Monday, August 2, 2010

That Perfect Most Beautiful Place

I am not sure why my mind wandered today to this place where I wandered about, oh, twelve years ago. I took a solo backpacking trip to Ireland after I graduated from undergrad, and it was an amazing trip in so many ways. Being alone and independently traversing another continent was exhilarating. And beautiful. I filled journals, drank many, many a Guinness, and met the most fantastic people. Six weeks of bliss. While the whole of Ireland has a very special place in my heart and holds many joyful memories for me, the most beautiful place I have ever traveled was Dun Aengus, a ring fort sitting atop these grand cliffs off the western coast of Ireland. It was misty and raining a little the day I was there, and everything looked and felt very grayish warmish blue. I passed a cute little man sitting under a striking red umbrella playing an accordion on the way up. The grass along the path on the way was so green, as is everything in Ireland. You couldn't see the cliffs until you were upon them. And they were glorious. I fantasized about building a small house somewhere near them just so I could keep returning to them. There was something that called me to them. I can't quite place it, but the peace, the beauty, the calm, and the coolness there was just incredible.

I wikipedia'd Dun Aengus just now and found something I find quite charming that I didn't remember about Dun Aengus as well - that it is not known precisely when this fort was built. There is something charming and ironic indeed about the ancient lacking its history.

Dun Aengus is on the largest of the Aran Islands off of the western coast of Ireland - Inishmoor. When I went, I stayed in a quaint and lovely hostel there, and a friend and I hiked the entirety of the island in one day (it's that small). The only poor showing of this part of my trip was that to get to Inishmoor, you have to take a ferry from Galway. Galway is quite lovely, but the ferry and I did not get along. You see, if you're me, apparently riding a small ferry over large waves to a tiny island leads inevitably to becoming overwhelmingly sea sick. But, even with that, it was so worth it for the moments of staring into the ocean over the rocky, craggy edge of those cliffs. And, I am remembering some music I had in my headphones while I was there... Clandestine (very sadly, a lovely band that is no longer together), their album The Haunting. Dunlavy's Castle is sticking out in my head. It felt kind of like that. Beautiful. Beauty full. Full.

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