“Did they realize how lucky they were?” This was a question I asked myself over and over again as we journeyed to the Aran Islands and County Galway this past weekend. As I stood at the edge of the island in the ancient stone fortress of Dun Aonghasa, I wondered what they thought when they settled on this small island. Did they know that views like they had were not common every day sights? Did they know that thousands of years later millions of people would come and gaze at the water smashing against the cliffs to their left just as they did? If only I could go back in time and be with those ancient Europeans as they traveled by boat through the cold oceans and stumbled upon the three Aran Islands. If only I could get in their heads and see why they chose this spot, how they built the amazing fortress with little technology, and what all they used it for.
I think that is the fascinating thing about history-the mystery behind it all. I have not realized until this journey to Ireland how intriguing it all is. We can go to incredible sites like Dun Aonghasa and know a little about the people who lived there, but do we really know what they were like? What they found to be funny? What a normal evening with a family looked like? What they thought about their spectacular view?
I come from a small city in central Texas. Imagining seeing views of cliffs and large oceans on a daily basis is laughable. I hope that on this trip, and in life to come, that I never lose my wonder of the world. That I never get tired of views or of beauty and that I will constantly ask myself, “do I really realize how lucky I am?”