Monthly Archives: January 2022

Week Three…

We’ve spent many hours on the road this week, which translates to many contacts. We’re also reminded of our appeal of the Dingle Peninsula. The terrain in County Kerry, Ireland is rugged, the peninsula even more so. We enjoyed the rare rays of sunshine breaking through clouds and more clouds this last week. It was the wettest week so far, but temperatures have been unseasonably mild. We’re grateful! 

We reconnected with Grace Baptist Fellowship on Sunday and spent a very relaxed lunch together after the service with the pastor and his wife and son. Monday we drove to Tralee to have lunch with the pastor and his wife from the Listowel Christian Fellowship. They are currently meeting via Zoom due to the number of members who have Covid. They hope to resume meeting at their building a week from now. One of their customs I really enjoy is that after service they move the chairs around and set up tables to enjoy a potluck meal together. It is always a great time of fellowship and building relationships. This is one of the few Irish born pastors in County Kerry and serves the same community he was raised in. We joined the Dingle Fellowship Group on Tuesday. We attended in person while one member joined us from Russia via Zoom. Much like at home, churches here use technology to their advantage to conduct weekly services, Bible studies, and stay in touch with members. Both of the pastors provided updates to their ministry. Their love for the communities showed in numerous ways. Our prayer for the Irish churches in County Kerry has been for God to raise up leadership from within the faith communities. Both pastors welcome such prayers.

Tuesday, after the fellowship, we took a different route and ended up enjoying a different section of coastline. We were drawn to the area hoping to see an ancient castle, or as the Irish say, an old tower house. We couldn’t get close as the structure was condemned, but it was fun seeing such an ancient structure. While walking around the area, we found an outdoor baptismal fount in the woods. The air was fragrant from the early spring blooms of the Gorse plant. They are everywhere, breaking forth with their bright yellow flowers.

We took off on Wednesday. We drove over to Adare, hoping to connect with an artist friend there. It was during the drive when we recognized the countryside appeared more civilized. The fields were larger. The land was more even. We keep passing large 4-wheel drive tractors with farm attachments on all the roads this trip. Adare is in County Limerick. It’s a picturesque town, home to one of Ireland’s 5-Star Hotel and Golf Resorts, the Adare Manor. It offers an afternoon high-tea which we indulged in on a previous trip. For this trip, the memories from a previous visit will suffice. While standing in front of a pub, reading the menu, a young man, about 30 something stopped to tell us, “You won’t go wrong there. This pub has the best food in the village.” His recommendation was all the encouragement we needed. So we entered and enjoyed a great lunch. We connected with our artist friend (Mary Liston) and again enjoyed her lovely textile art.

Thursday was the writing group. This was the largest group meeting they’ve experienced since Covid. There were two others, beside Linda, who had been Zoom members. It was a fun afternoon of readings, laughter, and good food. When creatives connect, there is always fun in the air.

The grey skies and rain on Friday did not dampen the warm fellowship in the home of one of the writers, Leslie. She and her hubby have a lovely cottage in the country.

Today we slept in and just went into Dingle for a “cuppa”. Besides being a tourist town during the season, it is also a commercial fishing village as it has one of the few protected harbors along the west coast.

Another week winds down and we recognize how quickly our time here is flying. There are so many others we hope to reconnect with. This week we will attend we will attend Tralee Baptist.

‘til next week…

Week Two

…in Ireland

Jet-Lag has been difficult to shake this trip, but may finally be behind us. Yeah! Just as Jet-Lag may be behind, it appears many of the Irish COVID restrictions will also be behind us. You may ask, how does that affect us while we’re here?

No longer will we have to show vaccination proof to enter an eatery, or indoor facility. Seating at pubs and eating establishments will no longer be limited to a maximum of 6 per table. Establishments can return to their normal hours of operations, (pubs and restaurants were required to close by 8 pm) and the work from home orders have been lifted. Masks are still part of one’s attire. Travel restrictions in or out of the country remains unchanged at this time. 

