Pillows of green as far as the eye can see, sheep happily meandering through the grounds of a manor house, the reflection of a sunset dancing across a glassy lake. Pop quiz: Are these phrases stolen from a cheesy romance novel or snapshots of our weekend in Sligo? Answer: Both.
Sarah and I joined the Notre Dame students studying in Dublin as leaders on a recent weekend field trip to the West of Ireland. The two days were packed with breathtaking views that now have me convinced that Ireland may be the most beautiful place on Earth.
We saw W. B. Yeats’ grave, and the massive Benbulbin standing just behind it.
We walked along the Atlantic coastline, spotted a pod of dolphins, and hiked up Knocknarea to Queen Meabh’s cairn.
We took in the endless beauty of Glencar Lake and Waterfall in Leitrim.
I rode a pig.
But most importantly, woven into these moments were opportunities to build relationships with the students and staff who are here in Dublin with us. Both the Notre Dame and Harold’s Cross communities have been incredibly welcoming and open to our presence, and I am so looking forward to having these moments throughout the year, whether they be hour-long hikes through the hills of Ireland or quick smiles shared across the choir loft. These are the snapshots that I wish I could share with all of you: choir members comforting one another, students taking selfies with cows, and a sixth-class student knowing that Padre Pio was blessed with stigmata. It’s the little things, the quick moments, that are making and will continue to make this experience such a special one.
Sending love from Dublin,