Arched window and geriatric Castle – St. Cirains’s Monastery in Shannonbridge Ireland.
Have you ever dreamed of going to Ireland? I did, and when it finally happened, I hardly dared to close my eyes for fear I’d miss something. Here velvet blue skies flanked rolling green hills, ancient stone buildings hovered on every horizon, and age-old rock walls snaked across the fields. Aside from that, people have remnants of castles in their very own backyards!
From what I understand, these medieval marvels are protected – big fines if you knock one down to make room for your backyard pool – and people in Ireland seem to take all this antiquity in stride. I remember one house in particular which had a laundry line strung from a crumbling castle turret to a tree. There were sheets hanging on the line and cows grazing peacefully nearby. What would it be like to look out your kitchen window at an ancient ruin? I’d love to find out.
May the road rise up to meet you.
Traveling from Chicago’s O’Hare airport to its miniature equivalent in Shannon Ireland is like stepping into another dimension. While the two airports are polar opposites – finely tuned chaos compared to small-town bustle – it’s the shift in scenery that takes your breath away. Chicago, a major metropolis of towering concrete, percolates with honking horns and harried people. Ireland, on the other hand, embodies peace and lush green beauty.
Walking into the long room of the old Trinity library is like stepping into a Harry Potter Movie. In fact, many people believe the scenes in Hogwarts library were filmed at Trinity, but it was actually the Bodleian at Oxford University.
My mother and I were visiting Trinity Library to see the Book of Kells, a famous illuminated manuscript from the year 800 A.D. As we made our way to the display area, so did about a thousand other people and we felt like we’d been dropped in the middle of a K Mart on black Friday. We managed to get a cursory glimpse at the famous book, before deciding we’d had enough. After extricating ourselves from the mob, we made our way upstairs where it was quieter and where I’d been told there was a nice library.
Clon Macnoise on the River Shannon
There was an other worldly presence here, and I felt goosebumps rise on my arms.
It was hard to believe I was in Ireland. This was a trip I’d dreamed of for years and now I could hardly close my eyes for fear of missing something. As I became acquainted with the Irish countryside, sugar-coated images of thatched cottages and leprechauns fled before the splendor of the real thing. Here, velvet blue skies flanked rolling green hills, ancient stone buildings hovered on every horizon, and age-old rock walls snaked across the fields.
I had expected, the scenery in Ireland to be fascinating, but was pleasantly surprised to learn the same could be said of its history. Especially in places like St. Ciaran’s Monastery at Clonmacnoise.
This was an Unusual Place
Clonmacnoise is in Southern Ireland, in County Offaly, and though it’s a little out of the way, it’s well worth the extra effort. As we passed through the front gates it was immediately clear this was an unusual place. There was an other-worldly presence here. Something almost palpable hung like a mist in the air, and I felt goose bumps rise on my arms. Continue reading
Is this a beautiful Library or what? Like Trinity, the National Library of Ireland is also located in Dublin, so this city is the lucky host of two cool libraries.
Established in 1877, this is a research library rather than a lending library, and it holds a large quantity of Irish and Irish-related material which can be consulted without charge.
There’s a quiet air of study and concentration here and I didn’t feel we should wander around and disturb people, so we just stuck our heads in and ogled this breathtaking space. Also took a couple of pictures.
If you’re in the neighborhood, check it out!
By YvonneM – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,