After our time in Westport with Paudge we had the wonderful opportunity to see County Mayo in the exceptional summer weather. So we spent a wonderful afternoon/evening driving round the coast from Westport to Achill Island to find at Keel the most amazing of beaches full of children swimming and surfing in bright blue water against white sand and clear skies. Ireland is just not meant to look like this!
In the midst of all this fun and beauty, a God-given discussion with a dog walker turned into a deep talk about spiritual matters. It drove home a point Paudge had been making about the cultural environment of Ireland: unlike the UK, and despite the recent public failings of the established church, gloriously the Bible’s words are still respected here and are a sound bridging point for sharing the true Gospel of Jesus.
The next day we set off to tour the north coast of County Mayo with Ruth graciously pandering to my enthusiasm for history of all forms. First stop was the small ancient village of Killala which was founded back at the time of St. Patrick who called his little church “Cell Alaid” in Gaelic. Even now it is still a quiet and peaceful place with a lovely little harbor, numerous ruined forts nearby, and a classic Irish round tower standing over the place.
Then it was off round the coast to the Céide Fields neolithic site, a world heritage site and the largest prehistoric monument in the world – dwarfing the pyramids in the total volume of stone used. Deep under the centuries of peat bog lies a complex pattern of pastoral field boundaries constructed by a sophisticated organised human community giving the lie to the idea that our prehistoric ancestors lacked our intelligence and sense of community.
I could not help but reflect that we shouldn’t be surprised at all this when the book of Genesis describes mankind, a few generations after Adam, using sophisticated technology and coordinated production to reach to the skies with the Tower of Babel. The modern age has such a sense of superiority over previous generations, but Céide Fields drives home the cold fact that at the core, mankind has just the same needs, wants and weaknesses as it ever had – and the same one true Saviour it will always need.