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Overseas and Off-Campus Programs Blog

Faeries and Giants

Author Name

Grace Mark

Author Program

Ireland: Social Sciences

Program Semester and Year

Spring 2019

Student Major


Yesterday I found myself walking along the road of Dark Hedges in Northern Ireland.  The beech trees reaching overhead are grand, yet they create a secluded tunnel reminding me of the rhododendron forests in my mountain home.  I always call the rhododendron tunnels faerie tunnels, so seeing little faerie houses scattered around the garden at the end of the road seemed fitting.  I was reminded of my childhood fascination with faeries. 

If there were faeries in those little houses I would tower over them.  For a moment at the end of that road the world felt comfortably small. 

Merely hours later I stood alone on the edge of an outcropping at Giant’s Causeway.  Around me were beautiful columnal and hexagonal formations that have existed for millions of years, way beyond my tiny blip of existence.  Behind me rolling hills and farms sprawled out for miles.  But in front of me there was no land to speak of.    I had the sensation of being on the edge of the world.  On the edge of that cliff, I felt as small as a single drop in the Irish Sea extending expansively into the distance. 

In Ireland at times the wind is as strong as the waves that were crashing below me.  In that moment the little puddle behind me simply rippled in the wind, but I was at the mercy of the elements.  I was small.   

Every moment in Ireland I find myself reassessing how large my impact on the world is.  Being in this small island country on the opposite side of the world from my home, sometimes I feel grand and sometimes I feel insignificant.  At times I feel distant from my surroundings, yet in other moments I feel deeply connected. Sometimes I’m a faerie, sometimes I’m a giant.

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