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Ireland: A Wild & Unnecessary Beauty

Our first stop on our UK trip in October was Northern Ireland, where all of Luke's family immigrated from - his dad and grandmother's dialogues still very much reflective of the wee Irish phrases that were all around us every step of the way. We got to experience just a hint of their pre-Canada lives - very much immersed in the tiny lanes, constant flowing tea, dainty treats, and wild beauty of this part of the United Kingdom. Their Irish accents were a nice preview, and now a fond reminder of Luke's heritage. It was my first visit, and I picked up our little point and shoot 35 mm film camera when we were exploring Giant's Causeway on the northeast coast, in an attempt to hold on to the rugged beauty I saw in all directions. Here's my photo diary.

In an effort to battle insomnia by reading more fiction, I've recently been re-reading The Chronicles of Narnia, one of my favourite children's book series, and when C.S. Lewis uses the characters to describe Aslan, the Christlike figure in the stories, I find the same type of mixed emotions attaching to my feelings around the sea in this place - the tumultuous waves, powerful wind, the wild nature of it all. Aslan is described as stunningly beautiful and kind, yet very much fear-provoking, but not in a bad way, more of an inexpressible awe and trembling type of way. Walking about the coast pressed down deeply into my spirit the belief of a God, Creator, Sustainer of all the mysterious and mundane of all of life and the glorious fear-provoking unnecessary beauty that He's made. Because it's a reflection of Him of course - that's why these deep resounding emotions come from somewhere deep inside me. At one point I thought my eyes were tricking me, seeing something bobbing in the water, so near the crashing of the waves on rugged - seriously dangerous- rocks. But Luke saw it too, and it was a seal! Probably searching for a nice bite to eat, unconcerned, and well-equipped for its surroundings. Another testament to God's care and sustaining nature.

I just love how the film interpreted the light in this shot, the white sea foam, the curiously constructed rock structures and the horizon. There's a nice grain in the clouds too.

And yes! Those are dots of sheep on the hillside if you were wondering, and I don't mind the flash that went off at the last second, bringing in the fading fall foliage in the perimeter of this frame. The expanse, the blue of the water, the ruggedness of the mountains, and the greenest grass you've ever seen - have you been to this place? It will fill up your soul.

The way this hotel was situated drew me in and I had to snap a photo of it - I like to imagine those guests that stay overnight there wake up to a wee Irish fry and look out their windows in awe of the beauty surrounding them. And perhaps they take a walk after breakfast and find the strong wind pressed up against their cheeks, tossing up their coats, and sweeping about their hair. I hope they are drawn in to something bigger than themselves, bigger than this place, written into the depths of their hearts.

We laughed at this snap when we first saw it - at Luke's "ballerina" move haha but I think he's just a clever human tripod - and I love the film shots he took on our Contax 645 camera, as he's seen shooting here. We are trying to put ourselves in more photos, to capture ourselves in places, for the memories and all the feels.

Not too much time passes between scenes of sheep when you're exploring Ireland - they are dotted along the landscape all about this country, and I found it incredibly charming. We visited the old Cleland farm, where Luke's uncle lives and works as a sheep farmer - spending time at his farm felt like going home for me, and the thought of being there during lambing season was an exciting thought - I couldn't get enough of it all.

Here's that same hotel again, the sun was setting, and our hearts were calm and full.

This broader, darker horizon photo is the perfect way to end. And that's all the snaps I took of Northern Ireland, a place of unnecessary and wild beauty - evidence of a God that has made things for Himself and for His glory, and to catch a glimpse of it was such a joy, my point and shoot just capturing a tiny bit of the light and the magnificence of it all. Thanks be to God.

Til next time! Allie


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