Setting: Inishmore, Aran Islands, Ireland
It was rainy when we arrived on Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands, via ferry. We only had one day there, yet we had started it off on a bit of a low note. Our advisers wanted us to ride the bikes we had rented across the island to see an ancient ruin, but many of us were off put by the rain. I, for one, was unbelievably crabby. Having not felt well the day before, I had barely eaten anything within the last twenty-four hours and I was starving. So, I took my sour mood out on the rain and the biking and our advisers.
We biked across the beautiful landscape–oh, and was it beautiful–but I had trouble enjoying it because of my mood, a result of the gnawing hunger in my gut. When we finally arrived at an area populated by small artisan gift shops and a few cafes directly below the ruin, which we had to walk up to, a group of us decided to skip the ruin entirely and instead found the nearest cafe. Being afraid of heights, I wasn’t too upset about missing the ruin–even as the history nerd that I am–because it was perched high on a cliff. We ate a hearty meal at the cafe, relishing the hot food we were served after our cold and rainy bike ride. After eating, I felt so much better; being in a much better mood, a jaunt around some of the artisan shops seemed the natural next thing to do. The Aran Islands are famous of their wool products, which we certainly admired in the shops. I bought some mittens (kids size because my hands are so small) to make the bike ride back easier–my hands had gotten so cold on the ride there, being exposed to the rain as they were (which inevitably made me even crabbier).
It was in these shops that I came across the girl. This small figurine standing silently in her cloak and overcoat. A candle snuffer. Useful and pretty. I knew I had to get her for my mom. I had been keeping my eye out the whole trip for a souvenir for my mom and I knew she would appreciate this figurine for its aesthetic appeal (she really is quite cute) and its utility (for the few times a year we actually use candle snuffers). She just screamed “Mom,” so I picked her up for a few euros and carefully stowed her away in preparation for the bike ride back.
And here she stands today, at my parents home. Graceful, silent, the “O” formed on her lips forever remaining unspoken.
Object Found: My parents’ living room
I studied abroad in Ireland for three weeks in May of 2013 with a group from my school. This occurrence on the Aran Islands took place during that trip. For the record, the bike ride back was so much more enjoyable on a full stomach.
Also, a glimpse of Inishmore for your viewing pleasure…