From Cashel To Cork

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The Rock Of Cashel

“According to local mythology, the Rock of Cashel originated in the Devil’s Bit, a mountain 20 miles (30 km) north of Cashel when St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave, resulting in the Rock’s landing in Cashel.  Cashel is reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century.

The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion. In 1101, the King of Munster, Muirchertach Ua Briain, donated his fortress on the Rock to the Church. The picturesque complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe.[2] Few remnants of the early structures survive; the majority of buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_of_Cashel

A sense of abandonment fills the air at Cashel. As I wandered the crumbling remains of this ancient worship center my heart was stirred with a sense of sadness at what had been lost to war and apostasy.

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Many times in Ireland I was struck by a sense of loneliness that seemed almost to breathe out of  the landscape as though something that once was there had left and the land itself longs for its return. Nowhere was this greater than in Cashel. Here stands a reminder that the essence of the Divine can be easily lost if not constantly attended.

Ancient Monastery seen from the Rock Of Cashel near Tipperary

Ancient Monastery seen from the Rock Of Cashel near Tipperary

After visiting the ruins of the medieval church at Cashel Amanda and I made our way along the winding country roads to the City of Cork. Our hotel in Cork lay across the River Lee and gave us some stunning views of the city.

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Amanda hated the glass walls and elevators in the ultra modern River Lee Hotel. I think she felt like she was going to fall right out of the building. But in light of what the Spirit had brought to mind in Cashel, I took some time for an afternoon devotion looking out over the city  from this chair.

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It turned out that while we were taking a bit more circuitous route through the country than the bus tours we were tracking with them and meeting up with them at the hotels. It was kind of neat to see the same people at every hotel. We made friends with a couple of retired school teachers and made a practice of checking in with them almost everyday. If your reading Mrs. Schumaker, “Hi there!”

We learned very quickly though that because we were tracking with two bus tours and since those same tours had set reservations with the hotel restaurants while we did not, it behooved us greatly to get into our hotels early to make dinner reservations before the general public could book up the seats. Some of the other self-drivers never seemed to learn that lesson and would walk into restaurants in the evening even after twelve days and be appalled that they could not get seats in the hotel bistros.

Share Your World 2014 Week 42

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I am so glad to be getting back into the swing of things now that I am home from vacation! It is once again time to do one of my favorite things which is to share my world with Cee! Each week Cee asks her reader’s four questions and a bonus. Our answers go out into the blogosphere and tell the world out there a little bit more about who we are (or aren’t in some cases).

Do me a favor and when you have finished here head on over to Cee’s blog and see what her other contributors have written. I’ll meet you there!

Share Your World – 2014 Week 42

Here are this week’s questions and my answers:

What would be your preference, awake before dawn or awake before noon?

It has been something like thirty years since I have slept until noon. I am pretty sure I couldn’t do it  anymore even if I wanted to, at least not with this forty-seven year old bladder; So I would say awake before dawn and throw in an afternoon nap! 🙂

If you could choose between Wisdom and Luck, which one would you pick?

Wisdom is more precious than rubies according to the Bible and in obtaining it there is life that lasts. Meanwhile luck… well it doesn’t last forever even when it comes in good long strings. I’ll take the everlasting quality in healthy doses.Wisdom if you please!

If you were given the opportunity for free skydiving lessons would you take them? Why or why not?

I think I would probably not for the same reason I don’t ride horses. I have a little too much weight on the frame and I am afraid the horse or in this case the parachute would not support me. If I am afraid to fall off a horse and hurt myself because I am too heavy for the horse why on earth would I not be afraid to fall out of a plane held aloft by what amount to an oversized diaper?

Is the glass half empty or half full? What is in the glass?

The glass is half full. It has ambrosia in it (the nectar of the gods). Sometimes that nectar is sweet, sometimes it’s sour but it all works out tasty in the end according to Romans 8:28. I have drunk almost half the glass by this point in life but the good news is that when I finish with this glass I get another full one according to John 3:16

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I am grateful to have been involved in performing a wedding service with my lead pastor Barry Risto in Swampscott MA last weekend. The groom was a young man I have worked with as a minister since he was 11 years old. What a privilege! This weekend I am excited to be hosting, along with the other C.cada artists, our fourth annual art show. This year we will display close to two hundred pieces.

A Sunday Drive On the Emerald Isle

My fellow Americans, there are three things you should know if you plan a driving tour of Ireland. Well there are probably more than three things but let’s start there Okay?

1. Think small! I don’t care if you are from Texas, bigger is not better in Ireland no matter what Hertz rent a car might tell you. Starve yourself, practice yoga, do whatever you have to do to get into a small car because the roads are TINY!!!!!And the parking garages at hotels are even TINIER!!!!

Amanda and I named our car “Little Me”. It was an Mii and I praised God everday for that car as I watched other self-driving tourists curse their mid-sized sedans.

Amanda and Little Me

Amanda and Little Me

2.For goodness sake don’t be bold and order a standard from the rental car company. Driving on the left and having to drive backwards on  rotaries is hard enough without having to remember that you are shifting with your left hand and backwards.

