The next time I visit Killarney, I will be sure to attend a mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Not because I’m particularly religious, but because the architecture is so beautiful, it makes you want to go church.
This visit, however, I simply took a moment to slip inside one afternoon. The only sound was the soft murmur of choir music drifting from hidden speakers and the hushed whispers of tourists and prayers.
Quietly, I lit a candle for my Grandfather. I don’t know why I did it, but I always light a candle for him when I go into one of these churches. Perhaps it is because he is Catholic and this is one way I can honor and remember him. Or perhaps, for some reason, this kind of physical act simply makes me feel more connected.
After lighting my candle, I settled down on a long, wooden pew. I watched my candle flicker; standing side-by side with dozens of other candles. Dozens of stories converted into flickering flame. I wondered who they were all lit for. Were they prayers? Or, like mine, lit of remembrance and love?
My gaze then rose up the stone columns to the vaulted ceilings; massive stone high above my head. And everywhere, interspersed through the walls of that great stone, and tucked under arches, shone intricately stained-glass windows.
As you sit in St. Mary’s, you can’t escape the feeling that you are surrounded by a great vastness; the air is permeated by the reverent quietness of the place.
Silence is a beautifully, profound thing. And even if this church is not part of your religion, I would recommend a visit. Take time to sit down and embrace the silence. Breathe in the quiet, the flickering candles, and the space…this is a moment to leave the rest of the world behind and dwell in the quiet of your own thoughts.