Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
St. Patrick was truly an amazing individual, and the story of his life can still teach us today. How? Here’s a great article that can show you, written by Munster Bible College lecturer and church historian, Dr. Michael Haykin.
Last Saturday, while we were at a planning meeting for an upcoming youth camp and hosting a youth club at our house, 100,000 people were marching in Dublin to support Ireland’s 8th amendment to the constitution. The 8th amendment specifically protects the life of unborn children, but there is currently a push by the government to repeal it and legislate for abortion. A repeal would have to be approved by the public, so a referendum is going to be held, most likely on May 25th. The polls still say the ‘repeal’ side is ahead, but the gap is closing and there are encouraging signs that it may be possible for Ireland to keep it’s unborn children protected.
It never snows in Ireland. Well, pretty much never. And even when it does, it’s always the tiniest bit of snow you can imagine – you’re lucky if it covers the windscreen on the car enough for you can get a couple of snowballs from it.
But not this time. This time is different. This is proper snow.
Evidently, we’re getting a blast of Siberian air due to a disruption in the polar vortex – and meteorologists love fancy words. The result is: a blizzard the likes of which hasn’t hit Ireland since 1982. The whole country is covered in snow. The children all got three days – three whole days! – off school. One snow day is amazing, but three!?
The shops sold out of bread and milk, the whole country basically closed for business, and everyone is out building snowmen. It’s amazing! The best snowman we had ever built in all our years in Ireland was about six inches high and we had to use raisins for the eyes. Well, not today. Not today.
Hurricane Ophelia, the strongest hurricane on record this far east in the Atlantic, is currently battering the shores of Ireland with very high winds. All the schools in Ireland closed and everyone has been advised to stay indoors, so we’re having a hurricane holiday as a family. So far we still have power, and our house is not in any danger of flooding, so we’re enjoying the time together!
On Saturday Seth joined a group of our new friends from the church in Midleton on a cycling trip down an old railway track that has recently been converted into a greenway. The views were incredible, the day was beautiful, and the conversation was great. After 45km the legs were a bit sore, but it wasn’t so much that it stopped being enjoyable. Ireland is truly a beautiful island.
One of the realities of living overseas is getting acquainted with the US Embassy. In Ireland, the embassy is in Dublin, and there are times when getting or maintaining our US documents requires a visit. This week we’ll be going up to renew Daniel and Rebekah’s passports. Today I (Seth) took them to get their passport photos and noticed that I didn’t have to coach them not to smile – they already knew exactly where to stand and what to do. International living is the norm for these kids.
Last week Seth and Jessica celebrated 13 years of marriage! We went to a nice restaurant, and afterwards the proprietor came and said: “You’re Seth, right? I heard ye are moving, it’s a shame to lose ye!” Which goes to show that there are no secrets in small towns. Being known is one of the things we’ll miss most about Youghal.
In Ireland, Summer officially begins on the first of May, and we’ve had unusually clear days and warm weather. The sun has been shining, bringing us up into the mid-teens Celsius for highs, so on a good day we break 60 Fahrenheit. We’ve even had to water the plants several times, since it hasn’t been raining regularly. May first also happened to fall on a Bank Holiday (a national holiday just for the sake of it), so we celebrated with hot dogs and s’mores over the fire pit.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
We celebrated this national holiday by going to the local parade in Youghal, which includes lots of community groups, vintage cars and tractors, and bagpipes. We hope it’s a great day for you as well!
‘Tis the season for Christmas programmes, and Seth was recently invited to one put on by the traditional Irish music and dance school whose building we meet in for church. The stage was full of musicians playing fiddles, banjos, accordions, and various other instruments, but there was still a little bit of room in the middle for the Irish dancers. After a break for tea, everyone came back and the mic was opened for people from the audience to share a ‘party piece’, which is a song or dance they have ready for social gatherings (this is a country that highly values music!). If the musicians know that you can sing, than the party piece is not optional – you just have to get up and sing. So Seth sang ‘Sweet Little Jesus Boy’, as a way to share traditional music from our part of the world and to focus attention on what Christmas is really about. He even remembered all the words!