Whether in life or in travel, it's easy to get caught up in our heads and focus only on our agenda, expecting things to unfold in the way we've scripted in our minds. Our destination in mind, rather than the journey.
Before our trip, as I asked around for suggestions of things to see and places to go, a friend of a friend told me this: "The thing about Ireland is that you can go practically anywhere and find something interesting. There are literally thousands of ancient sites, stones, castles, churches, cathedrals, ruins, and interesting places to go."
And he was right.
Throughout this journey, no matter what I've put on our agenda for that day, a ruin or seashore or other adventure calls to us. Before we know it we've spent hours lost in the exploration. These perhaps, are the most authentic moments in our journey. Not the big pinnacle events, but the small and unexpected detours. The surprise gifts that are always waiting just beyond the next bend.
And that was how, while our way to the Cliffs of Mohr (one of the busiest tourist destinations in all of Ireland), we found this…
This chilling, fascinating, sad, yet hopeful shrine tucked away just off the road is one of many St. Brigid's wells found in Ireland.
As we walked through, I couldn't decide if it was a Pagan or Christian sacred site.
It turns out it (as well as Brigid) is both.
I am fascinated by St. Brigid and the melding she seems to represent of Ireland's Pagan history and modern day Christian beliefs, one foot in each world. Honestly, I was enamored. This, of course, is not what we set of to find. But there it was, a detour inviting us off the beaten path and onto another adventure.
The well was fascinating. And, as it turned out, even more captivating than the cliffs we set off to explore.
So if I were to offer you some simple advice it would be this: take that next detour. Because you never know what you might discover. No matter where your journey leads.
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More fun Brigid facts!
The Pagan holiday of Imbolc, or Brigid, is a mid-winter celebration marking the halfway point between winter and spring. It is a fire celebration that centers around the growing strength of the winter sun. (We celebrate it each year with a fire in the wood stove and a treat of flaming bananas.)
Brigid occurs on February 2, and today is known by most people only as Groundhog's Day. Pagan, Christian, and secular traditions. Fascinating!