Sligo (Brianna Sedor)

28 Oct

A few weekends ago I went to Sligo with some of my classmates. The only things I had heard about the trip were the outdoor toilets, the “communal bedrooms”, and the grueling hikes. This made me nervous because I am not much of a camper, but I was excited none the less.

We all piled on the bus with smiling faces, excited for the trip to come. After a two and a half hour drive we arrived at the eco lodge in Sligo.  It was a round building with gardens and yes, outdoor toilets. It was really beautiful on the outside and even better on the inside. There was a fire in the middle of the lodge, beds lining the entire building, and an amazing sky room.After our first dinner we all gathered around the fire and watched a movie. It was very special and gave me a wonderful sense of home. One of the most interesting parts of the entire eco lodge was how self-sustained it was. They used a lot of solar and water power and grew everything they ate. The dry toilets were not the most convenient  part, but they were a very interesting idea.

We woke up bright and early ready for yoga and breakfast before the hike. I had heard that this hike was difficult so I was a bit apprehensive, but also excited. We were hiking up a very steep mountain to a cairn. Simply put, cairns are piles of rock, but in reality they are much more than that. Cairns can be found on mountaintops, on moorland, and near waterways.  Cairns and other types of megaliths in Ireland were used for many different reasons like, telling folklore, and one of the cairns we saw was previously a tomb. The larger cairns also may have smaller satellite cairns on surrounding mountaintops. Although they don’t look like much at first sight, when you learn the history behind them cairns are very interesting monuments.

After the hike it was time for canoeing. This was my favorite part of the entire trip. We canoed on a beautiful lake. It was so peaceful and relaxing. We canoed to an island where an old woman used to live. She would canoe from the island into town for her groceries and other things. She once became very ill and went to get better at a nearby convent, but she loved the island so much that she returned without a full recovery. After canoeing we went home for dinner. After dinner a wonderful band came to play traditional Irish music. There was a young girl playing the harp and it was very beautiful. I had never heard that style of harp. During the music a druid would tell us stories. My favorite story was a love story about a man that saw a beautiful woman trying to cross a river.  He picked her up and put her across the river. She walked back over stubbornly. This continued multiple times until the man got frustrated and asked why she wouldn’t cross the river. She responded by saying, “Did you ever ask me if  I wanted to cross the river?” And they lived happily ever after.

The next day we hiked to another cairn that we were able to enter. It was a little scary, but I wanted to see what was inside. It was a surreal feeling to enter such an old tomb that was built so many years ago. After that hike we went to a donkey sanctuary. They rescued donkeys that had previously been abused and neglected. It was quite an amazing organization that they had started. The donkeys were beautiful, but many were extremely underfed and obviously traumatized.

I am very grateful for all of these opportunities that I would not have been able to experience. Ireland has such a rich, unique culture and I learn something new about it everyday. I am so happy I went to Sligo and I miss it already. I hope to return with family someday.


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