"One of the greatest things in human life is the ability to make plans. Even if they never come true - the joy of anticipation is irrevocably yours. That way one can live many more than just one life."

Maria Trapp-The Story of the Trapp Family Singers - Ch. 12 p. 4

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

- St. Augustine

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Today was a day to stop. relax. absorb. our first week in Ireland. 

How strange to think we’ve been in Ireland for a week now. So many sights, sounds, smells and experiences. So many small moments to capture and remember and yet such a blur of activity. Today was a day to be quieter and reflect. While it was hard for me to say “no” to driving out to Jerpoint Abbey or Kells Priory or rushing to make it to the Kilkenny Castle tour before closing and to put away my pre-printed walking tour of the city, it was good to make myself think on all we’ve seen so far so that it doesn’t become just one big blur of “what we saw next.” When I was a baby, Mom says she could never get me to nap anywhere but my own bed because if I was out I wanted to see everything and everyone. I still have that trouble. There is always more to see and do. However, seeing and doing is not always experiencing and I want to remember the experiences of this trip. So, I made myself say “no” to touring and “yes” to a Lord’s Day rest, even from vacationing.

We slept in and got ready slowly. At breakfast in our B&B Doug had the “Full Irish Breakfast” for the first time – blood sausage and all. I was happy to discover I could have just bacon and scrambled eggs. The bacon was not quite what we have – more like fried ham – but it made for a hearty breakfast. The Irish seem to eat hearty food.

After breakfast, we finished dressing for church and then left early to find our way to Kilkenny Presbyterian Church. Without too many turn-arounds, we arrived 15 minutes early for worship.

It was a lovely service and felt very much like home. The pastor and his congregation were very warm and welcoming. Oh and Jessica, I think I finally found your Irishman for you! Let’s just say you need to come hear the pastoral intern speak…;)

It was sorely tempting to pull out my camera and surreptitiously turn the video on just so everyone at home could listen to the pastor’s sermon in Irish. I could just hear Grace saying, “I wish he’d just keep talking so I could listen to him!” We were informed later by our dinner hosts, however, that his was not a true Irish accent, his was a Belfast accent. The intern who preached was from, “the north of our country!” 

One of the elders of the church who is on staff as the church’s “Evangelist” (a full-time position to focus on out-reach to the community and unbelievers) welcomed us into his home for lunch. His wife made us a wonderful feast. It was SO marvelous to eat at a dining room table, real homemade food, with a family. I love going out to eat, but after a full week of it, it was startling how nice a home-meal felt. I enjoyed Helena’s dinner as much as anything we’ve had so far on our trip.

I kept thinking of Karen Lyons all day because it was Lyons kind of Sunday. Here we were, in another country, sitting around a tasty meal and just talking non-stop. Karen would’ve loved it! Doug asked anything and everything he wanted about Irish Presbyterianism, family life, politics, movies, stories. You name it – we discussed it! I’m sure it would’ve been your highlight of the trip, Karen.

I also kept thinking of Grandpa Charlie. The only other lunch guest was another elder at the church, John E., who reminded me very much of Charlie. He was quite the character and he and Doug got on like wildfire. They gave each other no mercy! I’m not sure if they all liked us, or just loved teasing the American pastor-tourist. J John certainly enjoyed putting us ignorant, arrogant American tourists in our proper place! Doug, of course, dished it right back. He whipped up a lovely dessert, lamented that he didn’t know ahead of time we would drink so he could bring us other treats, and generally carried on royally. An Irish Charlie if there ever was one.

After we finally tore ourselves away at around 5p.m., we went back to the B&B to decide how to spend our evening. Doug very much wanted to find somewhere to smoke his pipe and meditate on our week and write in his travel journal. Doug’s travel journal has become a fixture of our trip. He brought just a little paper thing from WalMart, but I saw what a key part of his trip it had become and insisted he buy something more lasting and beautiful in the gift shop at Trinity College. Doug’s parents gave us a little souvenir money for just the two of us and having the spare cash to make Doug buy this little book was so wonderful – thank you Wayne & Judy! Now he has a proper Book of Kells travel diary which I think will be one of the greatest treasures we bring back from this trip.

So, Doug sat in the shadow of Kilkenny Castle for a few hours and did his writing while I took pictures – my own travel journal – and eventually went back and picked up my computer so I could work on this blog post and uploading pictures and video from our week.

It has been a perfect Lord’s Day and just what we needed half-way through our time in Ireland. How wonderful to think we have a full week yet to go! So much more to savor.

The Lord bless and keep you all. I miss my babies today. Someone needs to put some video on facebook for me. (hint, hint) Today I very much feel the passing of the longest time of being away from them. I miss all the kids, but have been able to keep up a big with the big kids by watching their FB walls. Tonight I have a little grand-baby pit in my stomach. That’s what happens when you slow down and consider I suppose. Leaving will make us better for them, however.

Good night! -Grammy Amy


  1. You should probably invite the pastoral intern to visit Oregon sometime soon ;) Love you and miss you!

  2. You are quite right about the Lyons Sunday. Thanks for thinking of me! Your adventures are a blessing to me.