It was meant to be time designated to hammer out my literature review for my dissertation, but it ended up being so much more than that. I booked a last-minute flight to Dublin, Ireland, to experience a change of scenery and get some writing done. After arriving Tuesday afternoon, I checked into Pebble Beach Resort – my home for the next few nights. It was absolute perfection – the decor was full of vintage charm, there were fresh, homemade scones on the table, and the old-fashioned radio was softly playing golden-oldies. My hosts were Frank and Cathy, which coincidentally, are my grandparents’ names. I felt right at home.

Having indulged in a raspberry scone, I walked the beach to the line of restaurants and shops along the sea shore. It was so refreshing to be next to the ocean; I felt like it was the start of summer vacation on Denman Island. Travelling solo, I’m getting used to eating meals alone in restaurants, but am always grateful for the company of a good book. This time, however, I was determined to read at least a few academic articles while seated The Blue Bar, where I opted for a healthy salad.

On Wednesday morning, I was up bright and early to take the train into Dublin to visit the Book of Kells exhibition at Trinity College Dublin. The exhibition was spectacular, but it was the Long Room in the Old Library that took my breath away. I was in complete awe as I stood surrounded by centuries-old, leather-bound books. When I finally managed to pull myself away from the beauty of the hall, I headed downstairs into the gift shop, stopping at the display of wool blankets. Each stunning in their own right, one in particular caught my attention. On its corner was a patch that read “May you live all the days of your life” – a quotation from Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. That really spoke to me. After some contemplation, I bought it, a keepsake of my “Year of Yes”.

My next stop was Sweny’s Pharmacy. Ran as a pharmacy until 2009, it now functions as a dedicated James Joyce museum due to its mention in Ulysses. I chatted with the volunteer at the counter, and was reminded that as a former English Literature student, I have some brushing up to do on my knowledge of Irish novelists.

After a day of exploring Dublin, I was grateful to be heading back towards “my” little seaside cottage. Embracing the theme of “The Year of Yes”, I headed to the Brick House restaurant, where I treated myself to the MOST delicious steak dinner.

Thursday was spent in Skerries, and I was finally able to get some work done, while also taking time to walk the shoreline. A healthy dose of salty air and small-town life was all it took to get me back on track and excited about my dissertation. All in all, it was a successful writers’ retreat because I left feeling inspired and ready to get the work done.

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