Loss has its emotional impacts such as loneliness, sadness, and anger. Have you been in a situation when you lost someone and try to cope with grief? Join me and gain insight into one of the ways you can overcome your loss.
THE DIFFICULTY OF LOSING SOMEONE
I’m lying on the bed, staring at the ceiling in the darkness. It doesn’t matter how hard I try; I just can’t go to sleep. Although I feel exhausted, my brain is full of thoughts. They are spinning so fast that I think my head can explode any minute. Oh God, why didn’t you design for us a button which would help me just simply turn on or off with a simple push?
I always thought that being a mother is a remarkable thing. I couldn’t wait to get the opportunity to experience it. Then finally my time arrived. At least that’s what I thought. But my life held a different path for me.
Losing someone is a difficult thing. It impacted me both physically and mentally. Suddenly, my life turned inside out, and every day felt like I am sitting on a roller coaster going up and down. A war was taking place between acceptance and anger. Although many people around me try to help, I feel completely alone. But what can I do to break this vicious circle? How can I learn to live with this loss?
Hope is always there but you need to find it and believe it.
Well, I have to approach this like a game of chess, just one step at a time. And what is the most important aspect for a player to win the game? Patience and time. I have to accept that the healing process is not going to happen from one day to another.
While I clearly see my goal, I felt that the world around me is just shrinking. Everything was uncomfortable and annoying. I have to break out but how?
A FORM OF HOPE TO OVERCOME MY LOSS
I met Sonia through a mutual friend. She is a psychologist and certified coach. She created the Journeys of Self-discovery™ program, which uses travel for personal and social transformation. I enjoyed our conversation and helped me to find a way to deal with my mental health, anger, and acceptance.
The places and people that surround me trigger emotional memories. In order to move forward, I need to change the environment. And one of the best ways to do it is to Travel! Even if it’s just a couple of days, I have to get out of here, out of my house, out of my life.
THE JOURNEY BEGAN
It is early morning. The sky is covered with clouds and only a few sunbeams reach the ground. But I don’t care. I am in Ireland so every day without a rain shower is a good day. My bags are ready and now all I need to do is figure out how everything will fit in my small car. After winning the challenge of the jigsaw, I am ready. Ready to learn, experience and enjoy the next few days. So, with a combination of excitement and a heavy heart, I hit the road and my journey began…
MARBLE ARCH CAVES
My first destination is the Marble Arch Caves. I can see the high hills from far away and it is already looking incredible. As I am driving on the small road, the beauty of this place unfolded more and more. The green fields with countless sheep gazing around remind me of the typical Irish landscape.
While I am waiting for my tour, I am tuning up by reading some information in the visitor centre. It is so exciting to step into a world which was undisturbed for thousands of years. During this time the river formed impressive cave passages in complete darkness. Then the long sleep of the Marble Arch Caves ended when Eduard Martel found this cave in 1895.
The tour begin and I am ready to explore the underworld of rivers. After walking across the wooded nature reserve, I arrive at the cave entrance. Here, a boat journey begin up to the subterranean Cladagh River. Then I continue with an exciting walk. As I am following the pathway, I immerse myself in the history of Martel’s first expedition learning more about his innovative past and discover the passages, chambers, and the interesting formations. The tranquil ambience is incredible and really uplifts the soul.
ST. PATRICK`S WELL BALLYSHANNON
On the way to Donegal, I decided to take a short break in a small town called Ballyshannon. While I am enjoying my sandwich and coffee, I begin a conversation with a lady who worked in the cafe. She is very friendly and gives me a few tips on which places is worth a visit in Co. Donegal.
One of her tips is this beautiful spot just outside Ballyshannon. And she is right. This incredible scenic place is overlooking the picturesque Abbey Bay and Sheegus Hill with the Sligo Leitrim mountains in the background. During my explorations, I discover a Saint Patrick’s Grotto dating back to 1929. As a gift from Maurice Hayes, a new statue was blessed at the Abbey Well by Monsignor McGinley D.D. in 1932. When I step closer, I see an inscription saying, “Pray for the Donor.” During its history, this place was home for religious and social events. This includes the Assumption Feast (15 August), which is still celebrated today.
While I am exploring this place, another visitor tells me a little bit more about the water in the Well. Apparently, the Abbey Well water is beneficial for eye problems. Another interesting feature of the well is the rags on the white thorn bushes. They remind us that the old tradition of believing in wonders is still part of the modern world. So, I decided to step into the lines of pilgrims and offer a coin to St Patrick to help me heal. Well, let’s see.
