Coleraine and Mountsandel Woods and Fort

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Jon Kennedy’s ‘Postcards from
his soj
ourn in Northern Ireland’
 
Coleraine and Mountsandel 
Woods and Fort
 
JONAL ENTRY 1307 | SEPTEMBER 7 2013
 
. . . we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification.
 
— from Paul’s First Epistle to the
Church in Corinth, chapter 2, from today’s
Orthodox lectionary readings
See the homiletical thought below.
 
Diary: Another Ulster adventure
 
Thursday, September 5 — Got my blog (mostly yesterday’s diary entry) online and sent to my list today, along with Jim Toth’s latest blog.
 
We went to Townsend/Charis Bible College to see two films about Noah and the Ark that were shown by Jack last night.
 
Marda’s company from Los Angeles arrived and they took off to tour the north coast this morning.
 
Friday, September 6 11:30 a.m. — I’m on a train to Coleraine for today’s adventure.
 
I arrived in Coleraine around 12:50. At first I couldn’t see the town center and began walking away from it. But realizing I was going in the wrong direction, I made a U-turn.
 
In a couple of blocks I found a large pedestrian mall and looked for a place to get lunch. On the way, I found the St. Patrick’s Church of Ireland and went inside to have a look. An organist was playing and I was able to record his rendition of St. Patrick’s hymn, “Be Thou My Vision.” I have started carrying with me my HTC Android phone to use for videos like this, as my new Samsung camera makes such large video files that they are hard (time consuming) to process or even put on YouTube. There was a very nice older man, Cecil, and yes even older than me, at the information table. We had a nice talk. I also got good photos (on my Samsung) of the church and the mall.
 
 
This St. Patrick’s of Coleraine, adjacent to the downtown mall.
 
Coleraine is a nice town of 25,000 residents and boasts the highest property values in Northern Ireland. I spotted a tourism information office and got a map and a free booklet and asked about Mountsandel Fort, a mound dating from Norman days which I had read about online on the train up. Adjacent to it is the site of a dig that produced artifacts from Ireland’s oldest prehistoric (stone-age) settlement ever found.
 
 
Coleraine Town Hall is a landmark at the end of the pedestrian mall.
 
Finding my way to the River Baan, by way of the Town Hall, which is historic and photogenic, I crossed the river and discovered on the opposite side an old Courthouse which is now a pub/restaurant, and which was advertising the best prices I’d seen today, so I went in there for lunch: roast of the day (chicken), mashed with gravy, broccoli, and carrots. All this plus a very good large capuccino for £4.70! Even a better price than in Cookstown.
 
Though the weather app had been predicting a rainy day, there was still lots of sunshine (though the breezes were a bit nippy with just my wind breaker on) when I recrossed the river to make my way to Mountsandel Forest and the historic fort.
 
 
A panorama view of the River Baan in Coleraine. Downtown
is in the background. Google+ automatically stitches
five photos together to create panoramas like this.
 
The dot that the lady in the tourist office had put on my map to mark the fort proved to be incorrect, but I asked a man walking along and he kindly put me on the right path.
 
 
Mountsandel Fort. The ‘fort’ is the dirt mound that rises
50 feet or more from the river valley floor below.
 
The walk in the woods was longer than expected, but the payoff was worth it: lots of good photos and videos of some very photogenic sights (check all of them out in the Coleraine set in my Flickr site). When I got back to the street, the sky was quite dark with rain clouds. I walked to the nearest bus stop (with no shelter) and waited, probably a half an hour, and sure enough it started to rain. I wrapped my cap in a plastic bag I’ve been carrying since the stores began charging (under an “environmental” law) for bags. My cap fared the rain well and kept my head dry; the rest of me got soaked. But after about ten minutes in the rain, the worst I’ve been caught out in, a bus came. It took me directly to the train/bus station, and I am now writing this on the train which is approaching my Belfast station, Yorkgate.
 
§ 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.
 
For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onand. Google+ is much easier to understand, so most of the pictures I post are posted there.
 
Feedback is always welcome.
 
Homiletical thought: Things look dark and are likely to get darker (remember Nero and Caligulua, the days of Noah and Sodom). But the Apostle assures us the rulers of this age and their wars against faith, morality, believers, and the Church will fade away and be forgotten when the faithful shine in Glory.
 
§     §     §
 
Please pray for my mission to Northern Ireland. You can read my background overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 44 7455 980890.
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