“For whatever is born of God, overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” 1John 5:4
A number of theories exist over the origin of the Celtic cross. The most likely explanation is that the design represents a cross adorned with a victor’s wreath, which was stamped on the back of a gold coin, called the Liudhard medalet, from Canterbury, England around 590 BC. It is speculated that this medallion was worn to proclaim a person’s conversion to Christianity. Indeed, the faith of a new believer is a victory worthy of celebration. Moreover, it is an event to be proclaimed and shared wherever we go, and in all we do. One’s faith in Jesus Christ is a mighty victory over evil, and it is celebrated by our Lord in Heaven, as He welcomes us into His loving arms.
It is about time to wrap up discussion on my Ireland trip, so this will be my final post focused on the subject. My “victories” in Ireland pale against coming to Christ, but the many things I was able to see and experience offered me a number of reasons to celebrate. As mentioned in a previous post, visiting Ireland has been a nearly lifelong dream, so just being there was pretty darn amazing. Beyond the landscapes, castles, and all the other things a person normally would expect to find there, some of the best things were not really anticipated.
Before we headed “across the pond,” Leah suggested we look into catching a glimpse of the Quiet Man Bridge. This small bridge served as a prop for John Wayne in one of the early scenes of the movie, The Quiet Man, in which Maureen O’Hara co-starred. I am not a person that generally holds movie stars in any special regard, but I have to admit that John Wayne has always been my favorite. And The Quiet Man is a fun show that our family has watched a number of times. So with seeing the bridge in mind, we scheduled a night at a Bed & Breakfast in Oughterard, only a short distance away from the bridge.
The Cliffs of Moher are a popular tourist destination, which normally would make me want to avoid them! After all, they’re just cliffs along the coast, how different could they be? Well, they are actually very spectacular when you see them up close, and I am very glad we took the time to do so. In fact, they are so spectacular that at the time of our visit there was a campaign in progress to get them voted as one of the seven natural wonders of the Europe. These nearly vertical cliffs rise from a measly 390 feet above sea level at their point, up to 702 feet near O’Brien’s Lookout, not far from where I took the photo below. Just to get a little perspective on the size of these cliffs, if you look closely, you will see a few people walking along the top edge of them on the left side of the image.
As impressive as the many sights were, I think the people and culture I encountered had the greatest impact on me. Over the 7 days in the country, I never met anyone that wasn’t polite or helpful. Most evenings I had supper in pubs, yet I never ran across loud, obnoxious drunkards. It took me awhile to competently drive on the left side of the road, and in the meanwhile I made several rookie mistakes that created hazards, or at least impediments, for other drivers, but I never was the recipient of any reaction remotely close to the road rage that is so prevalent in the states. As a whole, the culture with which I interacted seemed to be comprised of regular, unpretentious folks that couldn’t have been more hospitable. I may never have the pleasure of returning to Ireland, but I will always remember how welcome I felt as a visitor to their remarkable land.