An Gaoth Fiáin

The final walk up to Dún Aonghusa was with four friends from the retreat. It was late at night and the wind was crazy. It was my first nighttime excursion that wasn’t solo and their first nighttime visit.

Rain had soaked the ground earlier and left rocks slippery. We used care as we climbed the slick, steep trail and because of the wind, used the buddy system to make sure if one of us blew off the trail we could notify next of kin. We joked but it was rather treacherous.

It wasn’t just wind speed, it was the swirling and gusting that made it difficult to brace or know how to prepare. It was an adventure of stamina and courage.

As we entered the grassy circle a gust nearly knocked me down. I dropped to a knee to keep from falling. We climbed further and found soft grass to lay on and got as flat as possible to watch the stars.

And the wind still pushed us as we lay gazing into stars.

The reward for the challenging climb was a night sky that appeared to hover just over us with brilliant stars that twinkled brightly. Even with wind raging around us, a calm descended as we collectively soaked up energy from the firmament.

But the wind eventually won and we agreed to descend to safer elevations. Once again, the wind swirled and knocked us about as we walked down through the fort. Twice more it pushed me to my knees. The geek in me later researched wind speeds and standing versus being knocked down. It’s safe to guess the gusts on Dún Aonghusa were 55 miles per hour or more that night. It wasn’t kite flying weather or a night to get anywhere near the 300 foot drop into the Atlantic Ocean.

We carefully navigated the slippery, steep path down and kept close watch on one another. While I usually like to explore solo, I told my new friends how happy I was to be with them that night. That was no night to be alone on top of the cliff.

It was midnight before we returned. In my journal I wrote….it was wicked windy. That, my friends, is an understatement.

 

An Goath Fiáin……The Wild Wind

 

Note: The photographs were taken from the pre-dawn visit that morning. My tripod and camera would have been blown off the cliff had I attempted to use them. Even taking the photograph below, a few days before, I had to hide my equipment from the wind. Our arms weren’t locked around each other just because we care about one another…..it was pretty windy that day as well.

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