Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Preparing for Ireland

Ireland has been a place I've wanted to visit for decades. When I lived in London England I hoped to take the trip to Ireland but never had the time or money.  Later I'd love reading my brother's blog and seeing the pictures of the land.
My grandfather comes from Northern Island. We have a hymn book for the choir my grandmother attended when she met him there.  Her family was from Glasgow.  He was Irish born, protestant Irish. That mattered in the North in those days.
In preparation I've read the Lonely Planet for Ireland, 2 text books on Celtic Mythology and Celtic Religion.  "Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race", by  T.W. Rolleston, and the Secret Gospel of Ireland by James Behan and Leo Behan.  With my Master of Divinity along with my Medical Degrees I've taken a keen interest in the spread of Christianity and spirituality in general.
So far in my Christian studies I've visit Israel, Rome, Athens, Constantinople, Cappadoecia and Moscow.  The other major arms of the original Christian spread from the apostles out were by water to Ireland and by land south to Ethiopia.  I've been interested in studying how each arm of the church added to the theology.  I learned in a celtic christianity text that the Celtic Monks added confession and forgiveness to the practice. Baptism had been done once to wash away one's since and if a person sinned again there wasn't a really organized way of dealing with it till the monks brought the ways of monastery to the general population.  
Laura and I loved attending U2 concert here. I've been reading her passages from Yeats in the evening.  
I love the book, "How the Irish Saved Civilization", by Thomas Cahill.  
And of course my mother was keenly enamoured by her Irish roots and we were raised with a respect for all things Irish, except the Catholics.
Now Laura is a product of Irish Catholic and Irish Protestant grandparents so we're both looking forward to worshiping in St. Patrick's Church which has served as the holy Irish cathedral for Catholics and Protestants.  A couple of Canadians will do well to attend.
My course is on Adult Autism at Trinity College. Then is a week of churches, monasteries, museums and landscapes.
I've arranged 4 nights at the Best Western Dublin.  I've used Best Western's 3 star hotels in US, Canada and around the world.  They're fairly standardized with great breakfast. I like the security and cleanliness and free wifi.  I'm not staying all day in the room when I travel so can't say I'm keen on luxury just a good safe rest.  The costs vary but it's been a while since I have wanted to risk less secure accomodation in strange cities than two star hotels. The rating systems seem to work for me.  Of course if I know someone I have an inside track. Alternatively I've found Lonely Planet recommendations excellent.
I've booked a play at the Abbey.  It's about the Troubles, locally written.
I've also booked a Best Western hotel room in Belfast where we're going on the Monday. We're taking the train from Dublin to Belfast where I'm renting a car for the rest of the trip.  I was a bit concerned about riding on the opposite side of the street in Dublin traffic with a stick shift on the wrong side as well. My brother told me the shifting was easy to get used to but backing up had him looking in the wrong direction for traffic with a couple of close calls. I didn't have the courage to rent motorcycles riding on the wrong side of the street. Yet I think if this goes well, it would be fun to motorcycle northern Scotland one day.
I was thankful too,  to talk to poet painter Joyce Goodwin, an Irish native,  about her favourite spiritual places.  
We're going to drive around the north by Silo and down to Galway then back to Dublin , road tripping after a little time spent in my grandfather's northern island village west of Belfast.
I like taking pictures.  I also like the old ruins and monasteries and churches.  I'm not so much on food or entertainment in general when I'm travelling because multi cultural Canada has often got the greatest chefs and entertainers from other countries. What we can't see is the geography, the buildings and the atmosphere. I love to sit outside watching people drinking coffee. Laura likes the same.  We'll just miss Gilbert who will be having fun with Joy  and his furry girlfriend, Haachi.   

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