We had a great week with a visit from Corey and Jay as part of their trip to Ireland, Scotland and England. It was so great to see them and be able to spend a few days with them showing them some of the sites here in Ireland. I travelled to Dublin on Tuesday morning to pick them up from the airport. We drove back to Limerick right away and since they were hungry stopped on the way at Obama Plaza for some breakfast. We got to Limerick and had some lunch and then we spent the afternoon walking around the old part of Limerick and visiting King John’s castle. We had a good time there. We drove out to Bunratty castle after that and then picked up some fish and chips at Luigi’s on the way home for supper. It was great! They headed to bed at 7:30 pm as they were exhausted.
On Wednesday morning, Corey and I started off with a run around the neighbourhood. After breakfast, we drove up to the Cliffs of Moher. On the way we stopped at the Clare Abbey for a visit. I think the cliffs were the highlight of their time in Ireland as they both really enjoyed them. They got a little too close to the edge for Maurene! We got a beautiful day which really helps out there. It was the first time we had been there in the summer and it was incredibly busy. Just finding a parking spot was a challenge. After visiting the cliffs we drove to Lahinch for some lunch at a beachside restaurant owned by a Canadian, and a walk on the beach. Corey went wading in the Atlantic but that was enough as the water was very cold. We also drove a little further down the coast and visited Spanish Point.
Thursday we went with Corey and Jay down to County Tipperary to the town of Cashel and visited the Rock of Cashel and the Hore Monastery. We had a really good time it was a great looking castle. We had a guided tour and then had time to visit it and the monastery. We went into the little town for a kebab lunch, it was really good. We had supper here tonight and played a game of hearts, I lost of course.
Sadly, on Friday we had to drive them back to Dublin to catch their flight to Glasgow for the next part of their adventure. It was so great to see them for a few days but difficult to say goodbye. After dropping them off at the airport we visited a Church of Ireland genealogy library and also the National Library for Maurene to do some research. While downtown we paid a visit to the National Museum and saw some interesting archeological artifacts.
We had another family visit on Sunday afternoon! My sister Joan is here in Ireland on a tour for a week and was spending Sunday evening here in Limerick. So we were able to go out to Bunratty for a short visit. She is off to Scotland for a two week visit when her tour is over.
Just to finish off, Corey and Jay have sent some photos from Scotland including a photo of the school that Dad attended in Glasgow and the church that he and his family attended in Mosspark. It was great that they got to visit those spots. It has been an exciting and exhausting week for us. So great to see family!
We had district meeting as usual this past week but with both the zone leaders and President and Sister Thompson in attendance. I was asked by our district leader, Elder Hoopes, to give a presentation on setting goals which went well. Afterward President and Sister Thompson met with the young missionaries for an hour or so while we cleaned up from lunch. We would have liked to meet with them for a few minutes but they were in a big hurry to leave.
We took the opportunity to do some more cleaning over at the chapel this week. The equipment room in the cultural hall was a mess so we got it all cleaned and organized and we got rid of some junk that had been accumulating there. We also straightened out the library again and Maurene did one of the hall cupboards that is shared by the Relief Society and the Young Womens. After finishing there, we took a short ride out to Adare, which is our favourite little village close to Limerick. We just walked around and did some window shopping and had supper at a sidewalk cafe.
This week was the Dublin YSA Convention held at Glendalough. It is a very popular national park about one hour south of Dublin. The convention was held at the International Youth hostel there which was a good facility for an event like this. There were over 100 YSA in attendance which was a record for Ireland. They came from all over Ireland, Scotland, England and even Germany. We drove up on Friday afternoon and gave two of our YSA, Roi and Azariah, a ride up there with us. We saw some beautiful scenery as we got closer to Glendalough.
We arrived a little early so we went for a walk and visited an old monastery close to the hostel. It was very interesting and had some very cool structures as well as a large cemetery.