Continuing my journey, I arrive at Donegal town, and to my next destination which is the 15th-century castle standing at the river Eske. The O’Donnell family built it originally. Sir Basil Brooke rebuilt it in a Jacobean style in the 16th century.
Join me and let’s discover the history of this mysterious place. As I am walking into the tower house, I find a series of information panels. They chronicle the story of the castle from the time of the Gaelic lords through the plantation and the long years of ruin, up to the recent restoration which brought this magnificent building back to its original state. The interior design is beautiful with the wooden floor and roof, the periodic furniture, the tapestries on the wall, and the large fireplace decorated with carved fruit and an imperious coat of arms. In the basement I explore a stone interior with barrels and baskets.
The tour of the castle was incredible and gave me an opportunity to step out from reality and immerse myself in the history between the 15th century and the present day.
SALTHILL BAY BEACH DONEGAL
My next destination is a lovely, quiet beach. The sand has plenty of shells and tiny rocks. I collect some for memories and to use them as decorations. As I am walking along, I feel that time stopped. I close my eyes and immerse myself in the relaxing atmosphere created by the combination of the fresh air, the sound of waves, and birds.
It was a fascinating place that gives you a special feeling and allows you to empty your head.
Driving on the narrow roads in the heart of Donegal is spectacular. I am surrounded by wild scenery and the central highlands. Every turn offers a stunning view of mountains, lakes, sea cliffs, and stone walls. I wish that this journey would never end. Finally, I arrive at this village which overlooks Glen Bay Beach and is surrounded by tremendous natural beauty. It is named after St. Colm Cille and is a replica of how Irish villages looked many years ago.
The Folk Village is a group of several small cottages with thatched roofs. It gives home for a Museum, a Gift shop, and a Tea House. It is very exciting to discover this beautiful place. The cottages are exact replicas of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and they are equipped with artifacts, utensils, and furniture of its particular period. I have dived into the Irish traditional life by learning about their culture and gained an insight into their daily life. I also find out how they cooked, what tools they used, how they get lighting and heat, as well as how they developed rich traditions in craft, music, and dance.
Next, I visit the Gift shop, where I found a wide selection of books, locally made knitwear, tapestries and other handicrafts. Then I take a short break in the Tearoom and tasted some delicious soup. I also meet some local people and I have to say they are very friendly and happy to teach me more about this spectacular place.
After visiting the folk village, I take a walk on Glen Bay Beach beneath it. The beach is beautiful with its fresh air and the restless Atlantic Ocean. While I am strolling along the sandy beach, I spotted a group of dolphins. I really enjoy watching them play in the water. The way they were jumping in the air, playing with the waves is incredible and not least entertaining.
Glencolmcille was a haven of peace and relaxation, and I felt my heart begin to heal.
MALIN BEG AKA SILVER STRAND BEACH
As I continue driving along the coastline, I come across this horseshoe-shaped beach which is situated at Malin Beg near Glencolmcille. As I am pulling into the small car park, a picturesque view greets me. The cliffs with the beautiful clear water of the wild Atlantic are just magical. I stop and look around to observe the incredible surroundings. On the West, I see the ruins of Temple Cavan Old Church. On the South, the Slieve League Mountains rise providing a stunning landscape.
After I descend the 174 steps, I arrive at a beautiful sandy beach surrounded by high cliffs. While I’m walking around, I collect more shells and meet a diver who explains to me the unique aquatic life of this place. He also shows me spots for different species.
Finally, I go back to the car park, grab my picnic basket and a blanket, and settle down on the grassy hill above the beach. Watching the sunset gave me a wonderful experience and a lifetime memory.
AN PORT TRÁ NA BÁD, CO DONEGAL
An Port is situated in one of the most remote and wildest areas of Ireland. While I am driving on the narrow winding road between high hills, I pass by beautiful lakes, forests, and rivers. A small lane leads down to this hidden gem. The coastline of this little harbour has amazing shaped rocks which formed by the wild Atlantic that constantly crashes against the shore. As I’m exploring this incredible place, I met a fisherman who just came back from the ocean. He kindly explain the history of his unique hidden gem.
Then, I turn my interest to the surroundings and suddenly I spot the remains of a small settlement. The stone houses were abandoned during the great famine. Now, the ruins standing there silently reflecting the sad events that took place over the centuries.
