Into the west...why the wild Irish countryside still has no equal - SEE PHOTOS



 Obsessed with traveling the world you can neglect to see what's on your own doorstep

My latest trip to the west of Ireland began when two fake legs cocked out of a bin saluted me as I drove into Letterfrack in Co. Galway. Arriving at my friends house she greeted me with a familiar smile.

“Did you see Bin Laden on the way through the village”, my friend asked.

“Am, sorry what was that you said?” I responded, I couldn’t possibly have heard her correctly.

“It's a man's legs sticking out of a bin in the village, the call him Bin-lad-n, Irish humor Molly, come on you haven’t been away that long!” she joked.

On my return to Ireland I been summoned to a friends new residence in Letterfrack Co.Galway. A tourist in my home country, I made my journey over to Galway on a Sunday afternoon. I was excited about the prospect of disconnecting from mobiles, televisions and Facebook while I embraced the rawness on offer.

The secondary road which leads you to Connemara is a far cry from speeding cab drivers on the FDR in New York. The winding roads were littered with furry sheep insulted by the invasion of vehicles on their turf.

After spending two years in Australia, my friends had relocated to Letterfrack in Connemara to reengage with mother nature and begin establishing their new company.

If I walk seven blocks from my apartment in Queens I can see the east river. Looking out from their front window you have a view of a bay and the countless shades of green that color the landscape.

We spent the duration of evening eating, drinking and talking with a crackling open fire providing the soundtrack for our discussions. The next morning we rose early to the bright October sun and the sound of birds singing. I felt like I had walked onto the set of The Quiet Man.

My kind mother had sent eggs from our chickens and homemade brown bread for breakfast. After we enjoyed an organic meal we began our ascent of Connemara's finest, the Diamond Mountain.

Maybe it's the farmer's daughter in me but there are few things that rival climbing a mountain! An ideal excuse to stretch the legs, starting at the Connemara National Park the three of us began our 400 meter ascent to the summit.

A carefully constructed path led us up and around the mountain revealing spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Posing for choice photo opportunities en route, our stamina took a beating as we took several breaks to catch our breath.

Towards the end I got a sudden rush of energy as I power walked ahead and left my friends trailing. Finally after many twists and turns I reached the summit, threw off my wellington boots and began to take in the countryside that stretched out before me. Just me, the October sunshine and stunning views of the place I'm lucky enough to call home.

It was a blissful moment of solitude as I scanned the panoramic views of the western shore of Ireland. At that moment I realized I will always love Central Park in Autumn, walking the High Line in summer and even having a picnic under the Hellgate Bridge in Astoria Park, but right then and there I knew nothing could compare to this.

After our descent we sat outside in the October sun and marveled at the mountain we have just conquered. OK it wasn’t Everest, or even Carrauntoohill but it was magnificent. Between the three of us we had seen the four corners of the world, backpacking in India, safari in South Africa, Route 66 in the US, the outback in Australia. We had all been so busy discovering what the world had to offer that we neglected to see what was right here in front of us all along.

As I drove out of Letterfrack later that day, Bin-lad-n was still there and so were the sheep, the tall mountains and glistening lakes. They would always be there, waiting to be discovered.

 SEE PHOTOS - click here

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