Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Voyager's Mountain

Mount Brandon is the second highest mountain in Ireland at 3123 feet. (Carantouhill in Magillicuddy's Reeks near Killarney is the highest at 3414 feet.)

Brandon is usually wreathed with cloud and when the cloud falls low on the slopes it's hard to believe there is even a mountain there at all. But on some days the clouds and fog dissipate and Brandon shows itself in all its glory. There is a tiny, ancient chapel at the top named for Saint Brendan, and it is said that he fasted and prayed up there for many days before he set out on his voyage to the west in the Sixth Century.

St. Brendan's day is celebrated on the 16th of May. Local folk, and many others, climb the mountain that day in honor and remembrance of The Voyager. A minor distinction for yours truly is that he was the very last person to climb the mountain to the top in 1999. If you accept the fact that 1999 was the last year of the 20th century then my place is history is assured! Well, maybe. Anyway, it was a good hike and a brilliant way to get some first-rate exercise.

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