Beside the rocky beach, I come across a path. Following the road, I walk across a small bridge that looks over a narrow river. Then I end up on the top of a hill where I discover a cross. When I step closer, I see a superscription which explains that the statue is a commemoration for those fishermen who lost their life here.
Visiting this place gave me a great experience. It was very peaceful, and I felt so united with nature.
As I am approaching my next visiting point the series of mountains and cliffs are stunning. The Slieve League cliffs are almost twice the height of the Eiffel Tower. After parking the car, I begin to climb up to the viewpoint. Suddenly, I am joined by an elderly gentleman and we engage in conversation. I find out that he lives at the bottom of the hill, and he is very knowledgeable about the history of this place. We stop at the Éire sign where I discover that the sign used as a navigation aid during the second world war for allied aircraft that fly through the Donegal Corridor. While I am listening to this incredible story, I can imagine the past history of this place.
Finally, we arrive at the viewpoint and once again I wasn’t disappointed. The natural beauty and the scenery of the Atlantic Ocean and the Slieve League Cliffs are breathtaking. I take my time and immerse myself in the beauty of the surroundings including Sligo’s hill and its coastline which is visible from here.
During my exploration, I learn about two unique places hidden in these hills. On the mountain’s slopes, there is an early Christian monastic site. It has a series of beehive huts, a chapel, and ancient stone remains. At the Carrigan Head, there is an old signal tower which dates back to the Napoleonic wars.
The experience of hiking the Slieve League hill was exceptional. The landscape with grazing sheep on the hillsides and on the cliffs reminded me of the Irish postcards I saw at the airport. The atmosphere was calm, relaxing and refreshing at the same time. I found this place perfect to heal and recharge.
Continue driving on this beautiful scenic road alongside the coast, I arrive at this little town. Killybegs is the largest fishing port in the country and on the island of Ireland. Historically, the town has been associated with fishing, which can be traced back to St. Catherine of Alexandria’s patronage of seafarers from the 15th century. This is reflected by the many boats resting in the harbour.
The town has an interesting and long history. This place was inhabited since prehistoric times which is proven by the ring forts most of them near the shore. Then an early monastic settlement arose here. In 1588, a Spanish vessel called La Girona sailed into Killybegs during the war between Spain and England.
I sit in a restaurant at the seaside. My table is situated at the window with a beautiful view of the Atlantic and the harbour. While I enjoy my seafood, I am watching a boat just arriving from the ocean with fresh catch. I really love this unique dining experience.
After the delicious food, I walk around the town and visit medieval sites such as the grave slab of Chief Neil Mor MacSuibhne from the 16th century, and the remains of St. Catherine’s Church and Graveyard. I also explore historical buildings such as St. Mary’s Church which was the home of Bishop McGinley, a Corn Store from the 18th century, and the residence of the Bishops of Raphoe from the 14th century. Finally, I discover St Catherine’s Well.
I had a great time in this beautiful village. I was also delighted that I had the opportunity to taste dishes made from fresh fish and shellfish that were only brought from the ocean.
CLOGHANMORE MEGALITHIC TOMB
Near Glencolmcille I find this ancient gem called Cloghanmore. It is a megalithic chamber tomb of the court tomb (or court cairn).
A path leads to the site, which is surrounded by boggy fields. As I enter, I saw a large tomb with parallel twin galleries on both sides of the entrance. The two western galleries are divided into two chambers by jamb stones. One of them is topped with a large capstone. As I examine these stones closer, I see that some of them are decorated with engravings which are said to date back from the Iron Age. It is quite difficult to locate these carvings as they are very faint, so I feel lucky to find them.
Nature also introduces itself through not only the beautiful landscape but also its wildlife. While I am discovering this old place, suddenly a friendly frog appeared. Mr Frog was following me everywhere, and then finally we sadly said goodbye to each other.
Finally, I am on the right path.
Visiting this ancient corner of Ireland was a great decision. During these few days I realized that the pain will never disappear completely. It is like a tattoo. At the beginning the colors are bright, but with time they faint. By going out to a new unfamiliar place gave me new experiences. Spending time in the pure nature and observing the trees, plants, and animals how to deal with their everyday challenges helped me to learn about resilience, trust, and acceptance. The Irish culture, and friendly people gave me a lot of mental energy and fulfilled my heart with hope and peace.
Start Today & Seek Guidance
If you want to overcome your loss, don’t wait. Get started today and seek guidance. If you feel that travel will be a great help for you, I highly recommend Sonia. Take a free assessment or just simply book a consultation here.