Posts tagged ‘Clonakilty’

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.

March 26, 2012

Random Light No.6

Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 2

This is a great little shop in Clonakilty, with floor to ceiling shelves stocked with plastic things made in China!
Field sprayed with a herbicide

The field behind our house a few days after being sprayed with ‘weed killer’.  Our water supply comes from the reservoir you can see as a green mound behind the tree in the field :-(

Chocolates in English Market

Chocolates for sale in the English Market, Cork.

Church of the Immaculate Conception, Clonakilty

Church of the Immaculate Conception, Clonakilty
Cats like to read too!

Jasper the cat was interested in one of the books that the boys brought home from the library…
Moon and star

The Moon and Venus taken last night.
Lady Bird

Greenfly be very afraid!

March 20, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day in Clonakilty

For once the sun shone on St. Patrick’s Day and a great time was had by all.  Well done to the Town Council and people of Clonakilty who put on a great parade.  Apart from these few pictures posted here there are many more on Flickr (if you click on one of the pictures below it will take you into the Flickr photo stream).

Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 20

It is still possible to find some genuinely Irish people in West Cork :-)
Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 1

A strong and intimidating Garda presence for the day…

Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 7

As elsewhere, emigration is a big issue for many families in these parts; this couple were great fun.
Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 14

Our very own Girls Brigade…
Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 13

… and Boys Brigade.
Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 18

The man himself.
Clonakilty St. Patrick's Day 5

Kebab anyone?

February 2, 2012

A cold and frosty morning

A cold and frosty morning

This was the view from the other side of our garden wall at 8 o’clock this morning.  Now that we are officially in to Spring, it seems that Winter is reluctant to bid farewell just yet…

January 24, 2012

The ultimate ‘Fail Whale’, a lesson from Jonah.

"The Whale Tail", Clonakilty

Photo:  “The Whale Tail” sculpture in Clonakilty, the nearest I could get to a whale around here without getting on a boat!

Sermon from last Sunday.  Text: Jonah 3:1-5, 10 (though the whole story is discussed).

You’ve got to feel a little bit sorry for Jonah; he was just sitting there, minding his own business and then God comes along and tells him to get up on his feet and go to an enormous city and start preaching.  Imagine if that were us?  There we are sitting down one day, watching T.V. or counting our ‘Friends’ on Facebook and all of a sudden there is a Big Voice and the Big Voice tells us to get up off our backside, to leave our comfortable life in West Cork and go to a big city, far away in another country, where we have never been before and we are to walk the streets and market places and we are to tell people that they had better turn to God, because God is angry with them!  What would go through your mind, how would you react?  Right now, are you trying to push out of your mind something that God has called you to do and you are not yet doing?

Jonah ran away, he wanted to hide, silly thing that, ‘how can you hide from God?’ we say, but haven’t we tried to hide from God sometimes too?

There’s a wonderful few verses in Psalm 139 that go like this:

7Where can I go from your Spirit? 
   
Where can I flee from your presence? 

8If I go up to the heavens, you are there; 
   
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 

9If I rise on the wings of the dawn, 
   
if I settle on the far side of the sea, 

10even there your hand will guide me, 
   
your right hand will hold me fast. 

Of course, these are meant to be comforting words, but if you are trying to run away from God, then they will help you to see that it is all pretty pointless, because God is everywhere!

But that doesn’t stop Jonah.  He gets up, then standing at the crossroads and looking at the sign for Nineveh, (which is in the East), he takes the road heading in the opposite direction to a town on the coast called Joppa.  Then from Joppa he pays to board a ship headed west for Tarshish and as far away from God as he can get.

Once on board the ship, perhaps Jonah begins to feel a bit safer, perhaps he feels he can stop looking over his shoulder for a while.  It is an exhausting thing running away from God.  Jonah goes down into the safety of the ships hold and in no time at all he is in a deep sleep.  We are told that the LORD hurls a great wind upon the sea and that there is a mighty storm that threatens to break up the ship. Things are desperate and the crew of the ship sense that there is something supernatural going on here.  Perhaps this is a storm unlike any other they had seen and they reckon that it is somebody’s fault, they cry out to their gods for help and they throw cargo overboard to lighten the ship, but it is no good.  Jonah’s disobedience is putting the lives of everyone on board in grave danger.

But not for long, the captain wakes him up and says:

‘What are you doing sound asleep? Get up, call on your god! Perhaps the god will spare us a thought so that we do not perish.’ (1:6).

