Friday 22 May: Fermoy, Co Cork to Co Roscommon (via Shannon, Clarinbridge and Foxford)
For seven days, VOX editor Ruth Garvey-Williams and her husband Andrew are travelling around the island asking, "What is God doing in Ireland today?"
Along the way, they meet inspirational people who are living out their faith in real life. This blog brings a round up of each day's journey! There will be much more in the summer edition of the magazine.
A time to dream
Day Four's journey takes us through Clare, Galway and Mayo in the West. First stop is Shannon where we meet Elton Good, one of the leaders of the multi-cultural Shannon Christian Church. Around 20 nationalities make up this vibrant congregation, which has just taken the exciting step of purchasing their own building.
During our short visit, Elton shows us around what was once a warehouse painting a beautiful picture of what the finished building will be like - a place of welcome, worship and interaction, a place where people can meet each other, and meet with God! We're excited to see the dream become a reality in the coming days.
Continuing north, we come to the village of Clarinbridge just outside Galway city. Here we receive a warm welcome from Dave O'Reilly, who has lovingly created a working replica of an ancient Irish chariot! The project took seven years of painstaking research using images taken from Ireland's high crosses and archaeological finds such as chariot wheel rims.
"For 10 years, I was a New Age Traveller. I spent a lot of time with the Irish Travellers learning how to drive ponies. I absolutely loved the life and I learnt so much!" Dave said. Heading to Australia (after a girl who was with someone else by the time he arrived), Dave found himself working as a fruit picker and met a group of Aboriginal Christians.
"In the drill next to me was a 65-year-old Aboriginal woman and I could not keep up with her! One girl told me, 'You need Jesus!' What she said, really made sense to me. I’m 27 years a Christian. I gave up the dope and would have a purposeful and satisfying life now. I met my wife at a Christian camp in 1995. I really enjoyed coming to terms with normal society through the church, living in a house again and earning a living on my own terms as a self-employed gardener."
Before we left, Dave took us to visit his ponies and showed us the chariot (currently in pieces because there is no space to store it). We got to watch a video of the chariot in action - as Dave explained, "the most sophisticated and technically advanced chariot of its time!" (Don't miss the next issue of VOX where you will get to read more of Dave's fascinating story!)
Next stop is Foxford in Co Mayo where Pastor Roddy Gallagher from Healing Waters Community Church shares exciting stories of God at work. "God has opened a door in the Travelling Community. We have a service every Saturday night in the home of one family. This family is so on fire for God!"
"We are seeing miracles happen here. In our ministry we have seen three people healed of cancer, one 12 years ago who had terminal cancer and is still cancer free today. We thank God that He is still healing people today!"
Our final stop of the day is a converted monastery in Co Roscommon where Rodney and Heather Gale have made their home. This couple from Canada are lovingly transforming a derelict building into a beautiful place of welcome and retreat. We enjoy a beautiful evening beside the fire, drinking tea and sharing our love for Ireland, for art and for God - a lovely respite in the middle of our rather punishing schedule!