Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
his soj
ourn in Northern Ireland'

On my fourth monthaversary

Jon Kennedy  

JONAL ENTRY 1300 | JULY 17 2013

. . . in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

— from the Epistle to the Galatians chapter 3, from today's
Orthodox lectionary readings
See the homelitical thought below.

Another rainy day in Ireland. My not-so-smart phone has been assuring us Wednesday will be rainy after a week and a half with no rain here where it had rained every day (more or less; numerous times, in fact, in many of those days) for my first three months here. So this is the view from the entrance of the cafe this morning. That's a parasol, not an umbrella, shading the baby in the carriage in the crosswalk. I for one am glad the smart phone is not all-wise.

Diary: I've now been here for four months and haven't had my visa revoked. That's a month longer than my visit to Loretto and Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania, last summer, the longest "visit" I had ever made to any place up to then, and Jim Toth (my host in Loretto) and I are still on speaking terms. But after four months I can't continue calling myself a visitor but a temporary resident of Northern Ireland.

So many things fly by me here that many are not even remarked. I never have posted any of the many photos of the Belfast Marathon that passed our house a block away about two months ago or the visit to the bird sanctuary we toured one Sunday afternoon even longer ago. Nor have I mentioned my visit to Dublin, across the border in what is called "the south" (among other things) here, which was over a week ago. But now I have mentioned it, and can report that I joined the Writers Centre while there. Dublin has inspired many world-famous and even some world-class writers over the generations, so it seemed like an opportunity. I hope to use the membership by visiting the Centre at least once a month and using one of its work rooms to do writing while there. It sounds like a romantic notion to do such a thing and, to me, that's enough reason for doing it.

Above is a photo of that visit, with a street pretending to be in Boston but given away by the double-decker bus in the background. This is just across from the Writers Center; the church seen on the left is Abbey Church, which despite its unlikely name and unlikely location, is Presbyterian (Abbeys are usually the central buildings in Catholic monastic communities and Dublin is considered to be the quintessential Catholic city.)

Dublin, which I had not visited in some years, struck me as more grown up, more ethnically diverse, and more expensive than I had remembered it. It reminded me repeatedly of New York City, which had never been the case on previous visits. Maybe the main reason for that was that I got lost on the streets while looking for the Writers Centre, and I didn't think of Dublin as a city complex enough to get lost in. Once I began to wonder whether I would even want to visit Dublin again, I knew I had to try to join the Writers Center, so I would have to.

My previously mentioned arthritic pain in my left knee and right foot has finally subsided enough that normal walking is no longer painful, though walking up or (even more so) down stairs is still difficult. I hope to see my doctor about this tomorrow. I may make a visit to Derry/Londonderry, another destination I have been looking forward to having a closer look at since getting here, on Friday or Saturday. Though considerably closer in miles than Dublin, it takes about the same time to reach by bus or train.

If you follow my Google+ page (linked below), or international news, you know that there has been rioting in Belfast in recent days (July 12, Northern Ireland's major historical holiday, always portends trouble). Some reports said as many as 32 police officers were taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries from being hit by rocks and bricks thrown at them (I didn't see figures for injuries to non-police involved, or any count of arrests). The riots have been taking place about a half a mile from where we live (streets covered in my entry of April 25). We have been seeing dozens of police Land Rovers pass on Crumlin Road and hearing helicopters above, but otherwise have been away from the action. My Google+ page also has a video of the march passing our house that immediately preceded the breakout of the fighting.

We are scheduled to spend Monday-Friday next week in Armagh, the historical episcopal see of Saint Patrick, to participate in the John Hewitt writers school there. John Hewett was a major twentieth-century poet and political figure in Northern Ireland and the school named in his honor is probably the most prestigious writers event in the whole island of Ireland.

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Homiletical thought: There is neither Catholic nor Protestant, Presbyterian or Baptist, Methodist, Holiness, or Pentecostal, but all who are in Christ are one in Him.

§     §     §

Please support my mission to Northern Ireland in your prayers. You can read my overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 44 7455 980890.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

related pages

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What shall it prophet and parade season in Belfast

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A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.

Texas Guinan


Never trust the government any farther than you can throw it.

cf. 1Samuel:8:9-18

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