Graves & Churches through Ireland, Scotland, and England


The most memorable places I visited on a recent two-week trip through Ireland and the UK were the graveyards — the massive, historical urban ones, and the tiny, almost-forgotten rural ones stumbled upon during long walks. 

The most stunning of these was on Inis Oírr, the smallest of the Aran Islands in Galway Bay. Less popular a destination than its sister islands, it boasts the beautiful St. Cavan's Church, built in the 10th century. Now below ground level, its excavated ruins stand in the center of a graveyard with views of most of the island.

In England, I spent one day walking nearly 20 miles through the Lake District, wandering from Windermere up to Ambleside, and continuing on to Grasmere. While I'd set out with the intention of visiting Wordsworth's grave, it was much less exciting than I'd hoped (but just as exciting as I'd expected, I suppose). So it was the small, quiet moments along the empty paths that made this day truly memorable — finding a tiny, desolate church, a tragic dead sheep aside a stream, a tree trunk embedded with quarters, an overgrown cemetery.

Then there were the bigger and more well-known cemeteries — the Necropolis in Glasgow, with some beautiful decayed lettering —

— Glasnevin, in Dublin, with its huge sprawl ranging from highly manicured to spookily slanted — 

— and there were, of course, lots of very happy animals along the way between all of these places.