Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ireland and Cambridge 3-8-11

Blog – Ireland and Cambridge 3-8-11

Well, I haven’t been posting as much as I had planned.  Between just being out doing things, returning exhausted, and having to track things at home, like finding a new location for camp, there just hasn’t been as much time.


Ireland – Cork & surrounding areas
Ireland was beautiful.   Arriving in late February, everything was already green, greener that I usually see at any time at home.    I enjoyed a 3 hour train ride from Dublin to Cork on a sunny afternoon, saw Irish sheep and cattle.  

I enjoyed Cork.   It’s a cool town/city.    I stayed at a fabulous B & B (Fernroyd House if you all are ever there, I highly recommend it!)  The owners, Tony and Avril, love what they are doing and were great to talk to, especially as I was traveling alone.

I got to visit the Blarney Castle, which I loved.   It was a bit rainy that day, but I went anyway (its Ireland, right?)   The steps up to the top (where the Blarney Stone is located) were a bit wet and slippery, but I was up for the adventure.   I met a group of Australians who were on tour, and they were lovely to talk to.

I then went on to further explore the grounds.  The Rock close was amazing!   Cool moss covered rocks, along a little creek, complete with water falls!   There was a set of stairs called “the Wishing steps”   That was pretty cool.  

As I was almost leaving, I met a group of Americans from New York (young 20 somethings)  who befriended me.   One of them had the same Nikon camera I had, so we talked a bit.    I recommended seeing the Rock Close.       I left, had lunch in Blarney and went to the Woollen Mills (was very tempted to buy something, good things)    When I was waiting for the bus back to Cork, I bumped into the same New York women again and we had a great conversation on the way back.     Two days later in Dublin, I bumped into one of the women again.  She saw me first.   I love it when you actually see the same people in several places.

Though I often find Americans to be the obnoxious tourists we are known for, when in Ireland and Paris, I really enjoyed talking with Americans – because they would talk to me.

I was able to go to Kinsale, Ireland on a beautiful day and walk around this coastal town.  It was beautiful (see pictures)

I had hoped to go to Cobh (pronounced Cove), the last port of call for the Titanic, but ended up without enough time (I should have stayed one more day in Cork)


Dublin was not as friendly as all of the guidebooks promised it to be!    I should have known it would be like any other city (Chicago, London, New York)  people just aren’t as friendly in a city.   I’m used to it, but I wish that I had not had my expectations up that people would start conversations with me in restaurants or pubs.  So, that part was disappointing.

I travel alone well, most of the time.  I am used to traveling alone.  This was a long stretch though, without connecting with friends.  When in London, almost that entire experience was with friends for at least part of each day.   I am an extravert and being around people is what feeds me most. 

I have to say that I am grateful for facebook, email, skype, and a UK phone that actually works while I am away.  It has been good to stay connected that way!

I did enjoy the city, and walked a lot.   I went to see the Book of Kells, which was cool!   I walked all the way to Guinness, a must see while in Dublin.   

I also booked a half day trip to see Malahide, Malahide Castle and the North coast of Dublin.  That was nice, and the weather was spectacular that day!

I wish I had planned my time better to have been able to take a day trip to Glendalough and Wicklowe.  It is supposed to be beautiful.  If I ever go back, I definitely want to plan that.

Church of Ireland – Anglican

Probably one of the most productive parts of my trip to Ireland was the meeting I had with Greg Fromholz, the Director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Dublin.    The program they run is called 3 Rock.    We connected well, shared lots of ideas and resources, we are doing similar things.   They are way ahead of us in some areas, and we are way ahead of them in some areas, so we are going to share as much as we can in terms of resources and ideas.    Greg has a great energy and you can see he loves his job, and when you get me talking, you can easily see that I too, love my job!    It was a very energizing meeting!

We also met with the other program staff for Youth Ministry – Susie Keane.   She’s very cool as well.

First we met with Rob Jones, the Vicar of a new, unnamed church start.    This is one starting organically, not necessarily intentionally planted by the Diocese of Dublin/Glendalough, but one the diocese is fully supports.   

They want to keep the best of the tradition (without throwing it all out) and look to the Fresh Expressions/Emergent folks for ideas as well.  There is something good about our traditional liturgy.   They are putting this all together, and involving those who join them.   They said “there are no passengers”  only people who are willing to make this work – together!  I won’t go into more detail, but if you want to know more, ask me!   

I really enjoyed meeting with everyone in Dublin.  I came away with lots of new ideas, and really energized from meeting all three of them!   (Bishop Jeff Lee – they want to meet you!)

I have the feeling we will find a way to continue to do some work together!  It was really exciting!


I had two days in Cambridge with theologian, musician, Emergent Church leader, Cambridge chaplain to Robinson College, Maggi Dawn.    It was a great experience and I learned a lot about Emergent Church and Fresh Expressions.  I also got to meet her 13 year old son, who is very cool!

I got the grand tour of Cambridge and got to see many of the colleges (Cambridge is divided up into 31 “colleges”  that house and teach students:  Kings College, Queens College, Jesus College, Trinity, Christ, Darwin,  Magdelene, Robinson…

I also got to attend Evensong at King’s College, Cambridge and hear the men's choir sing.  That was pretty cool, what an amazing space.   That chapel is larger than most of our cathedrals, and has quite a history!   Maggi was the chaplain there at one time.

I got a lot of information on the long term history of Emergent Church, where that Emergent group is currently (in the “what next” stage),  Information on training “pioneer leaders” IN the Anglican tradition and how to work with them.   It was good!   Thanks Maggi!

Stay tuned for the Paris blog...

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