We returned from Donegal last Thursday to find that storefronts had begun to be filled with Christmas decorations. My flatmate Jo (whose favorite holiday is Christmas) was overjoyed. I was rather not too excited. (I am a bit of a Christmas purist; please save the commercial Christmas decorations and radio tunes until at least after Thanksgiving.) Granted, no one in Northern Ireland - except for us YAVs - will be celebrating Thanksgiving in two weeks, so now is as good a time as any to start. Plus, with the really grey weather and torrential gale force wind and rains that we have been having, Christmas decorations provide some warm and fuzzing feelings to be felt when walking home at 5 o'clock and it's already dark.
So Donegal! It was a fantastic four day retreat during which we ate a lot (courtesy of Doug's cooking and Elaine's planning, there was a constant supply of homemade desserts), hiked Slieve League, and visited some of the beaches along the North Atlantic. (I did not take a dip into the ocean, but did put my hand in - surprisingly not that cold compared to the Outer Banks in June.)
Slieve League: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slieve_League
When we got to the top, this is what it looked like:
If you were wondering, the sign says something to the effect of "Danger! Do not wander past this sign! You will fall off a sea cliff!" Please note, the view was basically the cliff edge fading into clouds.
On the way to Donegal, we stopped in Armagh at the Celtic Spirituality Centre there, and on the way back, at Lough Derg where a Catholic retreat centre established by St. Patrick himself is still in use. Overall, it was a great trip with great people, and as always, a learning experience.
In peace and grace!