They draw lots to see whose fault it is and sure enough the lot falls on Jonah.  The sailors are convinced that it is his fault and they ask him to explain himself.  Jonah replies:

I am a Hebrew,’ … ‘I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.’ (1:9)

And when the sailors learn also that Jonah is fleeing from this all-powerful God, they become even more afraid, so they ask him what to do because even as they are speaking the wind and waves are growing in strength and stature.  Jonah replies:

‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quieten down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great storm has come upon you.’ (1:12)

What an astonishing response.  Jonah realises that he is cornered, that it is ultimately futile trying to run and hide from God and so he gives up and resigns himself to the fact that he has lost, that God has won and they might as well throw him overboard because that is the only way that the storm will stop.  But the sailors don’t want him to die so they try hard to row the ship back to land, but it is no use so they cry out to Jonah’s God asking for mercy and they throw him overboard, into the dark ocean depths … and immediately the sea quietens down.

Perhaps Jonah is convinced he is going to drown, that the light from above will fade as he disappears into the inky blackness of the deep, that yes it is possible to run away from God, but if you succeed the place where you will end up is called hell.  But God has other plans; He sends a big fish to swallow Jonah.

Have you ever been swallowed by a great fish?  No, I haven’t either, but perhaps we have been or are in the same place that Jonah was.  Now at last the running away had stopped, Jonah cries out to the God that he had been running away from and he does something that he had not done for a long time, he prays.  Jonah pours out his gratitude to God that he has not drowned.  Overwhelmed with relief, he looks to God again and over a period of three days and nights, he refocuses his life, he stops trying to be in control and he hands his life back to God.

Jonah learns his lesson (I suppose that it goes without saying that he has learnt it the hard way!) So when God sees that Jonah is a changed man He speaks to the fish and so Jonah is unceremoniously spewed out onto dry land.  He stinks and looks like he’s been in the belly of a fish for three days, but he has been saved, he is alive and stands on solid ground once again.

God tries again, He says:

‘Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.’ (3:1)

So we are told that Jonah goes into the middle of the city and he speaks out the word that the LORD had given to him, he says:

‘Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!’

I imagine that he was probably thinking that they would grab him and throw him in prison, or something much worse, but at least God was on his side now, he was doing the right thing.  But something amazing (and probably most unexpected) happened, in chapter 3:5 we read

5And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.

Next time you are thinking that people will think you are strange if you tell them about Jesus, think again.  You may very well be surprised at their reaction.  The longer we follow God’s way, the more we realize that we do not need to be afraid, so we certainly do not need to be afraid to tell people that we are going to church, that we are going to a Home Group or helping out with Sunday Club, God can and will use all these things to bring people to Himself.  The people of Nineveh were far from God, but on hearing the message from God they repented and they fasted and they changed their ways, so that in verse 10 we read:

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

If you ever doubted that God is the God of the second chance or that He is the God of new beginnings, read again the story of Jonah!  Just because we have made mistakes in the past, it does not disqualify us from serving God in the future.  On our own, none of us are good enough, none of us are qualified enough to serve God.  It is all down to His love, His mercy, His healing, and His undeserved favour.  One of the most incredible verses in the whole Bible is found in Romans 5:8, it says simply this:

‘… but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’. (ESV)

God loved Jonah and He proved it by not leaving him to be a victim of his own choices and in rescuing him from the dark depths of his own decisions.  God loved the people of Nineveh so much that He wanted to rescue them from themselves and the mistakes they had made.  He wanted to warn them and He wanted them to change their minds and be saved.  God loves you and me beyond all measure and He proves it by giving His Son to die for us, in the place that we deserved upon the cross.

Please don’t let your life become a tangled, mixed up mess of your own wrong choices and bad decisions, hand it over to God, all of it.  Trust Him, He does, after all know what He is doing … Amen.

January 17, 2012

Random Light No.5

Some photos from the last few weeks…

Rose B&W

The Rose bush outside our Kitchen window is a never ending source of inspiration.
Gullanes Sunset (again)!

Taken one evening from the back garden.

Kilkenny window

“And now we shall look through the Round Window…”

Kilkenny rainbow

Rainbow over the rooftops of Kilkenny.

Mini wedding car

A “Mini” wedding.

'Here doggy doggy...'

A couple of the Residents at Hayfield Manor, Cork.

Curracloe grass

Marram grass, at Curracloe, Co. Wexford.

December 20, 2011

“Upon another shore…”

Gullanes Sunset

The Sun setting yesterday.  

You may recognise the words in the title as part of the ‘bidding prayer’ at the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. The full paragraph reads:

Lastly let us remember before God all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no man can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom, in the Lord Jesus, we for evermore are one.

Beautiful words, but do they stand up?  I think that they do, which is all the more amazing because standing up to the the full blast of darkness that is death is some achievement.  The words are of course inspired by Scripture, (from John chapter 1 and Revelation chapter 19 in particular).

Why has this come to my mind?  In the last few days, three people I know have died.  All of them as it were ‘went before their time’, their lives cut short through illness or disease and one, the mother of young children.  It is heartbreaking.

