Restoring One’s Spiritual Batteries in Ireland

This month, students from Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, NJ, will be visiting Ireland as part of their Irish Studies program. Mark Bylancik is one of those students, and he has agreed to share some of his experience with us. Here’s what Mark would like to get out of the program in his own words.

My name is Mark Bylancik, and this year I have the opportunity to participate in the Irish Studies program at the Montclair Kimberley Academy. I’m interested in music and literature, and will be an English major at Northeastern University in the fall.

I joined the Irish Studies program to deepen my understanding of Ireland, both its people and its history. Personally, I am 1/4 Irish, and though this number is small, it is the majority amongst my nationalities. Ultimately, I identify myself as an American, but my connection to Ireland is both sentimental and spiritual.

Traveling to County Galway in 2008, I spent two weeks visiting monasteries and other spiritual sites around the area as part of a pilgrimage program through my church. I’ve heard the expression used that “Ireland restores one’s spiritual batteries,” and from personal experience I can attest to this.

Part of my interest in the program is to discover the source of this revitalizing spirit, the origin of what draws people to Ireland and causes them to hold so dearly to any connection they may have to it. Drawing the connection between the spiritual energy of Ireland and its rich history and culture has been my main goal in the Irish Studies program.

Given the lessons on the people and the land, it will be up to me to make those connections in person when we arrive on the island. Armed with memories and historical context, I hope to discover that essence of Ireland, that which makes such an ancient land a timeless one.

We look forward to hearing more about Mark’s experience. You can learn more about his trip at and more about the Irish Studies program at

Author: Guest

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  1. Restoring spiritual batteries is what we do really well in Ireland. I hope that while you’re here you’ll have the chance to visit the megalithic tombs at Loughcrew near Oldcastle in county Meath. 5,000 years old they hold that magic, mystery and timeless essence that you have described in your piece.

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  2. ‘ “Ireland restores one’s spiritual batteries,” and from personal experience I can attest to this. ‘

    Right on, Mark! This is sooo true! I just returned from a week-long trip there. We stayed a few blocks from the Glenstal Abbey in Murroe. We found it on a walk. It’s huge and gorgeous and they don’t advertise because they don’t want it to become swarmed with tourists. They have a little gift shop there and the monks make & sell chocolates. While checking out at the gift shop, I asked the monk helping us if they gave tours of the Abbey & church at all. He was so incredibly nice, and offered a personal tour of the place with him, right then and there! My husband and I were able to ask all kinds of questions about it and learn a ton about the history. It was an experience I will never forget and one of the best parts of our trip to Ireland.

    The spiritual roots in Ireland are so deep. It was a joy to go to a place where having faith isn’t frowned upon or made fun of, which I’ve often found in the US.

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  1. Mark Bylancik writes for Irish Fireside Blog and Podcast - [...] first post, “Restoring One’s Spiritual Batteries in Ireland“, looks at how he hopes to connect with Ireland from both…

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