We left Kilkenny, Ireland in the early hours of the morning weighted with camera equipment, clothing, and accessories. We were travelling to the beautiful Jerpoint Abbey, a ruined Cistercian abbey from the mid-12th century, and we did not want to leave anything important behind. After taking the train to the Thomastown station, we walked down a quiet path into the town, passing green fields, cows, and sheep along the way. There was a peaceful silence to that place. I felt as though I could sit beneath the shade of the trees and listen to the wind for hours and never grow tired of it.
We discovered in Thomastown that we would be making the 2.5km trek to Irish ruins on foot, which would have been perfectly fine except for the unfortunate fact that there was no sidewalk or any other area for us to walk. We had a few inches between the solid line of the road and a steep hill of weeds, hardly enough room for two young women, never mind our bags and backpacks.
We spent the next hour and a half dodging the vehicles that came speeding around the corners and running from one side of the road to the other to be as noticeable as possible. We had to press ourselves into the wall of thorns and attempt to clamber into thigh-high weeds whenever we heard the faintest whisper of a motor. It was terrifying.
As if that wasn’t enough, it was swelteringly hot that day. Our clothes were plastered between our skin and our bags, an uncomfortably persistent reminder that *important travel tip* checking the weather is always a good idea. Always. Especially in a country known for its constant cloud and rain (Because it will get hot. And you will get sunburned. And you will regret ever assuming the weather would be consistent- trust me.).
It was worth every minute of the heart-pounding journey to Jerpoint Abbey. As soon as we arrived, a cool breeze swept the heat away. It rejuvenated us, and we spent the next hour photographing each other in the midst of the 12th century Cistercian abbey and not stopping, not even when a group of elderly German tourists arrived and started photographing us. We walked in the soft green grass, beneath towering archways, and in the shade of hidden rooms- it was sheer bliss.
The journey home was more terrifying than before (you can read about it here, on Marina Christine Photography’s blog), but between the golden light of sunset and the memories we made that day, everything that happened that was worthwhile.