Please read about my first day in Ireland if you’d like to keep with chronological order!
My second day started with jet lag hangover. I stumbled about my hotel room finding my clothes and shoes for the day. Although, all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed. I mean, the blankets in my hotel room were super soft. I have no idea what magically spun material those blankets were cut from, but I swear I glided into sleep under those covers. Well, it was either that, or sleep deprivation and exhaustion.
Anyway, I threw back the curtains to admire the Dublin skyline, which hadn’t a skyscraper in sight. I marveled at the capital of a country not having a single skyscraper, but I enjoyed the absence. Another experience awaited me downstairs at breakfast.
I discovered the most mouthwatering breakfast food. Not pancakes, not scrambled eggs, not waffles piled high with blueberries and whipped cream–white pudding. Not black pudding. I never reached for that. I am not interested in consuming the blood of pigs. I’m not joking, either. Pork blood is an ingredient in black pudding. However, white pudding thankfully lacks this one ingredient, just like Dublin’s skyline thankfully lacks skyscrapers.
I hadn’t the foresight to take a picture of the white pudding, but it is essentially a mixture of pork meat and fat, suet, oatmeal, and bread made into a sausage. No blood added. If ever in Ireland, Scotland, or England, I recommend this delicious breakfast side.
After filling up on white pudding and porridge, I launched outside of Dublin to the site of Glendalough in County Wicklow. What had me excited about Glendalough was its rich history. It was founded as a monastic settlement by St. Kevin in the sixth century. Glendalough developed into the “Monastic City,” which includes the structures of the Round Tower, St. Mary’s Church, Reefert Church, and St. Kevin’s Church. That’s quite a few churches within a small vicinity, but these ancient ruins were breathtaking.
Of course, it rains quite a bit in Ireland. This happened while I was at Glendalough. Now, it wasn’t drizzling. It wasn’t simply pouring. It was as if the heavens opened up and the tears from the wrongs of a thousand centuries fell onto the ruins. It enhanced the atmosphere, making it seem eerie, but peaceful.
My imagination really acted up here. I could see knights splashing through the stream nearby, running towards some danger. I could hear monks muttering a prayer in the chapel. I could see a medieval lady, wronged by her lover, sitting at the bench in the cemetery, thinking of taking her own life. I haven’t pieced together any stories yet from this experience, but I believe it is only a matter of time. Glendalough was one of my favorite gems on this trip. It’s one of those beautiful moments you want to crystalize in your mind, to carry with you wherever you might go.
But my time at Glendalough came to an end too soon. I travelled from Glendalough with an active mind, seeing characters play in my imagination. I visited the James Joyce Tower and Museum in the afternoon, where I learned the history of another writer with an imaginative eye and an active genius. James Joyce is one of the most celebrated writers in Ireland for works like Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, but most importantly, Ulysses.
Ulysses parallels Homer’s Odyssey. However, instead of happening over ten years, Ulysses takes place over the course of a day. Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of the novel, has many encounters and happenstances during his walk to Dublin on June 16, 1904. The novel mimics the Odyssey in more than just characters or narrative, but also in structure. Ulysses is divided into 18 episodes, while the Odyssey is 24 episodes. Each episode in Joyce’s novel possesses a theme of sorts connecting to Homer’s work. It’s a rather large, imaginative masterpiece, to say the least.
I learned about the origins of the novel while visiting the James Joyce Tower and Museum. I viewed quite a few first edition works published by Joyce, his letters and correspondence, and stood in the room where he slept for a few nights. I also climbed three flights of scary, narrow stairs to make it to the top of the tower, which gave a beautiful view of the Irish sea and rocky shores. A notion tickled me at seeing those rocky shores.
After climbing down those three flights of narrow stairs, I decided to go stand by the seaside. There was a pathway that led down to the water, but this wasn’t enough for me. I climbed into the tidal pools to collect seashells and pebbles. And, man, was it invigorating to climb over those jagged rocks.
I returned back to the hotel shortly after this adventure, only to lapse into a twentysomething persona. I ordered room service. I texted my boyfriend a slew of kissy emoji faces, and I fell asleep under those magical blankets. It was a great way to end a magical day, but the trip only became more entertaining and ethereal with each passing minute.
Please read last week’s post about my first day in Ireland!
Please return next week to read about Day 3 in Ireland! This post will go live Saturday, June 8th at 1pm.
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