Today was our day off so I spent at least an hour around hand driers. Not because I like them so much, but because my shoes and socks (as everyone else’s) were soaking wet. The meaning of the word waterproof apparently means something totally different in Ireland. I don’t know whose idea it was to use these extremely strong (at times almost violent) hand driers to assure themselves dry shoes for tomorrow, but it was surely genius.
We spent the rest of the day at Ballintubber Abbey, which is known also as “the abbey that refused to die” because mass was said there every day since 13th century no matter what. It remained active even during the persecution of catholic faith in Ireland and when it was destroyed. Time to pray, think and relax at this beautiful sight was just what we needed after yesterday. The peacefulness of the abbey seemed to have a calming effect on all of us.
Today was also an important day for our pilgrimage. Tomorrow we start walking a pilgrimage way that has a long tradition and dates to pre-Christian times. We celebrated reaching the beginning of it by celebrating mass. During it each of us picked up a rough-edged stone. These stones represent us on the beginning of our pilgrimage and will be changed for round-edged stones when we reach the top of Chroagh Patrick. This change will represent the change that will happen in us during this pilgrimage.
We ended a day by visiting a local pub and have a lovely crack (a word that is safe to use in Ireland where it means fun, but – from obvious reason – can’t be used as carelessly other where). We completed the comfortable atmosphere of the pub with good company of our co-pilgrims, singing and, of course, Irelands own Guinness.