The random pictures in the header are from my sabbatical and other trips to Ireland, Scotland, England, and Wales. Currently, they include the following:

Croagh Patrick

Croagh Patrick, also known as “the Reek,” is a holy mountain and pilgrimage site in County Mayo, Eire. On the last Sunday of July each year, known as “Reek Sunday,” it is traditional to climb the mountain (some people do it barefoot!) as a sign of penance. I climbed the Reek in 2008, although it was on the weekend after Reek Sunday. I made it up all right, but could barely walk on the way down. Two of my companions, both students in an Irish language program with me, one a Jesuit priest, aided my descent. I discovered on return to the U.S. that I had a bone spur – apparently the only thing I have in common with the current president – that was shredding my Achille’s tendon; I had to have the heel bone and the tendon surgically rebuilt and spend several weeks in a wheelchair as a result. Nonetheless, I look back on that climb and those companions with affection. (It was in the aftermath of that climb – it was cold on top of that mountain, even in August – that I learned of the joys of hot Irish whiskey!)