Jon Kennedy’s ‘Postcards from
JONAL ENTRY 13066 | SEPTEMBER 5 2013
. . . We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of truth we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
Diary: An even less real castle, in the woods
September 4 — Wednesday, writing on a bus from Europa Bus Center to Dungannon, en route to Cookstown. Cookstown is one of the largest towns in Ulster that I have not visited, so that is why that’s where I’m bound today.
Marda and Ward are expecting visitors from the United States today, to be in Ireland till Monday. Marda will take them north tomorrow for some touring; since there are four of them that’s a car full so Ward will stay home, in the aegis of Derek.
Today is mostly sunny; thus far, September has been better than August was.
Now writing from Dungannon, while waiting for the bus to Cookstown.
John Grant, “the Kiwi,” blew back into Belfast last week and stayed with us most of the time. He has spent a year bicycling all over Ireland and, at 62, he has the physique of a 30-year old. I spent Monday afternoon with him; he’s a great friend of all. He left yesterday with a friend from near Sligo, and will fly out of Dublin back to New Zealand on Sunday, so we don’t expect to see him again on this trip and of course when a trip is that long, we wonder if he’ll ever make it this way again.
We got to talking about snakes, and he informed me that like Ireland, New Zealand has no snakes, in contrast to its bigger neighbor, Australia, which has many species, including some of the world’s most venomous. I never had interest in visiting New Zealand, but now I’m more interested.
Cookstown is spread out, boasts the widest and longest main boulevard in Ireland, and I walked most of the length of it and on out into the countryside to walk the footpath to the “Cabin Wood,” a trail reminiscent of the Ghost Town Trail outside my home town of Nanty Glo, PA, toward Twin Rocks, with a small river on the left. I saw no cabin along the path, but there was a castle on the hill across the river from the path, though getting to a place where it could be photographed took some doing.
Above is a picture of the main street (the name of which is several different things along its length, none of them “Main Street”). And below is the best photo I got of the castle: It does not have an ancient history as a castle-fort, as “authentic” or “historic” castles do, being only about two centuries old and still lived-in by a family who acquired it in the early 20th century for £100.
I waited to get to Cookstown before having lunch, and that was a good move, as I found a “carvery-pub” that had three-course lunches for £5. Here’s what I had: meat, potatoes, and assorted vegetables, all tasty and of good quality; classical Irish fare but seldom found (at least on my budget) in Belfast.
The most interesting buildings in town were three churches along the main boulevard: The Methodist Church, below left, which looks historic but is described in an account of Cookstown only as “Romanesque” in its architectural style. Likewise, the Roman Catholic Church, Holy Trinity, below right, is of 19th-century construction.
And so is St. Lurgan’s Church of Ireland, below.
§ I have now uploaded over 1,000 photos, mostly from my current visit to Northern Ireland, but also including several hundred photos from my summer in Pennsylvania (2012), and some photos of the family, on my Flickr site. Though not individually labeled, most of these are now organized by sets. If you’re interested, click here for the Flicker site.
Feedback is always welcome.
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Please pray for my mission to Northern Ireland. 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.