Walking the Shannon River

August 3, 2010

It’s no wonder that some folks believe in faeries.

The Shannon River, which runs alongside the University of Limerick in Ireland.

Not if you’ve visited Ireland, anyway. The walk we took along the Shannon River today had a magical air about it. We were asked to quietly follow the path that leads along the river to an abandoned and ruined 14th century watch tower. The assignment was to imagine we were travel writers, gathering observations about our surroundings- sights, sounds, tastes, smells. I took down four pages of notes, which you can find here if you like.

Tiny insects flit around your ears, looking almost like strange miniature dragonflies with their quick wings and long bodies. It was very easy to suspend disbelief (the way one might do with a science fiction novel) and imagine they were tiny, mischievous faeries tugging at my hair and whispering into my ears. The sound of rushing river water and the fresh air is intoxicating. A light mist of rain falls most of the time, muddying up the dirt path and casting a dewey layer of water on plant life and our eclectic array of umbrellas.

Here, Lauren, Torie, Naomi, Daylina and Carol pose next to the 14th century watch tower. Photo by Dr. Rick Wilber.

The 14th century watch tower we encountered on our foot travels was both beautiful and treacherous. The remaining  walls towered high into the overcast sky and ivy crept up the sides as if to lay claim to the ruins. Some of us braved the crumbling stone steps and explored the inside of what was once probably a magnificent building, now a treasure of the forest along the Shannon, a relic of centuries come and gone. If only buildings could speak and help us write our history books.

On the way back, I pulled myself back from the rest of my group members to immerse myself in the experience, to contemplate the beauty of this country and to hear nature as if I myself were a wood nymph and she a patron nature goddess whispering words of wisdom to my soul.

On the walk back, something rustled very quickly through the foliage and my messenger bag’s strap yanked me backwards. My first, panicked thought was that I was about to be carried off by the faeries, The Stolen College Student.

Unfortunately, it was just a tree branch that my strap got caught on so I continued my journey back to the dorms and made spaghetti for some of my roommates, which is a close second to being carried off by Irish faeries.

Stairwell inside the watch tower. It was quite a climb to get inside but once we made it, the view was stunning.

This was taken inside the watch tower, from the other side. There are only two or three walls left so the tower is open to nature.

Here, most of the Bulls pose for a picture on a walk along the Shannon River. Photo by John Sadler.


3 Responses to “Walking the Shannon River”

  1. Carol said

    I love this one. I would of experience the walk much differently if I thought in the perspective you had. Amazing!

  2. Dr. Rick said

    Very nice writing, Daylina.
    –Dr. Rick

  3. Christine Turple said

    Great pictures AND writing.

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