Thursday, July 22, 2010

Our first day in Ireland was traditional--rain, more rain, and lots of rain. We headed out in the morning for Ballymena, one of the places Mr. J served on his mission. Mr. J is doing much better with the left side driving and the standard shift car, but today our adventure included several trips down one way streets going the wrong way! The very friendly Irish honked in an effort to save us from peril and even stopped to offer us help. (I can't get over how friendly they are! Even at the places we visited they'd hear our accent and over help and advice on what to see and where to go. They are wonderful people!)

For years Mr J told me about the hotel he lived in for 7 months where maids made their beds every morning and they ate in the restaurant at the hotel (Leighinmohr House) because they had room AND board.Soft life, huh? The place was still there and instead of being older and uglier it was newer and more beautiful. They had added on to it and kept it in very good repair. As a matter of fact it was rather posh, which Mr. J assured me was not the case when he lived there. Mr. J walked us through the place explaining all the ghosts of the past that lived there including the place where the Christmas tree stood. It was a delight.

We were supposed to go to the Giant's Causeway next, but the heavens were weeping so violently that we decided to change the schedule and go to another of Mr. J's cities, Carrickfergus.There we visited a castle built in 1177. King John once was there and it was equipped with a latrine inside the castle--on each floor of the four floors of the keep.  Amazing engineering. The place was very well preserved and replete with statues going about everyday business which included, as pictured here King John sitting on his "throne".

The castle sits right on the Irish Sea and had a commanding view of the water. Mr. J took some amazing pictures from the windows of the castle. 

After the castle, we tried to find the areas Mr J worked and lived, but instead all we found were dead ends. Very small dead ends that were difficult to turn around in. Have I mentioned that the streets here are very narrow? One development was like a maze where every road ended in a dead end. We finally had to ask some young men how to get out of the place.

By the time we got out of the castle it had stopped raining, but everything was closed so we rode home enjoying the scenery of rolling green hills bordered not with wood and barbed wire fences, but with beautiful thick, tall, green hedges and sheep or cows dotting the green fields between the borders. I know now why C. S. Lewis said that heaven looked like the country around Belfast.


Anonymous said...

It just seems to get better and better, doesn't it? I love your stories, so I hope the internet stays very available, and you get to see everything you've planned.

Wendi said...

Wow! That would have been nice to stay in a hotel as a missionary! :)