Today, I cycled from Clonmacnoise to Athboy, a distance of about 60 miles. It was a good ride, in part because I had the wind at my back; and in part because 18 miles of my journey was on old railroad right of way that had been converted into a hiking and cycling trail, which meant that it was flat and traffic free. (Yay!) More important, however, I was able to take to heart the lesson that the journey is just as important as the destination. And so, I took my time and allowed myself several breaks. And as a result, I was in a much better place—both physically and spiritually—when I made it to my destination.
Anyway, since I finally have decent Wi-Fi, I thought I’d catch you up with a few pictures of the things that I’ve been seeing. As I mentioned in a previous post, the countryside here is beautiful. It would be even more beautiful if the sun shined a bit more often. But still, it’s wonderful territory to be cycling through, and here are a couple photos:
As you know if you’ve been reading my posts, I spent the last couple days in Clonmacnoise, a Celtic Christian monastic community that was established by St. Ciaran back in 548 AD. At one point, the community was a major center of faith, learning, craftsmanship, trade, and political influence. In fact, several early Irish kings are buried on the site. However, Clonmacnoise was raided repeatedly during its history by Irish marauders, Vikings, and Anglo-Norman’s. And it ceased to be a major monastic center when Catholics in Britain came under intense persecution following king Henry VIII’s establishment of the Church of England.
Although all of the buildings that were part of the original monastic community would have been made of timber, many of the stone structures that still remain were built as early as the 10th century. In addition, Clonmacnoise has several “high crosses,” elaborate monuments that were used to mark the entrance to the monastic compound and to instruct lay people in the stories of the Bible.
Finally, I mentioned that several miles of my cycling today utilized an old railroad right of way that has been converted into a trail. What was really unique, however, was that several old rail stations have been left standing and have been renovated to be points of interest along the way.
The next few days are primarily filled with cycling. So I probably won’t be posting much. However, thanks for following along.