Ireland-Waterford to Cork via Ardmore



WHOLE_WALKOnce, during a full on celebration of 1000+ people in the mid nineties, everyone was on their feet and standing on chairs with hands raised creating a right old canopy of high praise. It was as if what we sort was above our heads, just out of reach or higher than we were at any rate. However, I was drawn downward. My head had dive-bombed to the floor and I lay in a vacuum below this wall of noise directly above me. It was surreal. I was simply the wrong way up, the opposite of skyward and almost pulled towards to a clamoring beneath the ground. Underneath the surface the land below my feet was trying desperately to be heard; reaching up to thump on its own ceiling, to pounding its fists against the surface for anyone who would hear and listen. Creation is not looking for the Creator above our heads but rather to us because we are the stewards where the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily. We are the answer and the orchestrators 182of Heaven on Earth. We are bodily connected to The Head having lost our heads for Jesus who revealed unveiled blows our mind. Suffice to say that from that celebration onwards, the land has had my ear and it has probably taken this long to begin understand what I was hearing but I utterly knew it was connected to Ireland that day. (For more on this see ‘Apathy’)

IMAG1292Having trudged around Wales and up and down England with added skirmishes into the Middle East, every step seemed to bond with my identity and family connections. For Ireland the only bond I had was in my ‘gut’ that I knew this land is crucial but maybe it was not my assignment to actually go. Meanwhile I was aware that timing is essential and that any misguided whim to set foot on this island is not to be taken lightly. Ireland plays havoc with well meaning feet that are presumptuous and would eat us for breakfast given half a chance. I knew this full well from walking Dublin to Waterford having preempted this ‘gut’ instinct before it was time.

But, this 2013, this ‘Odyssey of 13 seemed to be the time to set foot there at last. If 2012 was a completion in itself of all that has gone before then this 2013 is the turning point, the pivot on which all changes direction away from all that is previous and into all that is ahead. For years I have called Ireland ‘The Crux, The Pivot, a Critical Place, a place where Two becomes One’. See ‘Wildland’ & ‘Control’ for more on this.  

174So at last I have got to ‘The Pivot’ in a pivotal year and having finally reached this point, I could not help but wonder if all my walking has been getting me ready for this point.  That every step has counted to get me here at the right time with the right stuff on my feet having walked it through year upon year for indigenous identity, authenticity and the antidote to control. I know not if a drop of Irish blood flows through my veins but that does not matter anymore as my preparation is complete and I am ready.

IMAG1373 I was given a team of 3. Mags from the Wirral, Dave from Brighton and dear Sarah from Wheathampstead nr St Albans were with me as I drove to the Village of Ardmore in between Waterford and Cork on the south coast. This is where we lived for a week and for me was home from home. My home is called Ardmore and I knew this was my safe entry point in to Ireland. All I had to offer was my journey but in this team we had all the ingredients woven into their lives that are crucial issues for Ireland.  Mags’ parents are Irish but divorced while living in Liverpool when she was 13. Her father returned to Cork and was not heard of again.

Dave’s family owned land in County Cork for almost 300 years having been shipped in from Essex in the 17th Century to populate Ireland with loyal citizens to be part of the Kings army. When Cromwell went to extraordinary lengths to clear the fertile land of Irish citizens he enforced the loyalty of the king’s men to carry out his clearances which were devastating for the indigenous population.

IMAG1289Sarah’s bloodline is Celtic and Viking including a strong line of fiery women descended from an Irish beauty who had an alliance with one of the Hanoverian English monarchs! Dublin, Waterford, Wexford, Cork and Limerick were Viking settlements. The name Ireland is Scandinavian in form (from the old Norse Iraland) and it replaced the original Irish word Eriu during the period of the Viking conquests.

And so as we walk…. our identities unravel in the gentle hands of our loving Creator, making sense of our little lives, retrieving our inheritance and touching all it represents in the layers of a nation. As we move forward the micro affects the macro, one boys lunch bought to Jesus feeds thousands, one mad voice in the desert preparing for Jesus, baptizes thousands….the micro affects the macro, a wonderful rule of thumb.

