I am writing this blog post from the Markree Castle in County Sligo, about a three hour train ride from Dublin. This is my BFF’s second weekend in Ireland and we wanted to get out and see some of Ireland that isn’t Dublin. And wow, we are definitely not in the city anymore.
Markree Castle is pretty magnificent. I feel like I’m weekending at Downton Abbey. I fully expect Mrs. Hughes to bring me tea and biscuits at any moment. This castle has an interesting history dating back to the 16th century and, today, though now a “hotel”, it is still owned by the same family – the Coopers. The Markree is also rumored to be haunted. And there were some very strange things going on with my alarm clock last night that I am choosing to attribute to a ghost.
This is my first time since moving here that I’ve ventured well outside of Dublin. When one lives someplace it becomes very, very easy to get caught up in the everyday minutiae of life and we can forget to explore what’s in our own backyard. The sweet taxi driver who drove us to the train station yesterday has lived in Dublin his entire life and never been to the Guinness factory. I’ve grew up with Niagara Falls within a stone’s throw and have never been on the Maid of the Mist. When something is always there, it’s too easy to leave it for “someday.”
I am going to make a concerted effort while living in Dublin to NOT let that happen to me. There is so much to explore in Ireland, not to mention in Dublin itself. As an expat, perhaps I am a little more aware of how lucky I am to have so much so close. But I still need keep myself from getting into the rut of the everyday. I think as an expat, we almost have a duty to take advantage of what is so close and see as much as possible. After all, it’s a privilege for us to be where we are. A privilege that many others would absolutely love to have. I must not forget that.
I had planned to close this post with some pictures of the Markree so that you all could be suitably jealous. But alas, wi-fi in 16th century Irish castles just isn’t what it used to be. The pictures will have to wait until I get back to “civilization.”