May4MonMay 4, 2015
This past April my husband and I finally went to Ireland. This was a dream come true for us as even before we knew each other we've long since wanted to see this country. Early in the trip we travelled to Northern Ireland, to the city of Belfast. There we went on a tour of the political murals. Ireland is actually two countries. There is the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. To keep this a rather brief history lesson, Ireland was a Catholic country. It was during the rule of Henry VIII that Protestants gained power in the area. Most Catholic Irish clung to their faith and would not convert to Protestant, the form of Christian faith the king was of. Again, keeping it brief, life was made incredibly difficult for the Catholic Irish to force them to convert, a civil war occurred, and finally four of Ireland's counties separated and became Northern Ireland. In Belfast there are walls called Peace Lines. They were erected in 1969 due to the ongoing feuding Catholic and Protestant communities. These walls are 45 feet high are were supposed to be temporary and yet they still stand. I am a Protestant, I believe that I can talk directly to God and do not need to speak to a priest to confess my sins. I don't pray to saints but only to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. This of course does not mean I support or agree with any of what has occurred in history. I think many unjust things have happened in history with the claim that it was “for God”. I can't understand how one could claim they believe in the Salvation of Jesus and then not allow a fellow man to have an education unless they believe in God the same way. I think it is by love and only love that we win people to the Lord. This part of the trip truly opened my eyes to struggles that exist in other parts of the world. Here in Canada our peers may give us a hard time for our faith but we are truly blessed to be as free as we are. I think that people, including myself, always have more to learn about God and what it means to be a servant of the Lord. Part of learning about God is also witnessing how great he is.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20
I expected to see rolling green hills and abundant sheep in Ireland, we did of course find these sights but I was astounded by the many other landscapes we saw. Ireland is full of rock and stone. We saw the amazing geological rock formations of the Giants Causeways, a great stretch of coastline with hexagonal stones like pavers as well as columns – some were several meters tall. On another part of the coast we came to the 300ft Cliffs of Moher that drop straight into the sea. Even upon these cliffs seagulls soar like specks of white ash on the wind, making their homes in the crevices. Travelling to the island of Inis Mor we hiked to the top of the island. Here we found the most bizarre landscape of layers and layers of jagged rock. Stone walls from thousands of years ago divided the land in every direction. And again, the land came to an abrupt end and plummeted down into the waters of the Atlantic. Massive waves crashed into the cliffs and we could feel the spray from way above. The wind was always moving past us – ever present. I had wished I brought more toques. We came to the Connemara, Ireland's largest National Park where you find rugged terrain of grass, rust coloured vegetation, and forests of twisted deciduous trees. Then we came to The Burren, another landscape composed almost entirely of stone, limestone. Pooled water pockmarked it so it appears lunar. Here rare flowers grow that are incredibly rare. These were all places I did not expect to encounter on the Emerald Isle. These were all places that expanded my soul. Each day that we were in that beautiful country we saw at least 3 astonishingly beautiful natural places. There was hardly time to rest. What I realized is that this was one small country where it doesn't take more than 3 hours to drive anywhere. This world is massive and were there time and money to do this every day you still could not see it all. Wherever you live, you can seek and find amazing parts of the world God created and it's worth it to experience them. Each one makes you feel smaller and makes God seem greater.