These southern coastal areas of land remind me of birthing places where that which has been nurtured and incubated in the land/nation comes forth. Walking from A to B is like creating an incision in the land for the delivery.  In England it was the unconventional wild child of John the Baptist to prepare the way, away from ‘control’ and into ‘The Way’. In Wales it was a young Intimacy like a warm sun to place her hand on the frozen hearts of man, to gather a battalion of unswerving, undaunted intimates who shine in the Son so brightly, blinding religion. In Ireland it was a green pearl of great price, a great treasure, and from that place stepped a pale skinned woman with red hair and green eyes out of the grave.

Waterford quaySo we set out from Waterford, beginning at the river Suir, completely thankful for the peace in the timing of this walk and that I had access to come here at all. We headed to the coast at Tramore and walked towards Dungarvan. The land felt springy and light on day one especially along the rugged coast passing lots of coves, the odd house or farm and of course always horses. We stopped in a fishing cove with a rocky quay that was so smuggleresque while the fishing mafia eyed us with suspicion.

IMAG1307On day two we trotted through Dungarvan and towards Ardmore with a essential luncheon Guinness for Godspeed in the rain. On the third day we were to reach Ardmore, the half way point between Waterford and Cork and just beyond it is the River Blackwater which is the border of County Waterford and County Cork. So this was a day of crossing over. There was vulnerability on the team, while one maybe feeling loss, another may feel fulfillment and yet another may feel overwrought or sad but that is where the feet help. It is simple, one foot in front of the other and physically therefore mentally, emotionally and spiritually we move forward in our identity and for that of Ireland.

IMAG1321Walking through Ardmore where we stayed was important to me. It means ‘Greatest High’ and we have sort to be faithful to this name in our home on the English south coast and share it with others. Also, it just happens to be the oldest known Christian settlement in Ireland although I so often feel that these places of history are not for reminiscence but for bringing the new and about where we are going now.  Crossing over into County Cork was certainly less light ground to walk, once past Youghal we spent the afternoon in a dense fog with no visibility IMAG1330beyond 50 meters. It was a smugglers delight for sure; Cork is the rebel, the ‘would be’ real capital and the place where uprisings begin. Although the thick sea mist was intimidating I could not help feeling that we were smuggling what we carried through that area and the fact that I was wrapped up by a blanket of fog was maybe beneficial. As we finished that cross over day the mist disappeared as fast as it had arrived. Suddenly we were in sunlight and could clearly see the sea and Ballycotton Island.

IMAG1335There is something that I have carried or smuggled to do with the antidote to ‘control’. Control divides to conquer, so that the quintessential becomes divided like ‘east from west’ or ‘men from women’ or ‘spirit from word’ or ‘doing from being’. Meanwhile control dances around in between, in the place of division setting one up against the other. So the core antidote has to be the union of Creator and created, Jesus and I walking, living in the knowledge of no separation, union and oneness on the earth. That Jesus is me and I am Jesus, we are one and the same with no division, with all our individual shit and wonder on board, we are ONE with the ONE. This is where the antidote begins, believing my ‘oneness’ affects the cosmos because I am one with the Author, so the micro affects the macro. If the one affects the many, the one lunch of five loaves and 2 fishes feeds 5000+ with 12 baskets left over, that is wild statistics to restore the Truth and resonate with what the whole of creation already knows and is waiting for us to KNOW. It is alignment, I align myself with the embrace of The WayTruthLife.

229For a few years now I have been visited by 2 horses (unseen horses!) and they represent the divisions that ‘control’ keeps apart. One always eats from my left hand and the other from my right, very different, very distinctive and very separate from one another. During their visits I have been through many encounters with them that depict this journey 2 becoming 1.  If Ireland is pivotal, a place where balance comes, it is also a place that loves horses and in itself is a wild horse beneath any appearance of domestication. The following morning after ‘crossing over’ in the fog these 2 unseen horses came to see me again and for the first time ever they ate from the same food in my cupped hands and then even crossed their necks so that one head rested on the other. It was such an incredible moment, so peaceful I could have stayed there forever and as I stood there marveling at this new development I knew that this is because I was in Ireland. In Ireland 2 becomes 1, this is the place of balance, the crux in the centre that adjoins two halves. So maybe this is what I was smuggling through the half way point between Waterford and Cork where the small things in the nowhere places affect the large things in the ‘somewhere’ places. Ha!

