THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch11 – part 3

THE FALLING OUT – Sea of GalileeCG-book-cover-w

An hour just before sunrise, the boats were broached securely on the beach with everyone sound asleep in their blankets. By sunrise, a passing herdsman recognized Jesus and went and spread the news. Two hours into the morning, a crowd of a hundred people with many that were sick and impaired were gathered around the encampment. Jesus and the disciples ministered to them for four hours after which they got back into the boats and sailed back to Capernaum.

That night, a number of men sought out Jesus after they arrived from where the multitude was fed. When they found out that Jesus was already at the house of Peter they rushed over and found him seated on the front porch teaching to a small crowd. Cornelius noted them approaching. They were about twenty of them. He noted that three of them were zealots, former companions of Simon. Simon also noticed them as well and whispered into Peter’s ear. Peter then moved ever so slowly and positioned himself slightly behind Jesus watching them. Cornelius and Cestus also subtlety positioned themselves so that they can intervene between Jesus and them if need be. But the men stopped at the edge of the seated crowd.

One of them asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

Jesus looked at them for a long while. Most of them started to look uncomfortable like they knew that he could see right through them. He slowly stood and took a couple of steps toward them. Then he answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” He started to look at everybody else and said, “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”

Then they asked Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”

He again sat and told them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

Jesus then spent about twenty minutes or so in a dissertation that even to Cornelius was both incredible and yet profoundly disturbing. For months, Jesus had not openly declared who he was except to his closest disciples; but even to them he mostly referred to himself in the third person. But now Jesus have openly declared, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst.” [John 6:25-29,35 NASB]

For Cornelius, this was an incredible statement of which he has no doubt will keep his mind busy through out the night. But what was foremost on his mind was ‘why now?’ He must know that his statement will spread like wildfire. But to what end? Cornelius scanned the faces around him. His disciples showed confusion and concern. To the group of twenty men including the zealots among them, what he saw was disgust. Some of them have left even before Jesus finished. Others including a number of followers have left as well murmuring among themselves.

When Jesus had finished, only the twelve, a few others and Cornelius were left. No other words were spoken. All that Jesus did was smile and then went into the house.
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The story continues on in my next post.

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Sketching Ireland #4

Had to Stop at Castledermot

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Well, I’m back on the M9. I had to work myself back to Ballytore. Okay, I confess! I cheated! I flew back over the mountains back to my last stop on the M9.

It’s kinda funny, but the first leg of this Irish tour was suppose to be at Kilkenny. I hope you all don’t mind me making these extra stops. Because… hahaha… I’m making another “un-itinerary’ stop. It is a small town just off the M9, named Castledermot. At first, by its name, I thought there was castle about. But Castledermot (in County Kildare) was originally called ‘Diseart Diarmad’; meaning ‘Dermot’s Hermitage’. Now, there is a castle about 4-5 miles away, across the M9 from Castledermot. It was modernly refurbished into a hotel overlooking a golf course. I decided to focus on the small town.

Ruins of Franciscan Friary

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Believe it or not, this tiny town had historical significance. And to my delight I found part of it right on the main road just across a gas station. It was a ruin of a Franciscan friary which was once a very important ecclesiastical centre in this part of Ireland. This ‘frontier’ location was significant enough to attract many unwanted visitors over the years. It was attacked by Vikings in 841 and 867, the Normans in 1169, Edward the Bruce in 1316, the McMurroughs in 1405 and 1427, the Crown forces in 1530 and of course good old Cromwell whose forces destroyed most of the place in 1650. The town had been so important at one stage that it was allowed to mint its own coins. By 1850 however Castledermot was described as having ‘neither trade nor manufacture’ and is now wholly dependent on agriculture. [content from Wikipedia]

The sketch I made is of the inside of the friary showing the oldest intact stone window in Western Europe. It is believed the Franciscan Friary in Castledermot or Thrisledermot, as it was known at that time, was founded by Walter de Riddlesford II in the early part of the 13th century. All that remains of the Friary today is an undifferentiated nave and chancel church, with a 14th century aisle and transept added to the northside. There are three side chapels on the eastern side of the transept. An unusual feature of the building is the defensive tower attached to the south side of the church. [content from Wikipedia]

St Dairmuid’s Monastic Site

About 2 blocks from the ruins is an older monastic site founded by St Dairmuid back at 815 or 818 CE. He was the son of Dairmait, high king of Ireland, and was an abbot and bishop. However, he died in 823 CE not long after founding his monastery. His feast-day is held on 23rd June.

