Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Skelligs

Yesterday (Friday) was probably my favorite day so far, but first I have to tell you about Gallarus which we visited on Thursday.  That day started off with an insane game of Rugby on Inch Beach.  I have several bruises on my shins and knees from that, even though we played in sand.  We continued driving along the coast, and our last stop of the day was Gallarus, this tiny rock church built over a 1000 years ago.  At first I found the hollowed out pile of rocks to be pretty boring.  After all, we had just been driving along the dramatic Atlantic Coast with huge cliffs dropping off into the sea.  But then our leader, Ruth, reminded us that without this tiny, ancient church paving the way for Christianity in Europe, we probably wouldn't be Christians today.  If that pile of rocks hadn't been built to glorify God, we would still be pagans, worshipping the Celtic gods and goddesses.  The history of that moment hit me hard, and I loved just hearing my group sing the Doxology and Come Thou Fount in that tiny room of stone.

The next day, we headed out to two islands called the Skelligs on a fishing boat piloted by to Irishmen.  The Skelligs are two rocks sticking out of the sea, one a bird sanctuary covered with thousands of birds and the other an ancient monastic site perched high up on a cliff.  We climbed over 600 ancient, stone stairs built by the monks to come to their living place.  It was one of the most beautiful, wild places in Ireland that I have seen.  After wandering around the monastic site, we headed back down the steep cliffs to our boat.  On the way back, we were followed by a dolphin!  Our whole group just laughed and smiled as it jumped out of the water along our boat.  It was such an awesome site and a fun day.  I even got a video of the dolphin.

Today, we leave our hotel in Kellarney and head to apartments in Gallaway for two weeks.  I'm not sure when I will get internet access again, so this could be the last update for a while.  I'll try to upload pictures to the blog as well, but that takes a very long time with this software and my slow internet.  Anyway, hope you all are having an awesome time and getting ready to go back to school.  We're off again here in Ireland!

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