IMAG1301Mags and Dave walked together each day which was a powerful ‘little’ combination. One from English settlers who were given confiscated Irish land and the other of indigenous Irish stock, estranged and disconnected from their land, but both ‘coming home’ to Cork and finding their way together with such grace it was a wonder to behold.

Then there is the issue of the feminine, which is about women but it is more than that, it is the feminine nature of our Creator and where it flows through humankind. It is often characterized by the intuitive, the sensitive, the gentle, the emotional, the nurturing, the birthing, the beauty, the queenly, the wisdom, the selfless to name a few attributes. If there is an issue of balance then balance must come between the masculine and feminine for our Creator is both. For a while there has been a ‘ditty’ in my head that says, ‘That which has been masculine for millennia will be feminine for the finale’….And that which has not been achieved in All that time (millennia) will now take a fraction of that time to be achieved…and this will bring Balance. The masculine will thrive and find its most beautiful place in releasing the feminine above itself… be first is to be last, to lose is to gain and to let go is to receive”. For me this is no different to the relationship, for example between England and Wales and calling for balance away from dominance and all that I have written about during those walks.

IMAG1310So Sarah’s female ancestry is of strong women that have been perceived as ‘difficult’ because they would fight against any false constraints and hated being controlled. The object of this defiance is to be oneself, accepted and loved with no invisible leash or manipulation. This amazing allergy to ‘control’ is a gift but if it becomes over bearing it will alienate those who do accept and love us which defeats the object in the first place. So balance must come to the feminine to rise a queen, allergic to dominance or control but bonded securely in loved acceptance of her Creator. To fight control with control is a non-starter…so wrapped up in ‘The Way’ a new path must be navigated. (See ‘Mama’)

IMAG1354On day 4 we walked the coast of the final peninsular to Midleton and day 5 we finally reached Cork rather wet and bedraggled. It was such a contrast to the tiny roads looking out to sea and barely seeing a soul, to walking into a city shopping precinct with all the typical retail chain stores. We had reached ‘civilisation’ and it felt like landing on another planet of concrete, pristine fascias and shiny glass shop fronts. I could have been in Cardiff or Manchester or Edinburgh for all I knew. Having walked all this way I have come to meet Cork but I think it was in hiding or buried! Thank God we had a small and very personal way into this place as Mag’s maiden name is Margareet Luc(e)y and there was a Bishop Lucey of Cork who was related within the family. We had spotted on the map a ‘Bishop Lucey Park’ which is one of very few green spaces in the city centre and the fact it bore Mag’s father’s name was so pertinent. It was a meager patch of green in this concrete mass with no obvious sign of ‘welcome’ nor a peaceful place. IMAG1358There was one factor that drew Mags that was easy to miss, a small sad statue of a woman selling onions, she looked so worn and impoverished as if the onions were the only thing between her and her family’s starvation. It was as if a tiny bit of Cork had managed to push itself up through the grass. It was honest and raw; here in Margareet’s Bishop Lucey Park was a chink in the armour revealing the underbelly, the vulnerability that lets people draw near rather than walling them and keeping them out.  Mags was our passport and suddenly Cork was saying ‘here I am, this is who I really am’.

So we stood with the dear desperate ‘Onion Seller’ knowing all is not lost and committed some words as to why we had come. We called for the incision we had walked to open up and for the real Ireland to come forth. We levered open the land like opening a clam to reveal the emerald pearl and this was when we saw the red haired, green eyed lady emerge out from her grave. The true treasure of The Word, who became flesh resides in the land from where it was spoken into being and no matter what counterfeit seeks to distort and destroy, identity cannot be removed or undone, only buried.

214My thanks to Dave, Sarah and Mags for coming and carrying their identity across this land and allowing that to connect with often painful realities in order for the transfusion to take place of the Truth; the fullness of Christ in us and all creation, The Oneness that floods divisions and heals up the wounds (See Welts).

Until next time. This an earlier encounter I had with Ireland while walking from Dublin to Waterford in 2008