I love that Ireland has ruins.
The first time I saw any sort of ruins, I was about eight. I fell in love right away. All it was was this chimney on top a little mountain in Vermont. It was surrounded by four big rocks, each with its own ancient, fraying chain attached to it. My dad joked that back in the day, they were used to tie up bad kids, but I didn't pay him any attention. He was always trying to be funny, and, anyway, the fireplace was what really held my attention. I knew that a fireplace meant that a house must have been there once, and I had to wonder what it must have been like. I wondered what had turned the house into ruins.
Was it some sort of disaster- a fire? Or could it have been the people? Maybe they’d been such an integral part, that once they were gone, the house just couldn’t continue. Whatever the story really was, I decided that it must have been tragic. I pictured plague and running footsteps. Babies crying and wolves howling at nothing. The house falling apart. So, I guess I was kind of morbid. But, I was sure that there was magic in this place.
I remember wondering if maybe the people who had lived there once upon a time where still there, in their house, by their fireplace. I thought of them sitting at a big worn wooden table, made from the trees, probably, that stood just feet away, eating their bread and Vermont cheddar cheese, and looking out at the window that must have once been. They would watch the fog slowly drift off the valley below, revealing white houses, church steeples, and multi-colored trees. Maybe they had seen us, as we walked up the mountain into their world. I pictured them quickly demolishing their window, taking away the wooden table, the bread and cheese, and putting out the fire, making all of it disappear except for the four corner stones and the one fire place.
I wonder what I would have thought if, at that age, I saw Dunluce castle, or any ruined Irish castle. If I'd been able to run through the destroyed rooms. If I was able to peer through the windows at what is still there.
Ruins still feel magical to me. I think they always will, no matter how old I get.