Archive for ‘History’

April 1, 2016

Newgrange 

Newgrange  
It is a remarkable place. Five thousand years ago the mysterious people who lived in the Boyne Valley created one of the marvels of the ancient world. They assembled an immense and sophisticated structure to try and make sense of the conundrum of life and death and to fill the blackest of all voids with some semblance of meaning. 

Breathtaking. Imagine standing deep inside the womb-like darkness at the centre of the tomb just before 9.00 am on the 21st December, the Winter Solstice. From the East, as the Sun emerges over the hills beyond comes a shard of warm morning light, it slowly makes its way along the floor of the passageway, finally alighting on a special stone upon which human ashes were once carefully placed. The gap between life and death, light and dark, this world and the Other must have seemed gossamer thin…

But the moment didn’t last, it was just an illusion, frustrating in its brevity, a tantalising mirage of what seemed forever beyond reach…

Some words of Jesus kept coming to my mind as we walked around:

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

And Isaiah:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 

In Christ the light is not infrequent, obscure or hidden away for the chosen few, but for all people everywhere…

In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. (John 1:4)

May 9, 2014

Mizen head cliffs

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Back in mid March we took a trip down to Mizen Head, Ireland’s most south-westerly extremity.  It was a lovely clear day but quite cold and very windy (our youngest son lost his hat over the edge of the cliff during a particularly strong gust!).

The above view was well worth the climb to get there.  The transatlantic route lies just south of here and this is the last view of Ireland for the seafarer heading west.  It is not difficult to imagine the emotion that many must have felt as they stood on deck, making their way to a new life in a new world, excited by the new beginnings that lay ahead but sad at all that they were leaving behind…

July 24, 2013

A walk through history

Last Sunday our Parish took part in the Clonakilty 400 celebrations.  We walked from the site of the ancient church to the ‘new’ church that was built in 1818.  Here is a gallery of photos from the day…

Here are the words I spoke in the church service:

21st July 2013, Kilgarriffe Parish Church, Clonakilty.  

I would like to thank Tomás Tuipéar for his excellent talk up at the old church site and for giving me all the fascinating bits of history that I am about to share with you and for all his help in preparation for today.  There are many others to thank also, including Councillor John Loughnan, the Mayor Phil O’Regan and members of the town council, Cork County Council (who did a huge job in preparing the walkway for us today), members of Clonakilty Duchas and of course the Clonakilty 400 committee, without which the walk would not have been possible. Thank you to our bus drivers John and John, and a special thanks to our churchwardens, Joyce and Elma, organist Roy, Ernie, Jean, Tommy and to the many others who have more than played their part in making this event happen…

This church building where we are now takes its name from the ancient church at the old Kilgarriffe, from which many of us have walked.  The name Kilgarriffe comes from the Gaelic ‘Cill’ (kill) meaning church and ‘Garbh’ (gorrive) meaning rough or rough ground.  Kilgarriffe is of course also a townland and gives its name to the Civil Parish of Kilgarriffe as well.

When Clonakilty was set up in the early sixteen hundreds, church life moved from the ancient Kilgarriffe to this place.  Historians believe this was the site of the Clogh ny Kylte castle recorded in 1367; it would have been usual to have a church or chapel of ease attached to such a castle.

The castle of Clogh ny Kylte didn’t survive the many battles of the time but it is possible that the chapel attached to it did.  In 1605 settlers are recorded here and called the ‘Portreve and Corporation of Cloughnakilty’. Their place of worship is not known but when the charter of 1613 was granted, the limits of the borough were measured from this place and referred to as ‘the old chapel’.

Richard Boyle, who was made lord of the town, is credited with building a church for worship on this site in 1613, then In 1615, James Worth is recorded as Vicar.

The next reference is in 1663 when the inhabitants of the parishes of Island, Kilkerranmore, Desert and Ardfield were united by commission to repair the church of Cloghnikilty – 139 years later in 1802, the building was re-roofed and a gallery added.  Then in 1818 it was taken down and the present church erected on the site at a cost of £1,300.  The church contains a chalice (which you can see on the Communion Table) with the following inscription ‘This cup was made in the year 1636. Humphrey Jobson Esq. and John Baker, gentleman, being church wardens.

In the Bible we have a wonderful description of the church as being made up of ‘living stones’ (1 Peter 2:4-6).  We often think of a church as a building made up of blocks of cut stone, but isn’t it a powerful image to picture the church instead as being made up of living stones, of all the people who worship together with their common foundation in Christ?  As we listened to Tómas earlier, his infectious enthusiasm helped to bring the history of that ancient place to life and my mind was transported back, imagining what the people were like and what kind of lives they lived and how for the vast majority life must have been very hard.  Their belonging to the church of ‘living stones’ must have been at least as important to them as it is for us today.  As their spiritual descendants, may each of us, regardless of what building we worship in remember that as living stones we are part of that one church founded on Christ, whose great privilege is to pass on the faith to those who would come after us so that the history of the church in this part of the world might go on being written.  Wouldn’t it be great if at the celebration of the ‘Clonakilty 800’, a mere 400 years from now that our descendants could celebrate even more than we can today all that God has done in His church and that any religious divisions of the past would be nothing more than an historical footnote?  May God bless us and bring us together more and more as Living Stones for the glory of His name, Amen.

November 26, 2012

South Pole 15,722 km

 

Patrick Keohane, a native of Courtmacsherry was a member of Scott’s ultimately tragic Terra Nova Expedition of 1910-13.

 

I really like the monument that has been recently been erected in his honour …

… and the sense of humour that led to this sign being posted!

 

November 11, 2012

We will remember them

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Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

Winston Churchill.

 

These famous words come from Churchill’s speech to the House of Commons during the Battle of Britain.  The ‘few’ refers to the pilots of the Royal Air Force, who were so heavily outnumbered and yet prevailed and in so doing provided much needed inspiration to all those involved in holding back and defeating what until that time had seemed an invincible enemy…

They shall grow not old,
as we that are left grow old;
age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun
and in the morning,
we will remember them.

April 20, 2012

Charles Fort

Last week we took a trip to Kinsale and Charles Fort – it was an overcast, showery kind of day, perfect for black and white pictures!
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The view from the car park towards Kinsale town – the rain is coming!


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These strange octagons are to the right of the entrance gate – I have no idea what they were for…


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A great view out to sea, imagine the scene crowded with Spanish Galleons intent on war…


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It’s not hard to imagine soldiers hurrying up and down these stone steps between the barracks and the parade ground…

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Looking down on what was once the rear of the Governors house.

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More Barracks, I think these were where those soldiers lucky enough to be allowed to have their wives and families with them lived.


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In case that was an overdose of Black & White, a colour shot of some tulips in the Coffee shop :~)