Croagh Patrick Journey
I climbed Croagh Patrick when I was 21 years old and for years I have wanted to do it again to prove to myself that I can still do it. I have been back multiple times to Ireland but never had the time to climb the Reek. This year however, our 7 year old daughter was the one to get us up the mountain. She was so determined to climb it, that every time she saw the mountain she reminded us she wanted to climb it. After multiple pleas, we agreed to “half climb” it with her, as we thought there was no way she would actually make it to the top. It was too hard, too scary, too dangerous…the list went on in my head as a mother, but I would give her a chance, I thought, and then she would see how hard it was to really climb it. In fact, I was so certain she would only go half way, that I didn’t pack any food for the climb. I brought the basics, two bottles of water, rain coats and a camera but that was about it.
*A little tip for you (as I learned this the hard way): Buy or rent the walking sticks at the beginning of the mountain if you are going to climb Croagh Patrick. They are only 1.50 euro to rent or 3.00 euro to buy and worth every penny. I would have given 30 euros for that walking stick half way up the mountain.)
Our family was about half way up when my husband and I decided that was enough of our Croagh Patrick journey and we were ready to turn back and head to dinner. She looked us both in the eye and said, I don’t know about you but I am going to climb to the top. Are you coming with me or not? I just need short breaks for my LTL.’s. What is an” LTL” we said…..”My little tired legs”.
She was up again in no time and continued the pilgrimage to the top. She made it to the top in about 2 hours. Stumbling a few times along the way, never giving up, but taking small breaks in between and resting when she needed to along the way.
I have to tell you there have not been a lot of times in my life, that I have witness first hand ” a real learning experience”(usually it’s all in hindsight), but that day she taught me more on that mountain than I have learned in years. My daughter taught me to never give up, and to always land on my feet (literally). She taught me to always bring a snack with you as you never know when you will need it (motherhood 101 ) and that a little determination and passion for something will take you far in life.
As mentioned, we made it to the top of the mountain that day. We were cold, tired and hungry. ( Thank you to the Irish family who gave us a few cookies and treats at the top.) We also learned that life is a lot like climbing Croagh Patrick. Life can be bumpy and hard along the way, but as Keelin told me that day, always take time to put your hand in the stream, sing a little along the way and look up once in awhile to see the sites. You will be happy you did. Thank you dear Keelin for teaching me that life is not just about getting to the top, its the journey along the way that matters!
Croagh Patrick was our journey that day and we hope you will make it yours some day as well… Just rent the walking sticks….you will be happy you did!
~ Catie Keogh
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