One night, as we gathered for supper, Thorn asked us to choose a line from something we’d written that we felt best represented our personal journey to Ireland. Something that spoke to us and that we would carry with us.
Each of us wrote our chosen line on a sheet of paper. Thorn took the sheet back to her cabin and in the quiet hours of the night, combined those lines into a shared poem.
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“These rocks, these stones
this wind and loam,
Soon, it became our anthem…
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calling to Brigid
offering to leave
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She sat making notes about where she was heading, when to meet for lunch, and (most importantly) what time she needed to be back. She didn’t want anyone to be waiting on her, much less a bus full of Pilgrims.
As they stepped out into the morning sun, they surveyed the area and headed toward their predetermined destinations. Some would remain on the bus and head to Yeat’s Grave. She had decided to explore Sligo with the others, taking advantage of a shopping day.
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“In the midst
of that deep night
I was awoken by
the screeching fox
and the night
was so fragrant and silent
said I couldn’t bear
to let it pass in slumber”
“Symbolic” by Claire Roche
Claire’s music brought many of the Pilgrims to tears. She sat there, unable to do much else. This magical creature was so talented, yet so humble.
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“Welcome! Welcome!”, he said. His arms open wide, he gestured toward the cottage. “Go on up. I’ll be right there.”
The Pilgrims gathered outside, taking photos and chatting quietly. Soon, they were taken though and out to the back garden, where the tree labyrinth was waiting.
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“You will be cold. Chilled to the bone. Brought to the cusp of death, sat at the precipice, pushed to the edge. You will have to make your way back. Kicking and screaming, if need be.”
When my Pilgrimage brought me to Oweynagat Cave, I wasn’t certain what to expect. Although I did not physically descend into the darkness, my experience was profound and I came away a changed person.
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