3. Rent a GPS from the rental company or order maps of Ireland for your GPS. One of the advantages of taking a self-drive tour over a bus tour is that you can drive into places where buses cannot go. Driving the little mountain pathways or heading out into farm country is half the fun but unless you are a cartographer and can read directions from the position of the stars or the incline of the sun in the sky a map will be of little help. It becomes even less helpful when you have to read it while driving corkscrew turns down mountain roads at 80 KM an hour. Oh and if you happen to rent maps for Ireland from the Garmin do not use the elf. He couldn’t direct you out of the North Pole. Use the woman voice. She seems to know her way around (not even kidding here).

This is not really point four but I am very thankful that I did not have to start driving until Sunday morning. It seems the whole island sleeps in until about 1 P.M.  so I had about five hours with the road all to myself. It was a perfect transition to driving on the left and going backwards on rotaries. I am not sure if I have the touring company or God to thank for that wonderful transition so I guess I will thank them both here and leave a word to the wise. Sunday is a great day to cut your teeth on Irish roads!

Amanda and I left the tour buses behind and headed off the beaten path through Killkenny and down through Port Laois into Tipperary so we could see the Rock of Cashel.

 

The rock of Cashel was once the ancient seat of the kings of Munster. Around the year 1100 they gave the rock to the church and it became the seat of the bishop for hundreds of years after that. The Rock today is a ruin of the once great cathedral that overlooked the countryside.

The rock of Cashel was once the ancient seat of the kings of Munster. Around the year 1100 they gave the rock to the church and it became the seat of the bishop for hundreds of years after that. The Rock today is a ruin of the once great cathedral that overlooked the countryside.

Me on the pathway up to the rock

Me on the pathway up to the rock

Ancient Monastery seen from the Rock Of Cashel near Tipperary

Ancient Monastery seen from the Rock Of Cashel near Tipperary

A Celtic Cross in the cemetery atop the Rock of Cashel

A Celtic Cross in the cemetery atop the Rock of Cashel

The song this day’s drive inspired came as we drove into the region.

 

 

 

 

On the Banks Of the Liffey

People many times before and since my return from Ireland have asked, “Did you go because you have family ties to Ireland?”

The answer is no. As far as I know noone in my blood-line is of Irish descent. I don’t know how I managed to come from Massachusetts and miss out on Irish blood but there you have it. I am not Irish. But I have long been a fan of Irish music and if there is any reason for going to Ireland beyond my daughter’s desire to go then that is it. The music  inspired me to the act. And I found it a profound thing that just about everywhere I went on the island reminded me of a song.

Dublin brought up this tune from my childhood:

 

We spent the day touring Dublin along the banks of the Liffey. At this point in the trip I was sleeping in short bursts as my arms were continually waking me up in the night, or maybe it was just jet lag manifesting. At any rate our touring was done by about three. Amanda napped. I soaked my arms and by six we were eating in the hotel restauraunt. I had a lamb burger. Yummy!

 

From Boston To Dublin And Wicked Tired

So these are the chronicles of my recent trip to Ireland.

I think I told you all before I left that I was tired. By tired I mean asleep on my feet with certain pieces of my anatomy in a constant gyration between pain and tingly numb. I badly needed this vacation.

My sister dropped Amanda and I off at Boston Logan sometime around 5:30 P.M. which gave us three and a half hours before our flight. We were through baggage check and security by 6:15 P.M. and that with me being pulled out of line for a full body scan ( yeah, I forgot my glasses in my shirt pocket again).

Us on the way to Ireland.

Us on the way to Ireland.

We ate supper at the café down towards our gate and then watched as our airplane pulled into its dock.

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Here’s a question. What do you do when you have three hours to wait for a plane? Amanda and I talked and talked over coffee, a thing we would do throughout our 12 days together. Perhaps that was one of the things I liked best about the trip…. the conversation!

Oh yeah and our game of “Whose Line Is It.”

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I love the prop game. If you think this is funny you should see me as Princess Amidala. That unfortunately is on Amanda’s camera.

Despite my weariness I think I slept for just over an hour on the flight to Ireland. My hands started throbbing an hour into the flight and when the pain ended a two-day long tingle session started in. Even in this though God provided. We landed and stayed in Dublin those first two days; So I was spared from gripping a steering wheel. By Sunday when I had to start driving my hands and arms were much restored.

Our rooms, in Dublin,were not quite ready for us when we arrived at the Hotel Alexander;  So we stored our luggage with the front desk and took a tour around O’Connell Street and Trinity College:

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By noon I was fading; By one o:clock or two cups of coffee later depending on how you mark time, we were in our rooms and I plummeted into dreamland for a few hours. Not even caffeine could keep me up! God knew I needed the rest and so He provided us with the most comfortable beds of the trip those first two nights. It was like sleeping on clouds!

Our resting place in Dublin.

Our resting place in Dublin.

Here a little, there a little…

Guard the gates.

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Talk about two sides to the same coin…In Isaiah chapter 28, God emphasizes something by having Isaiah repeat the same exact words twice.  But what a difference in the outcome.  He tells us things to make understanding easy.  He tells us everything over and over—one line at a time, one line at a time, a little here, and a little there! (Isaiah 28:10)  If we would only listen, He has promised, here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here.  This is a place of quiet rest.”  But they would not listen.  All we have to do is follow His precepts one little step at a time.


  

My wife reminded me of something the other day that I think we all forget at times.  Most of the problems in our lives don’t come out of nowhere.  I’m talking about the things in each of our lives…

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