Thursday, July 11, 2013

Climbing the Diamond

From - yes, the beauty is that ridiculous
In Galway last week, we rented a house with two other families for a total of five children. That's five cousins, all together for seven days. For those who did the same thing when they were kids, you know it means magic, no matter what the scenery. Of course it doesn't hurt when there is a secluded beach just across the road, bordered by cliffs, sheep fields, and the Twelve Pins of Connemara.

The kids would have been happy to stay in the house, playing Shop and Newspaper (an electronics-free rule was in effect) but we adults decided to rout them out. We took them on a hike to Cong and Ashford Castle, and anyone who saw The Quiet Man will recognize those areas.

My husband led a trip to a local mine, and we also went to Kylemore Abbey in the rain and mist. How deliciously creepy to come across Margaret Henry's mausoleum hidden among trees loaded with moss and said mist. I felt like I had walked right into a computer game. Who needs electronics???
Kylemore abbey

All this was great fun, but we decided to push the limit and take the youngest kids up the Diamond, a small mountain in the Connemara National Park. To get them up the hill, we did a geocache run.

The Kylemore geocache had let us down; we never found the prize. This was written up in the kids' newspaper under the headline: Geocache Fail.

So we were determined to find the goods on Diamond. We climbed up the mountain (OK, large hill) and did some bog-jumping on the way; when someone near you jumps on the bog, you feel the entire ground move, as though you were standing on a giant sponge, which indeed you are.

As we hit the upper slopes, the wind started up in earnest and nearly blew us off the hill. Thank heavens for my cousin's youngest daughter, who kept us all going upwards with exhortations of "Not much longer now! Getting really close! Can't give up now!" 

LOVE her.

My husband's iPhone (okay, we allowed one electronic item) showed we were close to the prize. The clue was a small white rock embedded in a larger rock. The kids jumped around while I did my mommy "Please don't fall off the mountain" thing.
Diamond Hill

And - they found it - a white rock studded in the center of a large grey one, with a small shelf. The kids pried the rocks at the entrance of the shelf and found the cache.

HURRAY! And there was much whooping and hollering.

On the way down, the sun came out and we passed fields of horses, one with a mare and her foal. The kids picked wildflowers and bog cotton. By this point we were anxious for our tea, so we headed home to our Galway House.
A bit of mist. (author's photo)

Did I mention the view from the peak? We were surrounded by a green velvet counterpane, as well as loughs, waterfalls, bog, and the Atlantic itself. 

However, the best view was the bright faces of the children, calling encouragement to each other as they slipped over the cold stones. I know it's something they will always, always remember.

Honestly, you can't buy that.


karastewart said...

Gorgeous! What a fun time with family, too. But I want a pic of the 'diamond' itself!

Unknown said...

I LUV Ireland! And what a fabulous story. I also LUV happy endings where Mommy doesn't fall off a mountain and require a medevac to the local hospital.
~Just Jill

Alison DeLuca said...

Kara - look up! There is the Diamond in all its hilly glory!

Jill, don't you just love it when that doesn't happen? :)

LW said...

Sounds like a great vacation, and looks just gloriously pretty there.

Unknown said...

And a good time was had by all! Sounds fabulous, Alison and I can attest to how gorgeous the scenery is in Ireland!

Laura Zera said...

Nope, definitely can't buy that. Great story, Alison!

Alison DeLuca said...

Agreed, Laura - and thanks!