Sep 30 – Final Week in Ireland

Thank you for praying with us for the time with the Lithuanian congregation. The time went very well and we had a great time of fellowship over tea after the service. They started a CBSI Bible study using a Lithuanian language study in Cellbridge, not far from Dublin, this last Thursday.

We met with the pastor of the church that hosts the Lithuanian congregation last Monday and he was very encouraged that we were ministering to the Lithuanians. He is also encouraging us to connect with a Romanian group that they also host at their church and we plan to do that as soon as we return in November.

We are finishing up cleaning, organizing, and packing today for our return trip to the U.S. tomorrow. We leave Dublin at 11:30 (6:30am EST) and arrive in Virginia at 6pm EST. Pray for safety as we travel and for the continued progress of the studies here in Ireland.


Aug 20-23 – Visiting Western Ireland

We traveled out west to visit some key contacts near Sligo and in Galway and took in some great sights along the way. It was an excellent and productive time of reconnecting with others engaged in ministry on the other coast and continuing to learn from them and their experience.

Before the first dinner meeting in one couples’s home on the 21st, we drove out to Sligo on the 20th so that we had some time to relax and do some sightseeing. The first night we stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast on the shore of Sligo Bay shown below. This first picture was similar to the one on their web site which attracted us to try it out as it had such a lovely view from the dining room.

2013-08-20 20.16.51

This next picture gives a better view of the bay, taken from our bedroom window. You’ll notice that the owners also apparently provide B&B services for sheep 🙂

Seashore Bed and Breakfast

While in Sligo, we toured Sligo Abbey in the city center, pictured below. It was a key burial site for Sligo during the Irish Famine, so there were grave sites and headstones throughout the site. It’s always interesting to tour such sites and learn more about Irish history.

Sligo Abbey

Since we had plenty of time to get to our dinner appointment we took a drive along the coast so that we could take in some of the beautiful scenery such as this coastal view.

Coastal View, Sligo Bay

We came across a beach resort town called Enniscrone, so we took the opportunity to walk the beach a bit and found it to be one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen.

Enniscrone, Ireland beach

We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in Knock after a wonderful dinner and time of fellowship with friend Tim and Cathy in Kiltamagh. The B&B was being managed at the time by some Christian friends of theirs, so they made the arrangements for us. We did not realize until we arrived the significance of the location or the date though we were seeing some signs along the way that a significant religious event was occurring. We learned after arriving that it was the 134th anniversary of the appearance of an apparition at the local church and it is now one of the world’s major Catholic shrines (click on the image if you would like to learn more). There was a major event that evening while we were having dinner, so there was a continual stream of traffic leaving as we headed back from Kiltamagh to Knock that night. The church pictured is a larger capacity auditorium that was built next to the original church to house the huge number of pilgrims that come to the site each year. We took the time to tour the site and visit the museum there which was very enlightening.

Our Lady of Knock Auditorium

On the way to Galway for our next meeting, we again had plenty of time to do more sightseeing and took the scenic route along the coast. Again there were beautiful views everywhere. We had been encouraged to travel by way of Croagh Patrick, which is known as the Holy Mountain, recognized as the site where St Patrick tended sheep when captured and brought to Ireland as a young boy. It is a popular pilgrimage site where many Irish come to climb to the top of the mountain. Patti and I were not that adventurous, but we did walk part of the way, up to the point where they had a statue of St Patrick. It was an absolutely gorgeous view from there as you can see from this picture.

View of the Atlantic from Croagh Patrick

There were more absolutely beautiful views as we continued to drive through the mountains and along lakes.

2013-08-22 16.51.40

And as usual, you can always expect to see sheep feeding right next to the road, especially in the country.

2013-08-22 16.56.15

In Galway, we had a wonderful visit with our contacts who have previously led a CBSI study as part of their ministry and hope to get another one going in the future.

Hope you enjoy these bits of Irish beauty 🙂

Aug 5 – Touring Again

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had found an ancestral homestead, Stradbally Hall that had served as the home of my 11th great grandfather, Francis Cosby. We learned before coming on this trip to Ireland that the Irish Steam Rally is held each year at Stradbally, so we decided to take the opportunity to visit it again and maybe get to take a tour of the house. Unfortunately, we found upon arrival at the rally that the house had been open for tours the day before, but not today.

We did get to enjoy seeing some vintage steam engines on some very old tractors and other devices as well as many antique cars. We at least got to take some more pictures of Stradbally and get to see parts of the property that we had not seen before. We also learned through some documents about the home that is still in the Cosby family, but we did not meet any cousins while there. Click on the image of Stradbally Hall to visit their site for more pictures.