In trying to respond I realise that any words I have to say are wholly insufficient.  I recall some words written by C.S. Lewis in his overwhelming book, ‘A Grief Observed’:

And we think of this as love cut short; like a dance stopped in mid career or a flower with its head unluckily snapped off – something truncated and therefore lacking its due shape…

I suppose that we only have a limited view now, not only of death but even more so of that Life which follows.  The Apostle Paul, inspired by the Spirit of God wrote:

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

One day it will make sense, and this knotted, tangled, painful life of fragility and contradictions will find its shape – even the shape of the Cross, where even God was not free of the pain and anguish of death.  To paraphrase Tony Campolo – ‘Yes it’s Friday now, but Sunday is coming…’

December 15, 2011

Saint Nicholas

Santa in Spiller's Lane, Clonakilty

“Santa”, at Spiller’s Lane, Clonakilty

It is hard to imagine Christmas without this jolly looking fellow as an important part of it.  Some well-meaning people, I know, get a bit hot under the collar and think that he gets in the way of what Christmas is really about.  Of course, I have some sympathy with that view, because he seems to be at the heart of all the consumerism that so noisily and brashly competes with the Christ-mas, the celebration of the Story of Christ’s Birth.  Do a little digging though and you unearth not something that is evil and godless but rather someone who was a man after God’s own heart, Nikolaos of Myra, a fourth century Bishop in what is now part of modern day Turkey.

There is naturally a lot of legend and folklore surrounding this man of God, but it’s clear to see that over time the figure of Saint Nicholas, with the Dutch name of Sinterklaas became ‘Santa Claus’, or ‘Santa’ for short.

Perhaps the best known story attributed to Saint Nicholas (from a Wikipedia article) that links him to the modern day version of Santa is the one about a poor man who had three daughters but could not afford a proper dowry for them. This meant that they would remain unmarried and could therefore have ended up as prostitutes. Hearing of the poor man’s plight, Nicholas decided to help him, going to his house under the cover of night and throwing three purses (one for each daughter) filled with gold coins through the window opening into the man’s house.

In another version of the story, the purses are thrown in on three consecutive nights.  Nicholas learns that on the third night the poor man plans to intercept him (to see who the mystery giver is) and so he drops the third bag down the chimney instead; a variant holds that the daughter had washed her stockings that evening and hung them over the embers to dry, and that the bag of gold fell into the stocking.

Sound familiar?  Let’s not be too hard on Santa but try instead to rescue him a bit from all the plastic and mayhem, and think of him instead as a godly man who loved to give, especially to those who were in great need – and then with God’s help, let us try to do the same.

Freely you have received; freely give.

Matthew 10:8b

December 8, 2011

Window to another world

Window on another world...

I drive past this local piece of artwork very often, but the other day I was walking and so had the opportunity to have a good look at it.  I love the concept; here you have an old dark and damp stone wall, all fairly bleak really, but then a window, to a place where the Sun is shining, the sky is blue and the boats are just waiting for you to take them out on the water.  It’s a chance to escape to another time and place where things are better than here (even if it’s only in your imagination and only for a brief moment).

There are many people who would just love to escape right now; to escape from financial hardship, pressures and stresses that are unique to each individual and others that are ubiquitous to us all.  Thank God that there is hope and that there is a way out, and what better time to be reminded of this than in the Christmas season when we celebrate that God in Jesus came to us because He cares for us far beyond even our wildest dreams.

The whole ‘door to another world’ theme reminded me of a verse from the last book in the Bible, ‘Revelation’:

After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
(Revelation 4:1 ESV)

July 20, 2011

“Where is my future?”

Clonakilty Graffiti

Yesterday I came across another work of art by Clonakilty’s answer to Banksy.  You may remember a previous post of Zirak’s work; it’s a bit more thoughtful that your average graffiti.

So we have a young boy holding a placard saying “Where is my future?”  He has hollow-looking sunken black eyes, he looks dirty and untidy, a hand is in his pocket and his shoe laces are untied.  He looks depressed, lost and fearful, though at the same time his stance is one of innocence mixed with a little defiance.  The back-to-front e’s on the placard suggest this boy is old enough to read and write but only just, he is not quite there yet – he has his whole life ahead of him, a future overflowing with dreams, ambitions and possibilities.  The world is his oyster.  Or is it?  I think Zirak is refelcting on the economic woes of this country and how the dreams that many had during the Celtic Tiger years are now in ruins; no longer are the children wearing designer labels and their parents driving around in huge SUV’s.  Yes the future for many in this country is bleak compared to what it was, but perhaps a bit of perspective is needed too.

Thinking about this made me remember that wonderful verse from Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

No matter how bleak this life may be, in God there is always a hope and a future for all.

Thank you Zirak for another thoughtful piece of Street Art.