Posted by: loveleigh | July 8, 2009

SOCI 3950: Field Trip to Ardmore

stdeclansOn Thursday we went to the little town of Ardmore right on the coast. The day was misty and cloudy which i thought brought a good setting for walking St. Declans walk. I thought that the pilgrimage was a beautiful tribute to St. Declan’s life. We started the walk at St. Declan’s rock, which was where he first landed in Ardmore. The next site we came upon was St. Declan’s well, which supposedly has holy water that promises good health to anyone who drinks it. Also right next to the well is whats left of where St. Declan lived. The trail ultimately ended up at St. Declan’s oratory, where he was buried. so the beginning of our walk marked the beginning of his life at Ardmore and the end of our walked marked the end of his life, and the beautiful scenery in between marked how he lived. The walk is very meditative, so i can just image St. Declan as this calm and peaceful man. I can relate our trip to Durkheim by all the totems that were present in Ardmore. One example is St. Declan’s rock, in reality it is just a rock that washed up on the beach but because there is this story that goes with it, society makes it a sacred symbol for the town. There are even myths that involve the rock, like if you can crawl underneath it backwards you will be rid of back problems. but of course seeing the rock in person you realize that if you can fit underneath that rock backwards then you most likely don’t have back problems anyway. Another example is St. Declan’s well, which holds another myth of  having healing power if a person drinks the water from the well. In actuality the water probably does not have healing powers, but because society gave this symbol meaning it is now become this sacred totem. I feel like one of things Durkheim is saying is that the symbol of the totem is more meaningful than the object itself. Which is completely true at Ardmore, two of the totems are a rock and a well, which in and of itself is not meaningful, but because society as a whole made these two objects sacred they now have a meaning and even healing powers.


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