Friday, March 17, 2017

I'm handing you no blarney....

Back to that time I was actually in Ireland (this is a long one, so take a deep breath and dive in... I hope you'll find it worth it!) ...when I left off in the last post, we had just put our toes into the Irish Sea at Newcastle.  After we had a lovely walk through town where we got coffee and ice cream, we re-boarded the minibus and sped (and I do mean that quite literally) toward our home for the week near Crossgar, Northern Ireland.  On the way to Crossgar, we just happened to pass another ancient ruin, Dundrum Castle.




Our ballerinas stopped to pose for us under this gorgeous flower-filled arch leading up to the castle!  We truly had entered a fairlyland!


It's clear from the photo above why they chose this spot for the castle.  It's atop a hill with a lovely river to one side and rolling mountains on the other.


The above picture (you can click on it to enlarge in a slideshow) gives you a bit of perspective as to how large the ruins are because you can see them in relation to how small the people in the photo are.


 That's my daughter standing on the steps... again pinching ourselves that we were breathing the air of the stunningly gorgeous Emerald Isle!


Above is the amazing view from the other side of the castle with the Mourne Mountains in the background.

Then we were off to another lovely spot, and an appropriate one for me to share with you today.  Right on the way to our home for the week was the lovely town of Downpatrick, which should give you a hint as to its namesake!


We saw the beautiful Downpatrick Cathedral rising toward the sky at the end of the street (above) as we approached it.  It sat atop a hill, so it was easy to spot.  As we neared, we could really see the beautiful architecture.



Above, outside the rear of the cathedral, you can see a minibus like the one in which we traveled the Northern Ireland countryside, much too fast.  We had wonderful drivers, but I will never understand how they travel at the speeds they do around winding roads with barely two lanes (and in many spots one lane) with giant hedgerows on either side (i.e. no "shoulder" to pull over lest you meet an oncoming vehicle.) I never got used to it the entire trip!


As you can see in the photo above, this is the legendary burial place of St. Patrick. 



"One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all..."






(Below) The beautiful view from the top of the drumlin (click the link to learn what that is) is an appropriate one for such an inspirational spot.


So much is made of St. Patrick's Day in our country, but so few really understand who he was and what he really did.  It is SO not about wearing green and drinking alcohol as so many do these days.  This man was taken as a captive to Ireland, sold into slavery there, and then after escaping to France and gaining his freedom, decided to return so that he could share Christ with those who had enslaved him. Legend has it that he used the shamrock to teach of the Holy Trinity. His was truly an amazing story of faith, obedience, and unconditional love, and yes it does deserve to be celebrated. So, happy St. Patrick's day to you my friends! ☘


The Breastplate of St. Patrick

I arise today through
God's strength to pilot me, God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me, God's eye to see before me,
God's ear to hear me, God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me, God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me, God's host to secure me –
against snares of devils,
against temptations and vices,
against inclinations of nature,
against everyone who shall wish me
ill, afar and anear,
alone and in a crowd...
Christ, be with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit,
Christ where I arise, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Christ.
May your salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

4 comments:

  1. I enjoyed both your posts on your travels. What a privilege for you, and it was so interesting to follow your travels.

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  2. Beautiful photos of the Emerald Isle. The drives sound like an adventure in building nerves of steel. 😉 The life of St. Patrick is one of inspiration. He definitely had a relationship with his God and he was obedient to the call on his life. Remarkable man.

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  3. Thank you for posting all those lovely pictures. Your daughter is beautiful! She has such a pretty face and I love her hair. My daughter has red hair also. I like to say that I am in black and white and my daughter is in living color. Thank you also for sharing the truth about St. Patrick......a beautiful post!

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  4. What a lovely post, filled with all things gorgeous and beautiful! Thank you for sharing this.

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