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Today, you’ll find in the ancient monastic site, the church of St James (which is modern) and a round tower, now somewhat damaged, dating from the 10th century. You’ll also find the foundations of a ruined church, a reconstructed Romanesque doorway (arch), grave-slabs dating from the 8th-12th century and two 9th century High Crosses.

Castledermot High Crosses  St Dairmuid s Cross   Ancient Cross   The Megalithic Portal and Megalith Map .pngA high cross or standing cross is a free-standing Christian cross made of stone and often richly decorated. The best preserved of the two high crosses, the North Cross, stands at 10 feet tall and is made of granite. On it’s base (front) there is a hunting scene, while on the back the miracle of the loaves and fishes. The shaft (front) has panels depicting biblical scenes, including David with his harp and Adam and Eve. The central panel between the wheel-head (heaven) shows the crucifixion of Christ.

The South Cross has only the granite shaft remaining but the detail, although worn, shows Daniel in the lion’s den in the lower panel (front) while the top panel has the sacrifice of Isaac; the middle panel has Celtic interlacing and spirals (front and back).

Castledermot-holed-stone-w.jpgIn the graveyard is a holed stone that was formerly known as the ‘swearing stone’. A ringed cross is carved on one face of the stone and the circular hole extends through the centre of the cross. The purpose of this stone is somewhat enigmatic, but it is suggested that it may have been used during wedding ceremonies or for swearing oaths or allegiances in early Christian times. [contents by megalithicireland.com]

After Castledermot, there is one other stop before we reach Kilkenny, the large town of Carlow. I hope to see you then.

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Sketching Ireland #3

Detour to Glendalough

road-map-3.jpgWhile researching my next stop in my itinerary of following the M9 Highway to the city of Kilkenny, I came upon promotional touristy stuff on beautiful mountain lakes just east of my last stop. The place is called Glendalough, pronounced as Gleann Dá Loch, meaning “Valley of two lakes”. When I first read the name, suddenly Brigadoon came to mind. Brigadoon was an old movie musical of a mystical village in the Highlands of Scotland starring Gene Kelly. Well, Glendalough may not magically appear every hundred years through the mist, but clearly it does sound like a worthwhile detour to take. However, I had to backtrack back to Ballytore and take country back roads first to the town of Dunlavin. Implementing Street View, I found that the town was quite modern. Frankly, I hoped to see more classical Irish style cottages with its tatched roof and stone walls. So, I continued on northeast to what was a pleasant drive on a well paved two lane road [R756] lined with hedges, wooden fences and fields of barley (I think). I drove by both country estates, quaint houses and farms but no public places like pubs & restaurants. (Note to travelers: gas stations can usually be found on major road junction.)

Anyway, the next stop in our detour, believe it or not, is Hollywood. No… not the one in Los Angeles. For one thing, Hollywood Ireland is smaller but much older than it’s LA’s namesake. Here is a historical note, Hollywood was an old designated stage coach stop. As a travel blogger, I recommend that you stop over at Hollywood and eat. I suggest you stop at either the HOLLYWOOD CAFE and HOLLYWOOD INN. For there will be no place to eat on the long road to Glendalough.

Glendalough

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The drive into the mountains of Glendalough is not like driving through the Cascades of Washington State or even the Rockies. These mountains were not as high or sheer, but I really enjoyed riding through them even if I’m watching it on my computer monitor. I can even imagine feeling the cold air through my imaginary Fonzie like leather jacket. As I turned a bend on the highway, I came upon a wonderful sight of Glendalough resting at the bottom of a valley between two mountains. Those mountains are the Tonelagee and the Camaderry enveloping the glacial valley of Glendalough. For a sketching project, I made a perspective map of Glendalough. I love making this kind of maps. You’ll probably see more of these later.