Most of week two was under the old rules. We’ve been walking the neighborhood, the beach and several of the towns. Sunday, Living Rock church provided the opportunity for corporate worship and the chance to connect with a few folks we knew from previous travels and meet a new couple. A group of us went to the hotel next door for lunch, where we sat in the rear of the dining facility occupying four tables of four in close enough proximity to see one another, but not really converse between tables. Our drive home from Killarney afforded an opportunity to be at Inch Beach for sunset. This is one of our favorite walking beaches. You can literally drive out on the sand and park as close to the waves as you dare. What a treat!

Tuesday, we attended the house fellowship in Dingle, held at the location where we’re staying. It was the first “in person” meeting in some time, but most were familiar faces. It was good to connect with them again and participate in their study. The format has evolved, resulting more in a teaching than an interactive study. Everyone enjoyed the fellowship of being face to face with in person laughter. 

Wednesday was the local writers meeting in person at the Meadowlands Hotel in Tralee. We were seated in an alcove area of two tables and there eight in attendance. What a treat for Linda to connect in person. Some of this group is also part of the weekly Zoom group which meets on Thursday. Good food, good stories, good friendship. It was a fine afternoon. When Tom arrived, one of the ladies asked who he was. Another replied, “my cousin.” They then realized he was Tom. Much laughter ensued. This woman and I have spoken before. Due to similarities within the family stories, strongly suspect there may be a family link and hope to resolve this question during our time here this year. 

Friday, while out walking, we received a call stating there’d been a cancellation and if we could make it to Tralee Friday evening, we could attend a performance of “The Importance of Being Ernest.” Yes, we could meet the schedule. This was a high school performance, done well and entertaining. The show ended early enough for us to be able to just get into one of the restaurants we’ve enjoyed in the past. This rounded out the evening with good food, good memories and a great chat with the owner of the establishment. It’s a small family owned business, and he spoke of the challenges of COVID and some of the changes he has seen. His expectation is the impacts aren’t over yet even though the restrictions are being lifted. 

We are certainly living in uncharted, ever changing times. Isn’t it wonderful to know, God is NOT surprised by any of this and HE is still in control. 


Feet are back on the ground after losing Tuesday to travel. It felt natural to land at the cottage. Worked to set up housekeeping and set about getting comfortable with the time change. If you’re sleeping, we’re probably up and about.

Time is a strange thing. Our most recent visit to Ireland was 2020, same time of the year. To us, it has felt like it was last year. We’ve connected with a couple of our Irish friends from one fellowship and they, too, thought we were here last year. This trip the vegetation doesn’t strike us as being so unusual. Could this be because of our multiple trips, or living with similar plants in California?

Many of our friends expressed concern about traveling during Covid. After much prayer, we felt confident 2022 was the time to resume travel in Ireland, connecting with various pastors, church members and other friends we’ve made in County Kerry. Little did we know when we purchased our tickets, the EU considers Ireland to have one of the most successful vaccination programs, with about 94% of the population vaccinated. The Omicron variant is alive and well as it moves through the population, similar to its behavior in other countries. We’re still trying to understand how the pandemic has affected the churches, their work, and their people. Linda remains connected with a group of writers and knows from them how difficult the lock-downs were for many. We’ve still to learn how that affected the churches.

Life is hardly back to normal on the Green Isle. Pubs and restaurants close at 8 pm. To gain access to an establishment serving food, they request to see proof of our Covid vaccines, and most recently asked for a contact phone number in the event they receive the report of an infection at the establishment.

We’re adjusting to the “normal” here and expect before long we won’t notice.

In our efforts to get settled, we’ve gone to some places we’ve shopped in the past. Some businesses have been updated since 2020. We’ve noticed many businesses are closed out on Dingle Peninsula. Some due to normal winter shut-downs. Some due to lack of employees, caused both by illness and the lack of international workers. Those workers aren’t here because of the virus, international travel restrictions, or other international relationships; and the lack of affordable housing here. Some of this news sounds similar to what we hear at home. In the brief span we’ve been here, we’ve witnessed people attempting to carry on with life. We’ve a friend from an earlier visit whose daughter turned 11 this last week. That daughter wanted to have high tea with her mom and friends of her mom. They graciously included us in the gathering. It was an honor to see the lovely young lady Meabh is becoming, and to share in her celebration.

High Tea for a young Lady

The adventure continues…