Engines at Steam Rally

Engines at Steam Rally

A very old Model T

A very old Model T

Stradbally Hall

Stradbally Hall

Aug 2-3 – Visitors and Visiting

Our friends, Sammy & Joan from Northern Ireland, came for an overnight visit Friday night. As always, we had a wonderful time of fellowship together, mostly just relaxing and enjoying each others company. Sammy and Joan cooked us a ‘full Irish breakfast’ Saturday morning, so we got to learn a little more about Irish cooking.

Sammy & Joan

Sammy & Joan

A Full Irish Breakfast

A Full Irish Breakfast

We took them for tea to the cafe at Ardgillan castle which is only about 10 minutes from us and has, in our opinion, some of the most beautiful grounds and views in all of Ireland (click on the image of the castle to go to Ardgillan’s web site for more pictures). That is the Irish Sea and Northern Ireland in the background, seen more clearly in Ardgillan’s pictures.
Ardgillan Castle

Ardgillan Castle – the first view as you approach from the parking lot.

July 31 – Helping Out at the Irish Bible Institute

I arranged with Louise, who I met at the IBI open house last week, to come in today to help her with the area of search engine optimization of their web sites (improving their position of appearance on search engines such as google). This is obviously not my purpose for being in Ireland, but we are seeking to use all of our skills to network and open doors to meet people and engage them and those they contact to find those interested in in-depth Bible study.

Due to missing my intended train (pulled away as I was getting my ticket) and having to wait an hour for the next one, I was late for our appointment. The good news is that I arrived just as they were preparing for tea, so I got to join them (about half a dozen staff that were there at the time, including the Principal) and fellowship over tea, coffee, and biscuits (cookies). They were interested in knowing more about my background, so I shared some of our story. It was encouraging to get to share about CBSI and why we had come to Ireland with so many of the IBI staff and volunteers at one time.

Louise and I worked together for about an hour, looking at their web sites and discussing ideas for improvement, especially seeking to understand their search engine analysis and how to improve their chances of prospects finding their site when doing internet searches. We both agreed upon some assignments for our next appointment. It was again encouraging that she was wanting to know more about CBSI as I was preparing to leave and showed interest in exploring it further.

During both the open house last week and during this visit I was encouraged to consider attending (auditing) an intensive one-week master’s course at the end of August. Pray for God’s leading in this and for His provision (about $400) if He would have me attend. It seems like it may be a strategic opportunity to interact with pastors and ministry leaders from around Ireland.

July 28 – Church in Donabate

On Sunday, we worshiped at the church that Jonathan & Becky (our landlords) attend in Donabate, another small village about 20 minutes away. We stayed for tea and coffee afterwards and got to fellowship with the pastor and one other couple who were also fairly new to the church.

We expect to be visiting quite a few different churches on Sundays in order to network and expand our opportunities for ministry, but this is one that we may want to call ‘home’.

After church, we went to have lunch at and visit Newbridge Desmesne (pronounced de-main, like domain with similar meaning) just outside Donabate. We have found that almost all castles and historic properties have a cafe that serves a suitable lunch. After enjoying a nice lunch there, we walked around the grounds which is sort of a zoo on a farm.  It has quite a variety of animals, including turkeys from the U.S., so we felt right at home. We had to take our time as there were numerous occasions to stand in a shed or under big trees to avoid the light rain that attended our visit. We will probably go back another day to tour the house.

July 23 – Irish Bible Institute Open House

Irish Bible Institute

Loving God, Head, Heart, and Hands

Today we attended an open house at the Irish Bible Institute. We got to meet several of the staff, including the Principal (Director) who gave a lecture on the Great Commission. We thought we were a little late arriving, but in fact were the first to arrive … still adjusting to the Irish culture 🙂

Louise was one of the first to greet us and as we got to know her and shared with her that we were with Community Bible Study International, she remembered that someone had told her about the study and about us coming to stay in Ireland. She realized that it was one of her best friends who attends one of the studies and that we have known for years.

When I learned that she was responsible for IBI publicity and their web sites, I told her that we might possibly work together on their web sites as I had offered to help their technical support person with those responsibilities. She was ready with questions and specific areas she wanted to work on, so we arranged to get together the following week.

We also met Joan who oversees the student mentoring program in Jonathan’s absence. Jonathan, our landlord, teaches at IBI and is responsible for that program. He had suggested in March that Patti and I could serve as mentors for students who were not able to find one in their home church and Joan affirmed that

Getting to IBI and back was a new experience in Ireland as we took the train from Rush and back … our first time on the train in Ireland. It is very convenient as the train station in Rush is a 5-10 minute drive from home and the station in Dublin is a 5-10 minute walk from IBI. It’s about a 30 minute ride where it would take about an hour to drive. We planned for an early arrival so that we could walk around Dublin a bit and have plenty of time to find the Ulysses House where IBI has classes. While walking in the area, we found a restaurant to eat where Patti and Cathy Rutman had eaten before.