Sometimes bad experiences come at once or all together, multiplied together with no regard. In my case, my mother’s cancer worsened, I was out of a job, and my house was robbed, all in the span of three months. My internal compass shattered. I desperately sought my next phase in life, running in never-ending circles. Should I take this job? Should I take this class? Should I get back into Pilates?! Should I, Should I, barf.
I couldn’t commit to anything but, one day, an ad for Aer Lingus popped up on my Facebook feed, a roundtrip flight to Dublin from Houston. I bought a ticket without thought. My husband couldn’t go but (luckily) my friend could join me and, two weeks later, we embarked on our Celtic journey, that eventually led me to Howth.
It was October and Dublin was starting to get crisp for winter. We had just missed a warm week, apparently, and everyone was busting out the mittens, jackets, and boots. Coming from a city with no real fall, this felt like the real deal. The trees were golden brown and red. With glimpses of Halloween throughout, from the stacked pumpkins outside pubs and gothic architecture at Trinity College, I felt October in the flesh.
We did all the things you’re supposed to do in Dublin:
- Visit the Guinness Factory
- See the Book of Kells
- Shop on Grafton Street
- Go to Johnnie Fox’s for River Dancing
I was even called on stage to dance at Johnnie Foxes and was slightly mortified. But what really stole my heart was outside Dublin. A fishing village 30 minutes from the city, Howth was out of a dream.
We walked along the port in Howth, getting closer and closer to the sound of live music playing at the end, right before land met sea. It was the middle of the day and the sun was hidden, as per usual. The wind was strong and the clouds grey, a setting I eventually grew fond of. We stopped and sat on cement steps, overlooking a lighthouse and countless sailboats. An Irish guitarist sang Neil Young, his charming voice overshadowing the noise of nearby seagulls gawking.
At that moment, time stood still. I saw the world as it was and it was a sight to be seen. I had nowhere to go but it wasn’t scary anymore. Ireland struck a chord in me and brought me peace. I understood better. I felt better. I knew I would be ok because places like this existed. Moments like this we’re possible. Happiness was real upon discovery, even below all of the bullshit. I finally saw a path merging ahead of me and, although I didn’t know exactly what it was yet, I felt good that something would happen for me. Eventually.