If you’ve known me long enough, you’re going to have to relive this story with me, and hopefully you’ll still laugh and/or shake your head along with me…

Okay, so after I ran away from Jaz in Cork, I ended up in St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral.

Do you know where we’re at in the story?


In case you’ve forgotten how beautiful it is:

...Right?! Photo Copyright Andrea Beça.
…Right?! Photo Copyright Andrea Beça.

As you can imagine, I was a bit frazzled when I got there. I rushed in, looking over my shoulder more times than necessary for my clingy friend stalker. If I remember correctly, admission was by donation, so I handed five euros or so to the lady at the door. I remember that I was holding a lot of stuff – my bag, an umbrella, and now my wallet – and in the midst of the shuffle, the lady handed me a large pamphlet on the cathedral and a small white candle.

“It’s a prayer candle.” She said to me with a kind smile.

Then she sort of shooed me along with her hands, the adult version of patting a child on their bum to get them to walk away. It was like she could tell I was out of my element.

I love, love, love cathedrals and churches for their history and architecture, but I have never been a religious person. I’m a very spiritual person, but that’s an entirely different thing. You’d probably be surprised how little I know about Christianity and Catholicism. I’ve never even read the bible. I learned everything I know about bible stories during my English degree, because professors would talk about religious allusions in the books we read and I’d have to look them all up so that I could sort of sound like I knew what they were talking about.

“Yeah, yeah – that Adam and Eve reference – with the snake and the apple and the thing in the thing? Shut up – so blatant. They should have been more creative.”*

But back to St. Fin Barre’s. And the candle.

Okay, I know now that prayer candles are the ones you light when you’re at a church when you say a prayer, and then once a lot of people do that or whatever, it looks gorgeous, like this:

I love it.

At the time, though, I had no idea what the hell a prayer candle was. All I knew is that I was juggling a ton of stuff when I got to the cathedral, so I threw the candle into the front pocket of my messenger bag while I wrestled my camera out and tried not to drop anything. I wandered around and had a look through the pamphlet.

And then I got carried away by the beauty of St. Fin Barre’s.

And then I left.

When I got back to my B&B at the end of the day, I was cleaning out my bag and I found it: the candle.

Oh shit.

I scanned through the pamphlet again…and found the section about saying a prayer for someone you know…and LEAVING THE CANDLE IN THE CATHEDRAL.

I stole from a cathedral.


That was the day I learned that even when you’re not religious, religion can make you feel guilty.

(I still have that damn candle. Oops.)


*That’s not how I talked in English class. I was way more concerned with people thinking I was super smart back then.