We went back to RIOT to debrief with Richie and make plans for Monday...our day at the North Coast. After that we had our devotions and discussion from Jesus Calling (we did have devotions every day in case I've not mentioned that!). All of us then spent some leisure time with popcorn for our late night snack and all of us doing Facebook, Facetime and email. It has been wonderful to have wifi at RIOT!
We were able to sleep in a wee bit as we didn't leave for the coast until 9 am. We had packed lunches in tow as we boarded the mini-bus. Bebe had stayed with her friend Cynthia. The interns, Jenna and Danielle, joined us but Nick had stayed at the castle with Andrew and Lorna's son, John, so there were the five of us, the two girls and Richie.
We drove up stopping for a few "scenic views" and "photo ops" There is a beautiful spot on a bridge but my vantage point in the van does little to highlight that! We made an actual stop at Larne for a restroom stop, purchase snacks to supplement our packed lunches, and see the harbor.
|From Bridge over River|
|Jean at Harbor|
Marker at Larne--a small community/harbor.
We continued north with so many beautiful scenes, looking back along the shoreline, ahead at rock arches across the road, down into the Glens of Antrim. It was clear and bright and lovely beyond words!
We ate our sack/packed lunches on the way. There were ham sandwiches, crisps (chips) and fresh fruit, apples and pears. I had a variety of crisps that would be most popular in the US.... and yes, they were quite good!!
|With black currant jam and cream!!!|
After the swing bridge, we headed up to Giant's Causeway. The new visitor centre is stupendous! It is so beautiful and mimics the stones of the causeway. We took the bus down from the parking lot to the sea....all but Richie; he walked. The stones are incredible. This is my third visit and I am still overwhelmed by this natural wonder of the world! It is basalt, solidified lava. The columns have five and six sides, some have four, seven or eight and it is believed that there is one with only 3 sides. Along with being a marvel, there is a delightful fable attached to the location about one Finn McCool.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjtqlhW1WMI It's only 2 minutes!
This is when the battery on my camera died so I don't have more pictures...and I haven't figured out how to get others' pics from FB to my blog...need another learning session with someone!!
We went to Bushmill's, the oldest legal/licensed distillery in the world! We saw the distilling process for Irish whisky from the beginning of barley to the finished product bottled. We learned that Irish whisky is different from Scotch whiskey in more than the spelling. The Irish is distilled another time giving it a smoother taste. There was a bit of history--the distillery is on the Bush River and Bushmill's cannot be made anywhere else because of the distinction of that water. The waste water from the distilling process is used for feed for hogs and some is reclaimed.
We did a "photo op" at Dunluce Castle and began the wild ride home! Richie drove to his home and we traded drivers. He stayed home with the little girls and Jen joined us for a GNO-Girls' Night Out at Maghera Inn. Deirdre was already there and Bebe had joined us. It was great craic with good food (I had sea bass with champ which is mashed potatoes with green onions) and for dessert we all shared Pavlova and the Sticky Toffee Pudding.
We were back at RIOT by 11 pm and had bags to pack! Our Tuesday flight from Dublin was at 11 am but we needed to leave Dundrum by 5:30. Emy and I didn't hear our alarm so we had to be quick but we were all ready when Richie arrived. I had charged the camera so took a couple pics of RIOT...the sitting room and dining room...
|Chairs, loveseats, sectionals!|
We had devotions in the airport after we cleared security and US customs. Yes, there are US customs officers who live/work in Dublin. All of our checks were done in Dublin so when we arrived in Chicago, it was so simple. No lines, just pick up the baggage!
|A work in progress...old wallpaper removed|
The driver arranged by Emy's son picked us up at the airport and delivered us to Jean's vehicle. We loaded up 5 bags, 6 carry-ons, and another 6 personal bags and were on our way. As we drove back to Howard County, we recalled all of our contacts in N. Ireland and shared more stories. It was a grand trip with lots of great memories. Even more important, we really felt that it had been a mission and that God has been preparing hearts and working out details for this for the past several years. We also talked about our connections with CSI, with other mission experiences, with the Great Banquet and with each other. It is a truly amazing story how God brought the six of us together for "such a time as this". We are in awe of our God who is using each of us in this !!
And He just keeps working it out! Ladeana was trying to work out a simple way to get home to Peru. She contacted her husband who was working...he referees soccer. Wouldn't you know that he was ref'ing the very game my grandson was playing so Jean dropped us both in Greentown! Easy peasy!!