I'll be honest. I'm exhausted. I've been awake for 30 hours. However, exhaustion is not always a negative thing. I have spent the last 30 hours with some of my best friends.
The flights to Dublin were crammed and uncomfortable, but that's all part of the experience. Once we landed in the Dublin airport, it felt like a dream. The accents, the culture, even the air is all so different and new. It's almost like you're seeing everything again for the first time.
None of us have traveled to Europe before, and the fact that we can all share this once-in-a-lifetime experience together is a blessing I don't think we fully understand.
Once we landed in Dublin, we boarded the bus to Newgrange, which is a prehistoric monument built during the Neolithic period around 3200 BC. Though I am not a fan of small spaces, I forced myself inside and made my way through the caverns to find a small room of worship.
There are many theories behind why they built this structure; some say it was a place of worship, or a palace to remember the dead. My theory is different than most of these. I'm banking on aliens. Let's talk about it! The boulders they used to build this structure would have taken them 5 days and 80 men to get one stone up the hill. It has to be aliens—and that is not the lack of sleep taking either.
After the alien exhibit, we hopped back in the van, making our way to Mercy International. After a well-deserved nap and the best shower of my life, we took a tour of Catherine Elizabeth McAuley's house. It is one thing to read about Catherine and her journey, but to be in the house where all of these acts of Mercy and kindness were performed blows my mind. To walk where she walked and to see what she saw is a blessing within itself. She was one of the most selfless and humble humans to ever walk the planet.
Her legacy lives on, and I am so proud to say that I am a Carlow Mercy Leader.
Overall, the day has been long and I feel like I'm in The Twilight Zone, but I have never been so happy and so full of excitement. I pray that we all find peace during this pilgrimage and that we open up and fully embrace this experience.
Read more from the pilgrimage.
View photos of Ireland from the Mercy Leaders.