I never believed in the saying "the grass is always greener on the other side" until I went to Northern Ireland...and the saying couldn't be more true. During my senior year of high school, I went on a missions trip to Ireland over Spring Break and had the time of my life sharing God's word with the children of Ireland and getting to sight-see like more tourist do!
We not only left our mark in Lisbellaw, Belfast, Portstewart and Dublin, but we also visited Downhill Demesne, Dunluce Castle, Giant's Causeway, and Lough Derg, the Sanctuary of St Patrick. I can't even begin to tell you how amazing Northern Ireland is. And would you believe me if I told you that it didn't rain once while we were there (a total of seven days)?! The trip couldn't have turned out more perfect. One thing I told myself I would never do while there was walk across the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge...but I got over my fear of heights real fast and enjoyed the magnificent views that I got to experience hundreds of feet above the sea.
To have been able to go on a missions trip overseas was something I will never forget. I can give that trip partial credit to where my faith and belief in God's glory truly took root in my life. So many memories were made while there, and the countless laughs and tears shed are more then I can count. And what trip would be complete without some unexpected turns along the way. Let's just say that we were not use to driving on the opposite side of the road and ended up in a ditch along side a horse and cow pasture. Thanks to the local farmers that helped us out that day!
The pictures below give you a tiny glimpse into one of the best trips I have ever taken thus far in my life. Of course, back then I didn't have as nice of a camera so the picture quality isn't as good as I would have liked them to be. But despite that, I hope you are able to see the beauty of Northern Ireland and the love that we brought to the individuals that we met along the way!
Oh! I forgot to mention that this trip was extra special because it was this trip that got me on my first plane! Maybe flying over 3,600 miles my first time was a little much but I wouldn't have traded it for anything!
The 18th-century mansion that once belonged to Earl Bishop. The rotunda at Ballyscullion was roofed and furnished, but Earl Bishop lost interest in it and the house was never completely finished.
The Sanctuary of St Patrick is a place I will never forget. To get there you have to take a boat. And once there, you are not suppose to speak. Let me explain why. This is a place of pilgrimage. This is a place that many people come to in hopes to "escape", and to take a step back and look at the direction their lives are going. It's a place many go for prayer and reflection.
Lough Derg is within a few miles of the village Pettigo in County Donegal and once upon a time, the area around the lake was a place of protection for anyone who was in trouble. Here at Lough Derg you will find many people barefoot, and praying or walking the prayer circle. We only stayed there for a few hours, but the peace and serenity that I felt while there was almost magical.
Fun facts about Dunluce Castle: The castle was originally built in 1500 by the McQuillians, who came from Scotland in the 1200s as hired mercenaries and built the castle about 200 years later. There is also a myth about the kitchens falling into the sea during a bad storm, taking the lives of seven cooks, but who knows.
Taking the Rope Bridge challenge was well worth it because of the views of Rathlin Island and Scotland on the other side. I can't even describe the beauty that I saw.
The Giant's Causeway. Have you heard of it? The legends are quite interesting and talk of a giant who was 54 feet tall and built the Giant's Causeway. His name was Finn and his story is humorous. Instead of me trying to explain it, you can read about it here.