I was so tired last night, once I laid down in my hammock, the lights truly went out. I slept for nine hours, until the sun and wind woke me up.
Yesterday was my last last day in Ireland. My bug bites woke me up around 4am and I couldn’t get back to sleep. So I decided to try to make the 8am ferry from Dublin to Wales. Only one thing stood between me and my goal: the city of Dublin. Oh, and the fact that my phone wasn’t working so I was relying on a very sketchy memory of the route I should take across town.
I walked the last bit of the Wicklow Way, until I reached Marlay Park, where it ends, and through which my route took me. But the park was closed, gates locked. Surely they had forgotten about early hikers like me!
I climbed over the gates, finished the Wicklow Way, then continued on to the other side of the park and climbed out the other gate.
Then I started my trek through still-very-asleep-Dublin.
All was quiet at first. No lights shone in the houses in the quiet neighborhoods I walked through. A fox was the first Dubliner I came across. He stopped and stared at me for a minute, and I stopped and stared at him. Later on a lone cyclist passed by me, perhaps on his way to work.
Then, little by little, the sun rose and the city began to shake off its sleepiness. And just as it started to bustle, I stumbled upon what I had been looking for: a path that followed the river Dodder through almost the length of the city.
The Dodder is small, almost really a stream where I met it, but there is a path along the whole thing. There were herons, and trout, and water lilies galore. There were pretty foot bridges across the river, and waterfalls, and forests. I stopped at one bridge and talked to a lady who was taking photos of the herons, Mary.
As luck would have it, I arrived, a very weary walked, at the ferry terminal just as the ferry pulled away. And so I had four hours to wait.
I took a bus into town and bought a power cable for my phone, from which I gleaned that I could make mass at the pro-cathedral. I like to go daily, but my pilgrimage doesn’t make that possible. So it was nice to be able to go!
Afterwards I went to confession, and had a fascinating conversation with the priest. It turns out he knew quite a lot about Saint Kevin and his times. I had always thought that Saint Kevin chose Glendalough for his monastery because it was a remote place where he could be alone and pray. And today it is very much an end-of-the-road kind of place, remote and quiet.
But in Kevin’s day, the priest explained, Glendalough was at the crossing of three very important roads: two that passed through the mountains and one that went from north to south. Kevin chose to put his monastery at the crossroads.
This rang true because in the Life of Kevin he is meeting all kinds of people on the roads around Glendalough, and all kinds of people are stopping by.
I’m so glad I met this priest! I’ll need to rewrite things a bit, but I love when I uncover a bit more of the truth about a saint.
Anyway, the ferry ride was really fun, and I arrived in Wales yesterday evening. I started my walk along the coast, the sun slowly setting behind me. Along the way, I came across a boy, Moe, kicking a soccer ball into a goal. So I challenged him to a penalty shootout. He’d have ten shots and I’d be goalie, then I’d have ten and he’d be goalie.
We’ll, let’s say that,… I thought I was better at soccer! He scored seven goals and I scored three. But it was hands down the most beautiful place I’ve ever kicked a soccer ball—on a field looking out across the Irish Sea, with the sun setting in all its glory.
I took today off and just rested and slept. Tomorrow I’ll continue my trek across Anglesey Island.