I stood for a moment among the statues. Their eyes a blank stare of starvation and hopelessness. The father carrying his child as they stumble to the ship in hopes of a better life across the sea. The more I stared at the famine statues, the more they seemed real. For an eery moment, I could not avert my eyes. The look so acutely captured by the artist is a look I have seen amongst many cultures. It is the same look among the holocaust and world war memorials. And the same look I saw as I made eye contact with an older woman begging on the street. Poverty seems far off in the city, but it is there if you have the courage to look.
The museums and monastic sights we have sauntered through, it has been hard to come to terms with how many times villages were burned and plundered. Monks used to build churches from wood, but after many attacks from Vikings, the British, and Irishman, they decided to build churches of stone in defiance. We visited Clonmacnoise, which has centuries old monastic buildings. The tour guide was entertaining and full of interactive stories and lifelong wisdom. He said, “In life you can choose what you do, but you cannot choose the consequences for your choices”. I wanted to wander around more amongst the large stone graves and buildings, but we were crunched for time. We also visited Glendalough, which is a centuries old monastic site that has a beautiful landscape with impressively built stone buildings and a tall bell tower. Walking around on the boardwalk, I could see why they loved this area for a place to be with God and to be in prayer. The mountains rose and fell in the background as the sun shimmered across the lake. As the trail shifted to a forest, the scenery seemed like walking into a story book. The legends of fairies seemed all too real as the wind danced between the trees. It was incredibly peaceful. Despite British occupation and other external stressors, the land still speaks for itself through the beauty that overwhelms one’s sense of sight. What a beautiful world God has created, and how amazing Ireland’s historic sites are so well preserved.
My days are a bit muddled from doing so many activities. Time is rushing by and some activities are pushed aside due to the weather. We did not get to climb Croagh Patrick because the wind and rain were too strong. Instead we rode the bus to various locations and ran out occasionally to fight the wind and run into castles.
We have moved onto the popular city of Dublin. Where people from all over the world come for work and for holiday. Such a wonderous city to explore and have a couple days of soaking in all it has to offer. Each person I pass in the city has a different story to tell, and the expression in their eyes reveals a piece of their story. More about Dublin to come in the next post…