Studied in Ireland, Summer 2012
Castles tend to tell the tale of a time when lords reigned, knights traveled far and wide, women wore dresses of delectable taste, and battles were fought on both sides of the towering walls. In Ireland, it seems as if every other field has its own castle ruins, each with its own story from the past. Some are restored to their former fame and glory, allowing us to easily understand what life was like decades before; others are left to crumble, festooned with ivy and slowly merging into the landscape, forcing us to merely imagine the fate of its former residents. Tintern Abbey in County Wexford is one such ruin of a castle. A phenomenally preserved relic of Ireland’s past, this Abbey was originally a Cistercian abbey, where a simple life of work, love, prayer, and self-denial would have been present. This abbey is a structural link to Ireland’s culture – a relic of history that withstood the elements and circumstances of time – that helps us today to better understand the past customs, habits, and values of the Irish people.