There was a good program for the weekend of the convention with a good mix of organized activities and some free time for them to mingle and get to know each other. The entire weekend was organized by the YSA committee in Dublin and they did a great job. They put a lot of work into it and it showed. We supported in any way we could which for the most part meant a lot of time helping prepare meals in the kitchen and cleaning up after the meals.
There were three great activities held on Saturday. In the morning the YSA put together kits for refugees as a service project. In the afternoon there was horse back riding, kayaking and hikes. In the evening on Saturday there was a Hawaiian themed dance. Both Maurene and I went on hikes, different ones, and they were both long but beautiful.
Things wrapped up on Sunday with our church meetings and lunch and then we went out to the green area behind the hostel for a group photo which was taken by the Stake President using his drone. While we were visiting afterward the group of YSA from Scotland sang Flower of Scotland together and then asked me to join them for a group photo. Then it was clean everything up, say our goodbyes and travel back to Limerick. Needless to say we were very tired but it was a very worthwhile activity.
Oh, and on the way home we passed through Hollywood so took a photo of the Hollywood sign on the hill.
I had a couple of opportunities for service this week on Saturday. I volunteered to help out at the Parkrun on Saturday morning and I ended up running the stop watch to time the runners as they came across the finish line. There was a light drizzle all morning but had a good time with the other volunteers and it is nice to take a turn helping out to keep the run viable. After I was finished there I drove over to the Hogan's place. They are a young couple in our branch that were moving to a new place. The young Elders and a couple of other men from the ward were there and we had all of their things moved in not much time at all. Again it was nice to be able to help out.
We live near the main hospital here in Limerick and across the street from the hospital is the ambulance centre. Vive la difference! They have two kinds of ambulances here, one that is called Intermediate Care and the other Emergency. The former is used for transfers, taking people to appointments who need transportation etc. and the later is for, well, emergencies. The service seems to operate independently and having the Intermediate Care ambulances frees up the other ones so they are available if there is a true emergency. Maurene and I went out for a walk this week one evening and I took some photos of the facilities.
We took a short drive out to Craggaunowen this week to see the historic park out there. It is located between Limerick and Galway. The forest park consists of a number of structures and villages that represent the way people lived in Ireland in the past. It was a beautiful peaceful place and we really enjoyed our visit. There was a little gift shop and cafe at the entrance where we had some soup and a scone after our visit. It was a very interesting place. It makes you thankful you don't have to live in those primitive conditions but also amazes you about how inventive they were to create ways to get things done. When we were arriving we noticed some animals that looked like goats. We were told they were sheep and they didn't need to be sheared, the wool just comes off them when it gets long. The entrance was a cute little cottage.
The first stop in the park was the castle that was built around 1550. It was very high and you got a good view of the area from the top. There was a park worker in the castle who was spinning wool from their sheep and did weavings.
The next stop was the Crannog. This was a small man made island that people lived on for protection. They built small round thatched houses that were pretty dark inside. There was a worker there that was dying wool in a pot over an open peat fire.
The next thing we saw was the Iron Age Road which dates back many years and was found in a bog. Would have been a pretty bumpy ride!
We next visited the Brendan, which was a ship built in 1976 and sailed from Ireland to the west coast of North America. The were trying to recreate the voyage made by St. Brendan the navigator in the 6th century. It was made of oak tanned hides.
We finished off our visit with a walk in the woods where we encountered some wild boars and then some soup and a scone at the little cafe at the gates. It was a great afternoon.
We decided to drive a different way back to Limerick down some back roads and came across a little town called Quin. It is Maurene's favourite little Irish village so far, next to Adare. We took some time to walk around and also visit the ruins of a the local monastery.
This past week was moves week. Besides sending two of our local Elders home this week, we also found out that the zone leaders are going to be moved from Limerick to Cork. So Elder Taylor brought us the key for their apartment over on Sunday evening. We went over there a couple of times this week to clean out the fridge etc. and do a little cleaning. For the time being it is going to be left empty.
