Dingle: Steeped in history
Atop a short cliff overlooking the slant-roof village of Dingle, a stiff wind rolls off the sea. A fresh chill hangs in the air, brought in from the ocean. Nearby cows and distant sheep meander across a rolling green landscape that stretches off into an overcast sky. Watching over this scene is a rugged tower set just short of the cliff’s edge. It’s yellowed with mossy age, and, over the years, stones have fallen out of place around the windows, resting in the dirt below. Grass sprouts from between its ramparts.
At first glance, the tower seems to have lost its once-royal splendor. There’s no more gold; no more grandeur. It’s an old, forgotten castle tower on an Irish cliff.
But the attentive observer, after sitting for a while, will understand that in losing its grandeur it’s gained a more subtle splendor: a certain wisdom that only comes with age.
The test of time
Through storms, battles, and time, the structure has survived. And in surviving, it’s become something to be noticed; a holy relic of the past. This is a sacred place, which God has deemed important enough to withstand when everything else has decayed. . Its stones have seen the passing of time. And because of that, holds the thoughts, ideas, joys, sorrows, struggles and experiences of generations of people.
Sitting in the wind, I can almost hear the voices of rugged farmers whose calloused hands laid the stones; I can hear their struggles, picks slamming into dirt, voices raised in desperation. On the wind, I taste their salt tears, their breath whispering against my bare face. The closer I get to the ancient stones — pass my fingers over their rough edges — the stronger these sensations become.
However, while a noble task, carrying all of that history is a heavy burden. It’s pressed the old tower down into the earth. I suppose that’s why it appears so tired and weathered.
Around me, tourists step back for a better photo angle. Parents corral children before they run off the edge. Cows drift through grass, nudging calves along. Crows slide over the ocean. One youngster climbed up the old stones and sat in a window for a photo. Inside, beer cans rotted remnant of teenage parties. Far off, cars whiz past toward the village.
Life goes on as it always has. And I’m sure it always will.
The one constant, through it all, has been and will be the old tower, dutifully watching the world turn, and existence change with it.