Who am I? Somebody just tell me that much…

I just was reading my journal from this summer. Because I have two essays and a huge journalism article due this week. So, obviously, I’m procrastinating. I got to cross two things off of my list of 100 things to do before I die. #68: Feel infinite. #60: Get a tattoo.

So I found the entries I had written about Ireland. And I really liked them, looking back. So I decided I would start posting them here. Enjoy.

Dublin was a city you couldn’t help but get lost in. It seemed that even when we were going in the right direction, we ended up in the wrong place.
Dublin was a city of too many people - very few of whom were actually Irish. There were almost no crosswalks and the ones there were were never obeyed by cars or pedestrians.
The did, however, have very useful signs painted on the roads saying LOOK RIGHT or LOOK LEFT, to give all the tourists an idea of where the cars might be coming from.
Once you’ve figured out where most things are in Dublin, it becomes liveable. It was expensive as all hell, but it was good craic.
Staying in a hostel on a street called Aungier (actually pronounced ayn-ger, not, I was told repeatedly, on-gier) we met people from all over the world. Most were just passing though, struggling under the weight of backpacks almost as big as themselves.
Two girls we met, Sarah and Candle, shared our room for a couple of nights. I marvelled that the skinny little things could even lift their bags, let alone carry them around Ireland, to Lithuania and all through Europe. They were American. We met some Canadian backpackers, too. Sharon, Graham and Jeremy. It was one of those weird situations where we only knew them for one night, but by the end of we were hanging out like old friends.
Javier slept on the bunk underneath Jez for almost the entire time. He had a habit of walking in just as I was daring to take off my shirt. Inconvenient. But, he reassured me, “I am not a pervert or anything…!” And he wasn’t. He was a sweet guy who’d recently fallen in love with an Australian girl who chose a drunk over him. He was from a beautiful coastal town in Spain. He showed us pictures on my laptop. At the time - early May - in Dublin, it had been pouring rain and cold for days. And, looking at the pictures of people on beautiful sandy beaches, I had to wonder why he’d left. He even spoke of the town with love. But I guess we all need a change. And none of us realize what we have until we leave.
Dublin has bars that are older than my entire country. Dublin has beer with lunch. Dublin has the Temple Bar district. We drank our fair share of pints in Temple Bar. The joy of Heineken. There were more tourists than anything. One night, all five of us girls in the bathroom were from Canada. But there were some Dubliners around. Mostly, I’m sure, to pick up tourists. But damned if I could understand more than a third of what they were saying, with the thick accent and loud music.
Dublin is a place where you find lots of other people. But not, I could tell, where you’d ever be able to find yourself. In the crowded streets and pubs, I knew I’d always be perpetually lost.
I’d two favourite places in Dublin. One I saw the first day I was there. The other I never saw until I went back with Kristen.
The first thing I loved about St. Patrick’s Cathedral was how it reminded me of being in France. It was another gorgeous, magnificent church. But as son as you step inside the gates, you see that it’s flavour is purely Irish. Along the fence there are plaques dedicated to Ireland’s most famous writers and their work. A church for the Bards. Joyce, Yeats.
There’s a liberty bell that mostly looks like a huge hunk of metal. A little sign saying “Here is the sight of the well St. Patrick used to baptise the Irish.” Just a sign. Small, white, wood.
There’s a fountain, too. A small Irish boy was leaning in so far, I thought for sure he’d tumble in. No one else seemed concerned. I moved closer, just in case. Turns out the boy was filling his bucket with water from the fountain. And he seemed to have found a perfectly safe system - as precarious as it had seemed to me. He was leaning against the drain grate with one hand. His feet were in the air, but he didn’t slip at all. His family, nearby, didn’t seem the least bit concerned. Apparently, this is normal. Either that or their rugby game was more interesting.
The thing about European churches is that when I walk in, as a non-religious person, I suddenly understand how a person can feel a connection with God. Because it’s beautiful. Cathedrals are certainly the most striking art. These buildings were designed to inspire - not simply to function. This is where, for me, architectures transcends into art. The ceilings, the stained glass, the gold candlesticks and wooden pews… There’s so much beauty that it’s like looking at a sunset. You know there must be something bigger because beauty can’t be merely human. The fact that these cathedrals are man made makes a great argument for organized religion. Religious or not, you can’t help but feel spiritual in a place like St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

c’est tout, pour maintenant.

1 Comment

  • By konfusedfae, February 26, 2008 @ 3:59 pm

    I love this. I wish we’d been able to go there together, too. One day.

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