At Glendalough, Ireland

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Had a great time at Glendalough, the Celtic monastic site made famous by St Kevin. Its an amazing place and I really enjoyed a prayerful, nostalgic walk about the monastery grounds. Really peaceful and full of history. You can imagine what it felt like to arrive at the monastic city after a long pilgrimage or being a fugitive on the run and finding refuge here.

Image 00078We worked on drawing a Celtic knot just as the Scribes did. I know it sounds terribly arrogant for a Kiwi to be teaching celtic knotwork in Ireland but actually much of the knotwork was from my ancestors, the Picts. We looked into the symbolism of the Celtic knot and what it said about Trinity, movement, borders, etc and then explored some thoughts on pilgrimage. Brad and the Journey blog have some images and thoughts.

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After that we opened up Luke 10 to see Jesus idea of pilgrimage/ministry for his mission team and how that compared or contrasted with ours. Sometimes it was a grinding contrast which is not always fun or ear tickling as much as motivational pep talks or intellectual oratories but very necessary as we align what we are doing with the mission of God.

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Its a whole new Ireland – Dublin is dynamic, increasingly wealthy and no longer poor and oppressed. Their spirituality, which has been born and nurtured on the margins, will now have to look at justice and generosity from the other side. Transformation will be connected to economics as well as morality. This will be a challenge but there are some good people in Ireland and God is not finished with it yet.

Thanks to the Nyquist family for hosting me and letting me loose on your BBQ, for Cormac’s friendship and gift of Celtic music (thanks for the CD’s) and the Kingsley clan for being cool. Nice to meet Frank also, and everyone else. Even the Americans! And everyone else that turned up and helped this whole learning process.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • On the subject of St Kevin, I think you might enjoy this poem by Seamus Heaney:
    One of my favourites. In the link above it is read by the author.

  • SeekingTruthInLove says:

    I have a question, and I have done some research on this but I am not sure as to the answer, so I am asking out here. What is the history behind the celtic ropes. I have heard that they were pre-Christian (BC era) and we connected with the occult and then I have read that they were of Christian origin. As being one who is in Ireland, what is the general concensus there. What does history tell you there? I am very curious. I like the ropes and have a few in boxes but I dont want to put up anything that is occultic. Help?!

  • andrew says:

    good question.
    much of the knotwork is from the Picts in NE Scotland who drew them before hearing the gospel.
    were they pagans? yes they were. but the interesting thing is that they had a fear of God and it was taboo to draw any images of creation – no leaves or animals. this is why they became masters of the simple mathematical grids.
    interestingly, the celtic christians not only adapted their knotwork but added animals and images from nature to the panels, having developed a wholistic view of creation.
    George Bain’s book on Celtic art is a classic and Aidan Meenan (?) has books on how to draw in the same manner as the celtic scribes.

  • Andrew, it was great to see you again, thanks for coming. I really appreciated your thoughts, especially on pilgrimage and Luke 10. Anyway, hope we can continue the dialogue.

  • Mark Berry says:

    One of my favourite (spiritual) places… heres a photo I took
    (and added too) it was my desktop image for a couple of years… in fact it still is on the PC… not that that gets looked at much these days!

  • Glendalough says:

    Hi I have a great site on Glendalough and I was wondering if you replace the wikipedia link with mine as I have loads more info and hundreds of photos. Thanks

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