My what another spectacular few weeks I have had! Two weekends ago I was able to explore the beautiful city of Galway. We started our adventure with a stop at the famous Cliffs of Moher. They simply took my breath away! I was amazed at just how close to the edge we were able to get! With the sun shining down, God blessed us with another gorgeous day to be able to visit the cliffs. As with many of the stops I have made in Ireland, this was another one that pictures simply do not do justice for. Seeing this awe-inspiring scenic view in person was something that I will forever treasure. We continued on our journey to the Portal Tomb. When we first stepped off the bus we were confused as to why we stoped at what looked like a cluster of rocks. However, this historic monument dates to before the Egyptian pyramids, so it was realy neat to explore yet another piece of Ireland’s past before heading to Galway for the night. We checked into our hostel and were extremely lucky to have our six friends together with a private bathroom! We went into town for dinner and then headed back to the hostel to get ready for a night out in Galway.
On Saturday, we made our way to the beautiful Aran Islands. These islands are home to 800 residents, 3 churches, 5 schools, 1 gas station, 1 small grocery store, and not one hospital. When we stepped off of the ferry we rented bikes and were able to ride throughout the island. There were many beautiful horses throughout the island that we were able to see. The rain held off for another day of soaking up the beautiful landscape. We then headed back for another night out in Galway.
Sunday morning we took advantage of “the most scenic drive in Ireland” through the Inagh Valley. We stopped at a few places on the way to soak up the breathtaking view. We saw hundreds of sheep and stone walls, which are all over the countryside in Ireland. After the stunning drive we were able to go back to Galway and explore the city a little bit more. We walked by the Spanish Arch and did a lot of shopping. We were able to go to Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh store. This is the original Claddagh store in Ireland. I was so excited to get a Claddagh ring from there! The Claddagh ring shows two hands holding a heart which wears a crown. This motif is explained in the phrase, “Let Love and Friendship Reign.” After shopping we hopped back on the bus and headed back to Dublin.
Fat Tuesday here is celebrated at Pancake Tuesday. My friend’s Irish roommate helped us celebrate by making us traditional Irish pancakes! They were delicious! I was able to receive ashes on campus by the Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on Ash Wednesday. It was very neat to take part in this mass with the Archbishop. Everything was pretty much the same. However, some parts were said in Gaelic such as the Our Father. It was such a great way to start Lent!
This past weekend we took a day tip to Howth. Once again we could not have asked for better weather!! Howth is a smaller fishing village outside of Dublin. Howth is known for the beautiful coastal hiking trails it offers. We were able to hike for about an hour and a half before stoping toward the top for lunch. On our way back we took a different route. What started out pleasant quickly turned towards a muddy trail! Thankfully we all had boots on and sucked it up and just went through it, but not without a few laughs! There was also a beautiful golf course in Howth. Even though I have only gone golfing a few times and am not the best, I really enjoy it and can’t wait to go again this summer.
As I have said before, one of my main goals during my time here was to grow closer to Christ. I have had the joy of experiencing services at many different places such as Trinity Chapel, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom on Campus, and Our Lady Queen of Peace which is in walking distance from school. This past Sunday I went to Our Lady Queen of Peace for the fist time. It was only a 15 minute walk from campus. Inside the church I was able to light a candle for my mom and sister by the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She will always hold a special place in our hearts expecially because of the love my grandmother had for her. After mass I decided I had to take advantage of the beautiful weather and went into town. This was the first time I went into town by myself. I must not have looked too lost because people were asking me for directions! I was able to finally walk through St. Stephen’s Green which is sort of like the Central Park of Dublin. It seems that most people had the same idea as I did to enjoy the weather! I am so happy that I took advantage of the beautiful Sunday the Lord blessed us with.
During this Lenten season I am focusing on my words. I am focusing on speaking not only kind words but words that only LIFT others and speak of the greatness of the Lord. I am focusing on positive affirmations rather than negative. Above all I want to speak words of praise and gratitude for all of my blessings
Psalm 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Being in Ireland has also taught me to count my blessing and to live in the “NOW!” I thought I would share this with my blog readers. It definitely gives you something to think about! Make the most of your time!!
Imagine there is a bank account that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day.
Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course.
Each of us has such a bank. It’s name is TIME.
Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds.
Every night it writes off as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to a good purpose.
It carries over no balance. It allows no over draft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day.
If you fail to use the day’s deposits, the loss is yours. There is no drawing against “tomorrow.”
You must live in the present on today’s deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health and happiness.