Ireland Day 5: Summits and Sunsets

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Despite the extra 26 hours soaking up the wonderful, clean air of the Newark airport, we'd had a surprisingly full rest of the trip, so I wasn't expecting much on our last day. Per usual, we had no plans - dad and Jake weren't even sure they were going to go anywhere. I'd spent several hours the night before searching train routes trying to maximize our daylight without having to get up at an ungodly hour, but I kept finding my mind wandering back to Killiney Hill, hoping to catch the sunset that I'd left too early for previously that week. 

After showing my family a few photos of Killiney, I finally convinced them that it would be worth the 30 minute train ride and we set off. But not before I got one last sausage and mustard croissant and a cappuccino, of course. 

The southbound train's last stop was right across from Killiney Beach, so we hopped off and ran right down to the water. To, but not in - it was freezing! I'm not one for hot sand or sunburns, so this pebbled coastline was just to my liking. I've yet to research the science behind the intriguing lines in the rocks, but Jake and I had fun making up stories about volcanos and vikings. 

Though I wanted to walk on the beach again, I was much more interested in enjoying the view from the top of the hill, so when dad suggested we hike up I was thrilled. There's actually a dirt path all the way up from the beach that I'm pretty sure we were supposed to follow, but we found a castle-lined road instead; really the only directions you need to get to the top of Killiney Hill are "keep going upward until you can't climb any higher." However, just to make things more interesting, Jake found a path that probably two people ever had traversed and half-hiked, half-climbed to the top, eliminated about 3 minutes worth of walking. I followed him, obviously. 

We'd had overcast skies most of the day (not that I was complaining, that's my kind of weather and provided a beautiful moody photo backdrop besides) so I didn't think I'd get to see my sunset but boy was I ever in for a surprise.

As Jake and I stepped out onto the rocky outcropping, a golden glow crept over the Wicklow Mountains. The clouds parted slightly so that the blue-tinged water became radiant with color. The wind stilled. And then suddenly, as if by magic, the yellow rays exploded over the valley, kissing each blossom and warming every shadow until it seemed like the very ground we stood on was more fairy tale footing than gravity-bound reality. 

If my description almost two weeks after the fact doesn't convey the depth to which this sunset affected me, perhaps my photos will. I live in the mountains, so I've seen a lot of beautiful sunsets, but none nearly as picturesque and time-stopping as this one. Ireland gave us a real treat on our last day!

I shot an entire roll of film just during the 5 minutes of peak sunset. I should be getting those photos back tomorrow and then I can share all 7 rolls from my trip! We finished off the week with another dinner at the same pub as night 4. It was really too cozy and too charming to go elsewhere. I sipped my whiskey as I wrote out my 2018 goals (could there be a better setting for future planning?) and then we all chowed down, me enjoying a delicious no-nonesense shepard's pie - a dish on which I even had to pour my own peas, carrots and gravy.

Thanks to everyone who followed along with this Irish adventure. I'll be in NYC, Portland, LA, Joshua Tree, Iceland and London in the next 5 months so I'll have plenty more travel adventures to share!

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