Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Famine cemetery service project

This very unattractive photograph is a picture of a celtic cross made as a memorial to a large number of children who died during The Great Famine of 1845-48 here in Ireland, and Sligo in particular. We first saw this graveyard when we were in Ireland in 2006 and were moved to tears by it. The main part of the graveyard is well maintained and very peaceful. But the children's area has become greatly overgrown and in need of attention.

With that in mind, we organized a clean-up of this cross. It involved phoning or visiting four different agencies to find the one who was responsible for the care taking of the graveyard. But we succeeded and then got together a group of 11 youth and adults and scheduled the time last evening to undertake this service project. Fortunately, some of the men of the branch had the good sense to bring scrub brushes and gloves, without which we could not have done the job properly. A man named Larry Mullen offered to open the gates for us on the upper side of the graveyard and he stayed with us while we worked. He was so impressed that someone wanted to do this that he invited a photographer from one of the local papers, the Sligo Champion, to come and take pictures. When we get the paper next week, I'll include a picture from it.

Anyway, probably the best part of the experience for me personally was a point during the process when I was just busily wiping away the moss, thinking about nothing else, and suddenly the thought ran through my head "the angels are keeping record of what you are doing here."  It made me feel so wonderful. And I was so proud of all those young people in our branch who really put their hearts into the work. Now that you've heard the story, I'll show you a picture of the outcome.

Quite a different, huh? All around the cross are shells that have been put it, in part because the Gaelic for Sligo means shells. What a great experience!

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