Aug 20-23 – Visiting Western Ireland

We traveled out west to visit some key contacts near Sligo and in Galway and took in some great sights along the way. It was an excellent and productive time of reconnecting with others engaged in ministry on the other coast and continuing to learn from them and their experience.

Before the first dinner meeting in one couples’s home on the 21st, we drove out to Sligo on the 20th so that we had some time to relax and do some sightseeing. The first night we stayed in a lovely bed and breakfast on the shore of Sligo Bay shown below. This first picture was similar to the one on their web site which attracted us to try it out as it had such a lovely view from the dining room.

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This next picture gives a better view of the bay, taken from our bedroom window. You’ll notice that the owners also apparently provide B&B services for sheep 🙂

Seashore Bed and Breakfast

While in Sligo, we toured Sligo Abbey in the city center, pictured below. It was a key burial site for Sligo during the Irish Famine, so there were grave sites and headstones throughout the site. It’s always interesting to tour such sites and learn more about Irish history.

Sligo Abbey

Since we had plenty of time to get to our dinner appointment we took a drive along the coast so that we could take in some of the beautiful scenery such as this coastal view.

Coastal View, Sligo Bay

We came across a beach resort town called Enniscrone, so we took the opportunity to walk the beach a bit and found it to be one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen.

Enniscrone, Ireland beach

We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in Knock after a wonderful dinner and time of fellowship with friend Tim and Cathy in Kiltamagh. The B&B was being managed at the time by some Christian friends of theirs, so they made the arrangements for us. We did not realize until we arrived the significance of the location or the date though we were seeing some signs along the way that a significant religious event was occurring. We learned after arriving that it was the 134th anniversary of the appearance of an apparition at the local church and it is now one of the world’s major Catholic shrines (click on the image if you would like to learn more). There was a major event that evening while we were having dinner, so there was a continual stream of traffic leaving as we headed back from Kiltamagh to Knock that night. The church pictured is a larger capacity auditorium that was built next to the original church to house the huge number of pilgrims that come to the site each year. We took the time to tour the site and visit the museum there which was very enlightening.

Our Lady of Knock Auditorium

On the way to Galway for our next meeting, we again had plenty of time to do more sightseeing and took the scenic route along the coast. Again there were beautiful views everywhere. We had been encouraged to travel by way of Croagh Patrick, which is known as the Holy Mountain, recognized as the site where St Patrick tended sheep when captured and brought to Ireland as a young boy. It is a popular pilgrimage site where many Irish come to climb to the top of the mountain. Patti and I were not that adventurous, but we did walk part of the way, up to the point where they had a statue of St Patrick. It was an absolutely gorgeous view from there as you can see from this picture.

View of the Atlantic from Croagh Patrick

There were more absolutely beautiful views as we continued to drive through the mountains and along lakes.

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And as usual, you can always expect to see sheep feeding right next to the road, especially in the country.

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In Galway, we had a wonderful visit with our contacts who have previously led a CBSI study as part of their ministry and hope to get another one going in the future.

Hope you enjoy these bits of Irish beauty 🙂

Aug 5 – Touring Again

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had found an ancestral homestead, Stradbally Hall that had served as the home of my 11th great grandfather, Francis Cosby. We learned before coming on this trip to Ireland that the Irish Steam Rally is held each year at Stradbally, so we decided to take the opportunity to visit it again and maybe get to take a tour of the house. Unfortunately, we found upon arrival at the rally that the house had been open for tours the day before, but not today.

We did get to enjoy seeing some vintage steam engines on some very old tractors and other devices as well as many antique cars. We at least got to take some more pictures of Stradbally and get to see parts of the property that we had not seen before. We also learned through some documents about the home that is still in the Cosby family, but we did not meet any cousins while there. Click on the image of Stradbally Hall to visit their site for more pictures.

Engines at Steam Rally

Engines at Steam Rally

A very old Model T

A very old Model T

Stradbally Hall

Stradbally Hall

Aug 5 – Another Ancestral Site

When we returned to Dublin from visiting Stradbally Hall, we decided to stop by for a short visit at another site with potential family connections, Rathfarnham Castle, which was built by Adam Loftus, Archbishop of Dublin in the late 16th century. The connection was actually through the Cosbys of Stradbally Hall. Charles Cosby, the first Cosby to come to the U.S. in the early 17th century, married Mary Loftus who was supposedly the daughter of Adam Loftus, but I have not yet been able to prove this.

Anyhow, we found it very interesting that this castle is very near to several of the CBSI Bible studies in Ireland, just a good walk from the home where two of the studies meet.

Rathfarnham Castle

Rathfarnham Castle

At the time of our visit I was becoming more and more convinced that there was more evidence that Mary was not the daughter of Adam, but since have found some sources that make me more confident that Archbishop Loftus is indeed my 10th great grandfather. That and about 2 Euro will get me a cup of coffee in Ireland, but it is interesting to discover.

We went back there for a visit later in the week with some friends and were able to tour the castle and have lunch in the tea room. I was surprised that they did not have any paintings of the Archbishop as we had see one that was almost from the floor to the ceiling earlier in Malahide Castle near where we live.

Sam at the entrance to Rathfarnham Castle

Sam at the entrance to Rathfarnham Castle

Aug 2-3 – Visitors and Visiting

Our friends, Sammy & Joan from Northern Ireland, came for an overnight visit Friday night. As always, we had a wonderful time of fellowship together, mostly just relaxing and enjoying each others company. Sammy and Joan cooked us a ‘full Irish breakfast’ Saturday morning, so we got to learn a little more about Irish cooking.

Sammy & Joan

Sammy & Joan

A Full Irish Breakfast

A Full Irish Breakfast

We took them for tea to the cafe at Ardgillan castle which is only about 10 minutes from us and has, in our opinion, some of the most beautiful grounds and views in all of Ireland (click on the image of the castle to go to Ardgillan’s web site for more pictures). That is the Irish Sea and Northern Ireland in the background, seen more clearly in Ardgillan’s pictures.
Ardgillan Castle

Ardgillan Castle – the first view as you approach from the parking lot.