“Man it feels good to climb a mountain!”

Shouted the little freckled Irish girl from the top of the mountain.

Howth is a fishing village about thirty minutes from Dublin that everyone talks about! “Oh you have to go to Howth!” “It’s so pretty!” I’d known this for several months now but never made the move to get myself over to the village.  Today being a holiday and incredible weather, I decided to fork out the five euro for the train and go.  It was the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

The town was very cute with quaint buildings and a massive pier.  The smell of salt water and fresh fish wafted through the air welcoming the countless tourists.  I wandered through the pier listening to this street musician and looking that cliff wondering how life could be so perfect.

Trying to get tan. HA!

Trying to get tan. HA!

I found a good spot right under the sun by the pier and sat down.  The wall protected me from the cold wind and in the direct sunlight, I was warm enough to take off my long sleeves. How amazing it felt to sit in a sleeveless shirt with my skin slowly warming and turning pink in the sun!! It was like I could feel the freckles starting to show up! I got out my Kindle and began reading.  The world around me continued on as kids played and I read while soaking up some sun.  There’s no telling how long I sat there, but I was plenty content and had no desire to move.

Sometime later, I looked up to see a boat docked the wall. Earlier in my wandering, I had seen a sign for a ferry to one of the islands. Suddenly a strong urge to get on the boat over came me, so I made my way over to the boat.  The gentleman told me that it was fifteen euro to get to the island, and that I would only have about an hour because of the tide.  I thought to myself, “Why not get not the boat?” So I paid the man and hopped in the boat along with two dads and their five kids. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do on this island nor was worried about it. If I simply found a good spot to sit and read, I would have been happy. It didn’t go like that.

From the distance, I could tell the island had a little mountain or glorified hill on it.  The closer we got to the island, the more daunting the thing became.  Rocks jutted out in every direction. Grass covered the lower part of the island while a massive rock formation surged into the sky.  I decided right then that I had to climb it. The driver of the boat told us that we had to be back at the boat just before 4:00pm. I looked at my watch, and I had about forty minutes to make this island mine.

In typical me fashion, I took the hard route to the top.  I’m sure that there was some kind of foot path to the top, but I didn’t even try to look for one. One foot after another, I pushed my way up. The ground was covered in prickly bushes and tall grass giving the earth a sink mushy feel.  When my trainers were sinking into the grass, they were slipping on the rocks. Eventually I came to a point where the mushy grass stopped and solid rock began.  Straight up the side of the summit, I climbed my way to the top.  Without stopping to breathe or process what I was doing, I pushed myself further.

I made it. I stood on the highest point on the island and took in the world below me – Howth in the distance, waves crashing, and birds soaring. It was perfect. I sat down for a moment and gathered my thoughts. Like climbing this mountain, I do everything the hard way. I never take the easy route, so my path is full of bumps, slippery slopes, and cliff hangers. But when I get to where I want to be, I always stop, breathe, and take in the moment.

On my way back down the, footpath showed itself, and I followed it for a smooth ish descent. Before I got off the rocky pinnacle, I could hear those kids making their way up the base. I tossed my phone down to a freckled girl so she could take a picture of me.  As we passed each other, I thanked her, and told her to be careful on their way up.  A few minutes later, I heard the same small freckled Irish girl shouting on the top of her lungs, “Man, it feels good to climb a mountain!” I turned looking back up the mountain with a giant smile on my face. Yes, it does freckled girl. It does feel good to climb a mountain.

Life is like climbing a mountain. Sometimes that peak of happiness or pinnacle of effort or that point of being on top seems so far in the distance. Maybe the way to the top is rugged and clattered with sharp edges that don’t give way to a clear and easy path. It’s difficult – a struggle to make it to the top of the mountain. But when we do make it to the top of the mountain, it feels good.

Go back and click the images to make them larger!

Check out the Island Ferries website HERE! And if you ever find yourself in Howth, make your way over to Ireland’s Eye and climb that mountain yourself.

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