St. Patrick’s Day & Memories of Ireland

by Christine on March 17th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone! I hope you all celebrate a wonderful and festive heritage!

I’m a wee bit Irish on my grandmother-on-my-dad’s side, which leaves me with very little Irish in my blood. But I have some!

I went to Ireland for 2 weeks many years ago. By myself. Backpacking. It’s a very beautiful country! Some highlights of that memorable trip:

  • Running into Nelson Mandela on the streets of Dublin. Really random. That man radiates Greatness and Kindness. The power of his Bearing just kind of slammed into me. I wouldn’t have recognized him if it weren’t for the countenance of his bearing.
  • Eating bad Chinese food in a B&B in Wexford, watching a Manchester United soccer game.
  • Kissing the Blarney Stone, which was a nasty, filthy recreational pursuit.
  • Watching a shepherding dog in action in the Dingle Peninsula.
  • Going on the Waterford Factory and staring in awe at their handmade grandfather clock.
  • Drinking Guinness at the factory in Dublin.
  • Seeing the Book of Kells at Trinity College.
  • Sipping tea at the Powerscourt Gardens
  • Taking a nap on St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin.
  • Dying my hair blue in the bathroom of a hostel and getting dye EVERYWHERE.

The best part of my trip was, by far, Kilarney National Forest, and, specifically, Muckross House. This is a magnificent historical home with breathtaking views.

When I close my eyes and drift off to a happy place, I always end up in the nursery windows, on the 2nd floor, overlooking the lake. There’s never been a place that felt so much like home.

I could use a little Happy Place time this week.

I walked all around that lake one day. It took much longer than I had anticipated, and it was dark by the time I trudged along the gravel road back to my hostel. I passed a guy driving a horse-drawn buggy, and he offered to give me a ride (for free). I was so grateful; my feet hurt so bad. I remember passing old monastery ruins on the way out of the park, traditional Irish crosses in the cemetery, and I remember thinking, “This is what memories are made of.”

I had 2 weeks to putter through Ireland. I got to Killarney at the end of the 8th day and ended up spending a whole week there. The place was enchanting.

Funny, looking back on it — I don’t remember the food, and I only have two memories of eating anything at all (the Chinese food at the B&B, and Mongolian BBQ in Dublin).  I don’t think I ate much–I didn’t eat that much even back then–but I was plenty fat, and got even fatter on the trip.

Even though my trip through Ireland was amazing — really, that kind of once-in-a-lifetime kind of journey — all my memories, even the happy ones, are filled with sadness and loneliness. I did the trip by myself. And I was felt too fat, too awkward, too stupid to go to a local pub and meet some local people.  In a lot of ways, it was a long 14 days — no, it was a really long year — filled with endless solitude and yearning for friends.

I remember the sites, sounds, and smells of that trip vividly, but that bone-chilling loneliness is what a I remember the most.

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