what the weather was like for anyone else but this particular Sunday was cold. And rainy. Lots of rain. It started raining while we were waiting for the 66 bus to come so that we could get to Dublin. Once there, we walked to wherever we had to sign-in and then we got lined up in our section and just waited. In the rain. And cold. It wasn’t the most fun that any of us have ever had but it certainly was memorable. A few of the girls from SMC that I was with had seen shamrock tights at Dunnes (a store in Ireland) and had decided to wear them with shorts. So two or three of them are wearing wellies, sheer tights with little shamrocks on them, shorts, and the sweatshirt. They were freezing. In fact, they didn’t even make it to the parade. At one point they decided that they’d had enough and had to go find some place warm to warm up and never made it back. So our little personal group went from about nine down to three because the others decided to go with the three in tights. But it was fine, we still had fun. I felt like my fingers were going to fall off by the time we started marching but it was fun. And the rain still didn’t stop so we marched through downtown Dublin in a drizzling rain only to get to the end and find that we had to fight our way back through the crowds. That part wasn’t as much fun. I’m not a huge fan of crowds so taking that and adding in the fact that I’m short and I wasn’t overly thrilled but at least it was a moving crowd.

After the parade, two friends and I grabbed lunch and then wandered around Grafton Street until the buses were up and running again. We opted not to check out the pubs in Dublin or hit up The Roost later that night in Maynooth since our two week break started the next day and we had an early flight. All in all, it was a good day. Definitely one to remember. I mean, how many people will be to say that they marched in a parade on St Patty’s Day in the most well-known city in Ireland?

Well, that’s all I have for you guys today. I hope y’all all had a good Christmas and have a happy New Year. I will spending New Year’s Eve in Atlanta. Mom got the family tickets to the Chick fil a bowl because Duke will be playing Texas A&M. Even though I’m not the biggest football fan, it should be fun. We went to the Belk Bowl last year when Duke played Cincinnati and that was fun. Lady Antebellum performed at the fan-fest before the game.

And as one last thing, I found this picture a while ago and thought I’d post it for fun seeing as we just had Christmas. Enjoy!

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❤ Rachel

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25 thoughts on “The Time I Climbed a Mountain and Marched in a Parade

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