On Friday we walked over to the Haxhiaj's to water their flowers and pick raspberries and to our surprise they have returned home from their holiday to Albania. We enjoyed going over to their place and working in their yard and looking after it for them. They are such a nice family and would be a real asset to the branch if they joined the church. They brought us some nice gifts from Albania for helping out with their yard. We certainly didn't expect that but it was good of them.
We travelled to Tralee on Sunday to attend church and have a visit with the Wingets and the two YSA young women who live there. The church services went well and Maurene was kept busy playing the piano and helping in the Primary. We spent the afternoon visiting with the Wingets at their place and playing a game they called Marbles which was a lot fun. In the evening we went with them and the young Elders to the home of President Knight for dinner. We had a great visit with him and his family and a very delicious meal. On the way home we travelled some back roads that we had not been down before but found our way home despite not having our Satnav that gave up the ghost.
We had an opportunity this week to have a visit with Yuan, a convert to the church who was baptized a few months ago. We used to visit with her regularly with the Elders but have not seen her for a while, she doesn't come to church any more. We had a good visit with her and encouraged her to come out to church but didn't get a very positive response. The Elders are starting English classes at the church which interests her and we will continue to visit with her.
One thing that they grow well here in Ireland is flowers, all kinds of them. They have flower boxes and planters all over the city and there are lots of flower beds in the parks here. We sure enjoy all of the beauty and colour they add to the surroundings
We try to help out the young missionaries as much as we can with the upkeep and maintenance of their apartments. The Sisters needed a new toilet seat so I went to the local hardware and bought a new one and we went over to their apartment to install it for them. These small tasks that we can do help them to focus on what they have been called to do here on their mission.
Our new district leader here in Limerick is Elder Hoopes and he got a new companion this week. We were happy to learn that his new companion, Elder Harker, is from Raymond. Always good to have another Canadian in the district!
I went over to the Mungret cemetery and completed taking the photos of the headstones for the Billion Graves project. It was nice to get that completed and also started doing the transcribing of the information on the headstones on the Billion Graves website. It was a good week, we'll just finish off with some random photos.
Two of our missionaries here in Limerick left to go home this week, Elder Mulville one of our zone leaders and Elder Taylor, our district leader. It is sad to see them leave after having served with them but it is good to be able to see them go home after serving an honourable mission. They left together on Saturday, driving a car over to Edinburgh for a senior couple, the Hawks, who are moving from Scotland to Waterford here in Ireland to finish their mission. The couple from Waterford went home this week and flew out of Shannon which is close to Limerick.
This week was apartment inspections before the moves next week. These were the best inspections we have had yet here in Limerick and I think this is due partly to the Mr. Clean award that we started last inspection. This time we have added a trophy to the rewards for the cleanest apartment. It is something we enjoy doing and it is nice to help the young missionaries keep their apartments clean and in good repair. Elder Taylor and Elder Hoopes apartment won it for the second time and the sisters were a close second. If there was an award for most improved the zone leaders would have won it.
This week was district meeting. For the second meeting in a row we were finishing off the leftovers from the zone meeting that we prepared the food for. It was Elder Taylor's last zone meeting and it went well.
They do a really nice job here in Limerick of planting flowers all around the city. They rotate the flowers as the season progresses so they always seem to be looking good. It makes the city much more attractive.
Canada Day took place this past week and we didn't do anything special to commemorate it. But on Saturday we were invited along with the other missionaries to a member's home for a BBQ to celebrate the 4th of July. So they said we could also celebrate July 1st at the same time. Sister Hogan is American and we had a nice time at their place and enjoyed hamburgers and smores!
We finished off the week with Family Home Evening at our place. Again attendance was not great as we only had three YSA attend. But Whitney, an American working here for the summer, gave a great lesson on fasting and we enjoyed a nice visit and some Jenga together afterwards along with a delicious Eton Mess.
This is the blog of Elder Tom and Sister Maurene Wilson of our mission to the Scotland/Ireland Mission.