Russ’s undergraduate training was as a geologist, so he may have been surprised at how many geology questions this English professor asked him. I learned a lot about shiny mica schist, which in the Wicklow Mountains is metamorphized from mudstones and sandstones when the sea bottom was uplifted and raised into mountain peaks. Glaciation, however, rounded off most of Ireland’s peaks and formed great U-shaped valleys, such as the valley which hosts the two lakes of the monastic city. (Glendalough means the valley of the two lakes.) Higher up the mountain side we came across the line—almost as if it were etched across the landscape like a border—where the schist gave way to the granular granite.
Russ also told me about historical features of the Brockagh region, such as the trail where the British soldiers used to march in training and on the lookout for Irish rebels in the 1798 rebellion.
On Sunday I go out on another hike with Russ, this time on the southern flanks of Glendalough.