So, after we visited Ballinskelligs Castle and opted to take the bus back, instead of walking, we actually had quite a lot of free time. Since we’re lazy girls, and two of the few people who decided to take the bus, we asked the bus driver if he would drop us off in Cahersiveen proper, so we could do a little sightseeing and shopping (because what girl doesn’t like shopping?). He kindly dropped us off at the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church. Daniel O’Connell was quite an impressive man, and made quite a major contribution to Irish history. He was, strangely enough for his time, a staunch pacifist– he believed that violence should never be the conduit for change, and only joined the militia when he found that there was no acceptable excuse for him not to. Still, he opposed violence, and was a very skilled barrister. His most major accomplishment perhaps was the work he did campaigning for Catholic emancipation. There is little wonder, then, that a church would be named after him, especially in the town of his birth–he was born in Cahersiveen in 1775.
We went over to the church because, well, first of all, it’s pretty, and second of all, it seemed appropriate to stop in and say a prayer. For those of you not familiar with Catholicism, most churches have an area where there is a table with graduating steps, where people light candles and say a prayer. Some places you bring your own candles, and others, you leave a donation and take one of the already provided candles. In many of the Irish churches, these are dedicated for prayers of peace around the world, often citing Psalm 122, which encourages the reader to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and continues on with what is often used as a more general prayer or blessing: May there be peace within thy walls and prosperity within thy palaces. The psalm ends with an admonition to, because of the Lord, seek “thy” good. I’m sure the author probably meant Jerusalem, but between Jerusalem and that particular thy, there’s a few mentions of people in general and brethren and companions, so I like to think of it as a more general thy, as in everybody else’s. I quite like the psalm, and I often leave a donation and light a candle, because while lighting a candle does absolutely nothing for world peace, I think the moment of introspection that occurs while you’re thinking about the fact that lighting a candle won’t change the world does something for you, and it makes you think a little bit about how you might change the world.
So I lit one. MK was with me, and, although she is not religious at all, she chose to light one too, and we both stood there, thinking, hopefully about peace. I kind of had “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” stuck in my head. I don’t know why.
We eventually left, and quietly wandered down the street and in and out of a variety of shops. One of the nice things about MK is she understands that sometimes being quiet is okay, and you don’t have to rush to try to fill the space. We stopped at a shop that had items made by a lot of local artisans, all of which was beautifully done. Unfortunately, most of it was far too large and expensive for either of us to consider buying. I did find a small flower brooch, and I bought it for one of my surrogate grandmothers (all of my grandparents have passed away, but one of my childhood friends’ grandmother kind of adopted me when I was a kid, so I still think of her as an extra grandma). I know Christmas is quite a long way away, but if I do my shopping slowly, there’s a better chance I’ll be able to fit it all in my suitcases to get it home. We also stopped in at a healthy food store because they had post cards, and I ended up finding some stinging nettle there, already dried. I went ahead and bought it, since I had none at the apartment, and this was easier than randomly trying to harvest it at a stone fort.