Good Friday and Peace

The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 was a fundamental part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland.

I simply cannot let a Good Friday go by without giving thanks to every single person who was involved in bringing that Agreement about.

There was a time when it seemed like the Island of Ireland  would never see the level of peace that prevails today. It is something that we should never, ever take for granted and it is also something which should be viewed as a beacon of hope by those who are subsumed by pessimism about ongoing violence.

Paths of peace DO exist.

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The Stepping Stones of Peace

 

 

 

Stepping Out into Peace

Annestown Beach, Co. Waterford
Annestown Beach, Co. Waterford

Peace is something that I never, ever take for granted ~ either personal peace or public peace.

I was reared by my mother  on the saying, passed to her by her father:

Better a dinner of herbs and peace therewith than roast ox and contention.

and I don’t think I ever prepare a meal of any significance without thinking of this.

At a broader level, I give thanks every single day for the fact that the horrific Troubles in Northern Ireland were brought to an end after endless negotiation. As a child and young teenager, I was absolutely terrified that they would spill drastically into the Republic of Ireland and had all sorts of Plans A, B …Z to try and escape the turmoil.

Talking not fighting is the key!

What sparked these thoughts was stumbling on this poem earlier today:

Peace

At the ship’s bow. It was my eye that drew

the perfect circle of blue meeting blue.

No land was visible. There was no sail,

not cloud to show the mighty world in scale,

so sky and ocean, by my gaze defined,

were drawn within the compass of my mind

under a temperate sun. The engine’s sound

sank to a heartbeat. Stillness all around.

Only the perfect circle and the mast,

The moment that knew no future and no past.

(Amy Whiting 1919-2001)

 

A Mosaic of Social Bridges ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 220

I didn’t call this blog ‘Social Bridge’ for fun. However, I think I may have been too serious about the name way back then. I have to laugh now at the extent to which Google has shown me that people think the blog may relate to bridge, the card game, played more for fun and meeting partners than anything else!

Apples in Mount Congreve Gardens, Co. Waterford
Apples in Mount Congreve Gardens, Co. Waterford

Well, I’d like to have another go at explaining what Social Bridges mean to me and I would give anything to hear about the social bridges ~ either personal or public ~ that spring to your mind.

For me, Social Bridges are people, places, ideas, events that connect people to each other or that connect aspects of  an individual’s own life.

From the very outset, the personified  and public ‘Social Bridge’ that stood out for me was Senator George Mitchell who played such a role in bringing about peace in Northern Ireland. That peace means the world to me and thousands and thousands of other people.

Senator George Mitchell Source: Wikipedia
Senator George Mitchell
Source: Wikipedia

I suppose it’s fair to say that I never stop thinking ‘social bridges’ in terms of my own life.  There are just so many that have huge significance ~ poetry, tennis, daffodils, The Bridges of Ross in Co. Clare, and tiles, yes, tiles!

I was just about to wash the tiles on our kitchen floor when I found myself thinking of the tiles I saw just last weekend in historic St. Carthage’s Cathedral in Lismore here in Co. Waterford.

St. Carthage's Cathedral, Lismore, Co. Waterford.
St. Carthage’s Cathedral, Lismore, Co. Waterford.

As I looked at the tiles in the Cathedral, I couldn’t but think of the visit I paid to my late father’s home in Kilrush, Co. Clare around this time last year.

I had long been hearing about the tiles in the house and as I sat there talking to the lovely woman who had bought the house from the family, I felt as if my feet were walking across a bridge of generations that spanned nine decades or far, far more.

The Bridges of Ross, Co. Clare.
The Bridges of Ross, Co. Clare.

Social Bridges are where people meet, be it in person, online or through the paths of time.

What, who are where are the Social Bridges that mean most to you?