In my virtual reality tour, I explored the Wicklow Mountains. I was immediately captivated by the vastness of the landscape, which seems to expand into the horizon without end. Gilded sunlight peaks in slits through the clouds, evoking associations with divinity, or perhaps a higher good. I can imagine that standing in this spot in person would heighten one’s sentimentality and appreciation of nature. Although there’s no sound provided in the 360 experience, I could imagine the white noise of daily life melting away into the contours of the mountains, leaving one alone to bask in the emerald tainted tranquil as pictured above.
The Mottee Stone
The 360net experience directly inserted me into the scene: I felt tremendously closer to the sky, which seemed to adopt a new curvature given the altitude of the mountains. The Mottee Stone’s location within the topography of the Wicklow mountains is absolutely breathtaking. It sits on top of the world, looking out and over the rolling hills. Based upon this image, the stone would seem to be completely isolated from urban life. However, it must be recalled that Dublin lies just outside of the Wicklow mountains. Without this contextualization, a proper understanding of Dublin’s geography is incomplete.
The stone itself gives off a primordial impression: it has clearly withstood the tests of time, and will continue to do so for many years into the future. In Dublin: A Cultural History, Siobhan Kilfeather expands upon the rich historical significance that the Wicklow mountains are absolutely saturated in. This timeline reveals a diverse set of events, including the late sixteenth century Baltinglass rebellion all the way up to ecological activist movements in the 1990s, which fought against road-widening in the Glen of the Downs (Kilfeather, 16-17). Based upon this sweeping timeline, it is evident that the Wicklow area is deeply treasured and holds a special place within Irish history.
The VR experience definitely enhanced my understanding of this beautiful spot. A simple picture or even description in a book cannot encapsulate spatial dimensions in their entirety. Eavan Boland touches upon this shortcoming in her poem “That the Science of Cartography is Limited.” The depth of sensory experience and the intricate history of the mountains, in this instance, are excluded when their presence is limited to lines on a map, “an ingenious design which persuades a curve / into a plane.” When the dynamic, vivid contours of nature are flattened into lines, the intersection of nature, humanity, and that mysterious, grandiose feeling nature often provokes within us is lost as well.