A Wandering Widow Post
I wrote in my last post about the essential role Forgiveness played in my Grief Recovery Journey. And I’ve worked incredibly hard at it. But if I’m entirely truthful, I have still struggled to forgive God/The Divine/The Universe/Whatever You Want to Call It for allowing two of the people I’ve loved most in the world to suffer and die the way they did. ALERT: This is not a religious post, so if you’re thinking about chiming in about faith and spirituality, or with any religious platitudes, you can back that truck up right now. Go on, back it up. I’ll wait. A little more. Yep, okay we’re good.
Just like those I visited in Scotland, Ireland has many ancient sacred sites that I wanted to see. Without a car, that was next to impossible. I got a great referral to Teresa Collins, a psychic medium who does private tours of sacred sites, and booked a day with her. With decision making fatigue setting in, I decided to go with the flow. And in a “hey show me watcha got” move I let her choose our itinerary based upon what she thought I needed most. I just knew I wanted to go somewhere interesting that most people don’t get to see. She picked me up in Kilkenny bright and early and we headed out to Kildare to explore the sites associated with St. Brigid. Not the stone circles I was anticipating, but still fascinating, so coolio.
We visited some beautiful places, but the best part was the surprise meeting she’d set up for me with Sister Mary of the Brigidine Sisters of Ireland. I’m not Catholic, and the only things I know about the Catholic faith are what my beautiful friend A.E. has taught me over the last few years. I knew nothing about Brigid (Saint or Goddess) except for what I crammed the two days before our tour. I won’t go into details since this was a profoundly moving experience for me, but it was a quantum leap forward in my grief recovery. All I know is I left with peace, love, and forgiveness in my heart and a Sister Mary hug to go with it. I’d say Teresa knew exactly what I needed.
The Wandering Widow
Live Now. Dream Big. Love Fierce
St. Brigid of Kildare was born in the mid-5th century. She was a spiritual leader, peacemaker, and an advocate for the poor. She also bridged the pre-Christian Celtic and Christian Celtic Spirit, establishing monasteries for both men and women. Unusual for her time, she also held a leadership role in the Catholic Church in Ireland.
The Solas Bhríde Centre is close to both St. Brigid’s well and St. Brigid’s Cathedral, the original site of the monestary. The Centre and Hermitages are unique for many reasons, one of which is their commitment to protecting the environment. The facility uses 0% fossil fuels, being powered by wind, solar and ice tubes. Ice tubes were new to me, but the simplistic explanation I took away was that it works similar to the warm coils in the back of the freezer, only in this case it’s the reverse. The ice tubes provide heat. Pretty cool stuff.
IRISH NATIONAL STUD
I’d seen the Irish National Stud on a map of Ireland as I was preparing to leave Scotland. I thought it was funny, and even made jokes about how us single ladies would appreciate it if all maps were so clearly labeled. Whomp Whomp. Guess you had to have been there.
The National Stud is where Ireland’s prized stallions are stabled and live a life of luxury in a stall larger than my first apartment. It is amazing. In addition to the stables, there are beautiful gardens onsite available to tour. If you’re in Kildare, don’t miss it. Oh, and just in case you aren’t used to being around prize stallions worth more than your entire stock portfolio, standing at the edge of the paddock exclaiming, “Ooh look at the pretty horseys,” is not how you look cool.
THE JAPANESE GARDENS
I’ve seen a lot of Japanese gardens in my life, and the one at Kildare is one of my all time favorites. Definitely in my Top 5 if not tied for first place. Designed by Tassa Eida in 1906, this garden packs a lot into a small space. The garden represents the journey of life we all must take, and walking the symbolic paths from birth through death is like being transported into a Japanese poem. I almost cried at the end when I reached the Hill of Mourning. i’m so glad I ended up here in the fall since that’s when Japanese gardens are at their most beautiful.
ST. FIACHRA’S GARDEN
A tribute to Ireland’s natural beauty, St. Fiachra’s Garden is almost wild compared to the formality of the Japanese Garden. Take the time to stroll through and find the fairy gardens and sculptures hidden in the trees. You can even walk through a reproduction beehive shaped stone monastic cell, which you can still find ruins of all over Ireland.