An Irish Day of Rest . . . and Hill Climbing

Today I had lunch with my friend Andrea Ainsworth. I’ve known Andrea since 2004 when she first taught on the Ireland study abroad course. We have continued to stay in touch over the years, and we meet for lunch or dinner each time I come to Dublin. Andrea works as the Voice Director for the Abbey Theatre, so we’ll get to see her work on Monday evening via the Abbey’s production of The Plough and the Stars.

Joanna Parkes then picked me up, and we drove to a destination that has become a ritual for both of us each time I’m in Ireland for the summer. In 2006, I taught two weeks of the summer abroad course, while my then partner, the late Craig Hamrick, was back in NYC. Craig was too ill to come to Ireland that summer, and it was difficult to be away from him. Toward the end of the program, just as I was about to head back home to re-enter the care-taking role for Craig, Joanna and our friend and colleague Sharon Murphy brought me to the top of a hill in just outside of Dublin. It was a lovely hike through the woods, and at the top of the hill, I could see out into the Irish Sea and all around the city. When Craig passed away in September of that year, Joanna, Sharon, and Declan Gorman returned to the hill and made a short film and sent it to me for Craig’s memorial. Ever since 2006, whenever I return to Ireland in the summer, Joanna and I make this trek, along with other important people in my life who may be visiting. Anyone who has come there remarks how special it is. It has a name, which always escapes me, but Joanna and I like to call it “Our Mountain.” We had hoped to bring her son Dualta this time, but he elected to stay in town and rest after his long night in Bray with the fish and chips.

After our trek up, we had some tea and sweets in the little town of Enniskerry, another part of the ritual. It was a great afternoon, in spite of the weather, as we managed to dodge the rain, wind, and hail. Yes, hail. That was a first for me in Ireland.

Below you’ll find some images from the day. Click here for a 360 view from the top of the hill. The body of water is the Irish Sea, and I’m looking towards Wales. “Our Mountain” is one of my favorite places in the world. Thanks to Joanna for always being a willing and able participant!