Constantly Surrounded by History

17 Apr

Ireland is unlike any place I have ever been. Until coming here, I never knew what it was like to be surrounded by history. I have found that there is so much historical significance in just about everything here in Dublin. It’s amazing to walk through town and see remnants from the past. What impresses me most about Ireland is the knowledge that Irish people have about their history. I definitely couldn’t tell you that much about America! It seems that history is extremely important to Irish people and that they take pride in knowing about it.

On Monday, when the weather finally eased up, my friends and I decided to soak up the sun and go on a cliff walk in Bray. It was beautiful and so much fun to be able to share the great day with friends, but what struck me was the reason that the cliff walk is even there. Once again, I found myself in the midst of history! Luckily, a very knowledgeable Irish man was able to tell us a bit about the walk, which spurred my interest, and I was able to go home to do some further research.

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The cliff walk itself runs along the railway line from Bray to Wicklow, which actually shouldn’t be there at all. The natural route for a railway line from Shankill to Wicklow is through the Glen of the Downs, but when it was being built in the 1840s, it would have cut through Lord Meath’s estate. To prevent the railway from being built there, Lord Meath gave the railway company it’s current route at no cost. It was a very challenging railway to build and it is still one of the most expensive railways to maintain in Ireland due to the geology and natural erosion.

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Because working along the cliff was so dangerous, no machinery was used to build the railway. Instead, the cliff walk was created to provide access for workers and material during the construction. This is the same path that many walk today to enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds that Ireland has to offer. I will definitely miss having history be a part of my everyday life when I return to America.

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