Cascading Stream

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When driving into the valley, I look to the right and found to my delight a flowing mountain stream cascading down rocks and mossy boulders. So, I think we’ll camp next to the stream.

Glendalough Monastic Site

Glendalough Monastic Site, also known as the city of the seven churches, was once enclosed within a circular wall of stone. You enter through the Gateway.

The Gateway

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There is a delightful feeling of discovery as you walk through the arches and along the pathway towards the settlement. The very picturesque Gateway has the distinction of being Ireland’s only surviving example of a medieval gateway to an early monastic city. This structure was originally two-storied with two fine granite arches. The gatekeeper would have lived on the second floor. The projecting walls at each end indicate it had a timber roof. Very little remains of the enclosure walls. [content from http://www.megalithicireland.com]

Monastic Site Map

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The Round Tower was built of mica-slate interspersed with granite. It stands about 30 metres high, with an entrance 3.5 metres from the base. The conical roof was rebuilt in 1876 using the original stones. The tower originally had six timber floors, connected by ladders. The four storeys above entrance level are each lit by a small window; while the top storey has four windows facing the cardinal compass points. Round towers, landmarks for approaching visitors, were built as bell towers, but also served on occasion as store-houses and as places of refuge in times of attack. [content from Wikipedia]

The Cathedral
The largest and most imposing of the buildings at Glendalough, the cathedral had several phases of construction, the earliest, consisting of the present nave with its antae. The large mica-schist stones which can be seen up to the height of the square-headed west doorway were re-used from an earlier smaller church. A few metres south of the cathedral an early cross of local granite, with an unpierced ring, is commonly known as St. Kevin’s Cross. [content from Wikipedia]

St. Kevin’s Cross
St. Kevin’s Cross is a fine example of a plain cross remarkably carved from a single granite stone. The arms of the cross are over a metre in length. The imperforate cross stands about 2.5m tall. It may have marked the boundary of the cemetery in which stands the priests’ house. A local legend surrounding St. Kevin’s Cross says that anyone who can wrap their arms around the entire width of the cross body and close the circle by touching fingertips will have their wishes granted. [content from http://www.megalithicireland.com]

The Priests’ House
Almost totally reconstructed from the original stones, based on a 1779 sketch made by Beranger, the Priests’ House is a small Romanesque building, with a decorative arch at the east end. It gets its name from the practice of interring priests there in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its original purpose is unknown although it may have been used to house relics of St. Kevin. [content from Wikipedia]

St. Kevin’s Church or “Kitchen”
St. Kevin’s Church is an intact stone-roofed structure. The steep roof, formed of overlapping stones, is supported internally by a semi-circular vault. Access to the croft or roof chamber was through a rectangular opening towards the western end of the vault. The church also had a timber first floor. The belfry with its conical cap and four small windows rises from the west end of the stone roof in the form of a miniature round tower. It is commonly known as St. Kevin’s Kitchen as the bell tower resembles a kitchen chimney. However, food was not cooked there. [content from Wikipedia]

St. Mary’s or Our Lady’s Church

St. Mary’s one of the earliest and best constructed of the churches built just outside and west of the Monastic Site. The church belonged to local nuns and was probably built outside the main enclosure. The chancel has an east window with hood moulding. On the outside of the window are two very weather worn carved heads. Built into the altar is one of the many bullaun stones in Glendalough.

Glendalough Bullauns – The Deerstone

At this early Christian monastic site are a number of interesting bullaun stones. Bullaun are large stones first flattened on the top then a bowl shap was carved into it. One of these is known as the Deerstone. The site was founded by St Kevin who died in 617 AD. According to legend St Kevin had no cow so he persuaded a doe to leave milk in the bullaun for him. Situated in and around the valley there are over forty other bullaun stones, a number of which are located on the monastic site.

There are more to check out and I’ll reveal it at later SKETCHING from the Neck Up posts.

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Glendalough is also a fantastic recreational area with kayaking on the lakes, rock climbing and numerous trails for both hiking and mountain bikes. One of those trails led me to my final drawing of an old stone crusher with an abandoned miner’s village on the background.

Well, we got to head back to the M9 and continue with my itinerary.

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