Summit 4: Slieve Gullion in Armagh, with Maryanne Doyle

The 32 Summits keep on giving. Maryanne and I travelled to the highest surviving passage grave in Ireland, perched atop a hump-backed mountain, dominating its surrounding landscape. The entrance passage to the grave aligns with the setting sun of the winter solstice. Cú Chulainn, the former Setanta, received his new name on the flanks of Slieve Gullion. Milucra, the Cailleach Bhéirre, tricked Fionn mac Cumhaill into swimming in her lake at the summit, and he emerged as an old man. Maryanne, the girl who learned Latin through Irish, couldn’t be tricked into taking a dip. As a mountaineer, I get a real kick out of seeing how important the mountains were to our ancestors; but, as a person sitting in front of a computer, I’m probably not as joined with the land as they were. This whole journey is bringing me closer to my country, and hopefully it’s doing something similar for the people making it with me.

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