Tina and I are getting ready for a trip to Penn State to visit Jim and see a Penn State football game. Tina reviewed this post prior to publishing and was amused by my calling the trip a “pilgrimage”. It is not so far fetched when you consider Penn State grads. They will routinely travel back to their Alma Mater. Certainly more often than I ever did to UW. So this I will clasify as a pilgrimage with a nod to Penn Staters.
Since this is Jim’s senior year, this may be our last Penn State football game. Football at Penn State is quite an experience, indeed. I went to Pitt for my MBA therefore my enthusiasm for Penn State football is somewhat muted. However, the excitement is contagious or, should I say infectious.
Thinking about going to Penn State has brought to mind a distantly related thought. Coach Joe Paterno. Joe is a towering figure in Penn State lore; however, I believe he is not even a distant memory to much of the current student body. I am making a great assumption that anyone reading this remembers Penn State’s iconic coach. For my purposes here, it is enough to say that the individual who built the great Penn State football program fell hard. And, his memory lingers like the mist that often blankets the valleys in central Pennsylvania. You can get Peachy Paterno ice cream at the Berkey Creamery and buy a miniature Paterno statue downtown.
Side story – During the height of Joe Paterno’s fame, I was negotiating a contract with a Penn State grad in Detroit. The fellow I was negotiating with, named his newborn son Joe in honor of Joe Paterno. Needless to say he was hardcore Penn State. I had a colleague who was also a rabid Penn State booster. She would go to every Penn State football game and visit the campus on many other weekends. I asked her to get me a stand-up cardboard Joe Paterno. I came to the last negotiating session armed. I stood up my cardboard Joe on my side of the table. Great contact, great job done and left a happy client in possession of a cardboard Joe Paterno.
Joe’s statue was removed from Beaver Stadium years ago. I have mixed feeling about it’s removal. I agree that he should not be honored with a prominent statue at Beaver Stadium. However, a memorial in a less prominent place would recognize the contributions he made to both the University and to football. It could also be a place to teach the lesson that we are all vulnerable to letting unbecoming priorities rule.
It is great to be home with Tina. Being able to share stories about Ireland and hearing about her travels while I was away is as much fun as the trip itself.
I am truly overwhelmed by the number of individuals who have visited the site. Thanks to Tina and Bob and all who have shared the link. I hope you all have enjoyed my rambling and attempts at photography. I certainly have enjoyed doing it.
Hiking the Beara Way is a great experience. And, our surprise extra day in Dublin was great. We managed to avoid both the Guinness and Jameson tours. I think I can safely speak for Bob that we left part of our hearts in Ireland. Not unlike Saint Laurence O’Toole whose heart was returned to Ireland and resides in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
I have been having some thoughts about the Beara Way and my time trekking.
- Ireland is a beautiful country with a rich history and wonderful population. It is well worth a visit.
- The Beara Way is not a casual hike. There are some, there are some challenging parts. The weather is agreeable but as the locals remind us “this is Ireland, it rains”. One needs to be prepared for rain and associated mud, sometimes unexpectedly deep.
- If you are going to hike long distances, invest in good footwear and have them fitted to your feet by an expert.
- While hiking, if there is a side trail or a point of interest off your route, take it. Side trips can be the best part of the hike.
- You are not too old to do this.
- Talk to people along the way. But, if someone doesn’t want to talk, let them be.
As I looked over the thoughts above, they sounded to me that they are about life as much as they are about walking.
- God’s creation is beautiful.
- Life is not always easy
- Prepare yourself for life. Get education. Train your body
- Take risks
- Accept challenges as long as you are on the green side of the grass.
- Enjoy people
Today we are going to complete the Beara Way. We will be hiking from Lauragh to Glengarriff. We will be going over the Caha Pass.
The completion of the Beara is quite an accomplishment for two guys in their 70’s. I an very gratified that Bob asked me to join him. This was a very meaningful journey for him. And, it has been a wonderful adventure for me.
The views should be great; however, I don’t believe they could be better than what we have seen to date.
The last day from Kenmare to Glengarriff appeared to be a daunting hike on the map. Large elevation change and steep path into Glengarriff. In reality it was not so bad as the path follows an abandon road. There was little mud. We did get off the path at one point. However, like the other times when we took a diversion, it proved to be a good thing. We saw some fun things along the way that we would have missed had we been rigid in our plans. We saw the Molly Gallivans house. Molly was famous for making what we would call bootleg whiskey. Now it’s a touristy place but fun and interesting.
We then had to go across a valley to get back on the trail. Encountered this neat footbridge. Entrance was a “V” shape, probably to keep sheep off.
Got back on the trail that followed the ancient abandoned road that went over a high pass. The Caha Pass.
Saw some deer.
And we made it all the way back to Glengarriff.
Today we did about 20 kilometers in all today.
To celebrate we went to dinner then had a Jameson at a traditional pub with local music group.
Back to the starting point.
We made it to Kenmare. Kenmare is the largest town we have visited. The path is over another pass with many spectacular views and lots of mud.
We found our B+B, is next to the harbor.
Bob’s son Billy is at a place in town. This is a busy time here as there is a half Ironman today and the town is filled. Our B+B was filled.
Kenmare has the largest stone circle in Southwest Ireland.
There is an ancient stone bridge called Cromwell’s Bridge. Built in the 11th century has no link to Oliver Cromwell. The name is a corruption of the Irish word “cromael” (mustache). I guess it looks like a mustache.
Many places for dinner here. Kind of touristy though.