The Wilsons in Donegal

Our summer was a blur. We travelled a lot.

We able to connect with many friends and family members in the States, but restful was not a word we’d use to describe a summer with as much travel as our’s had. So, as school began Liz and I were discussing a time when we could get away…at least for a long weekend.

The kids heard our plans and decided that they’d like to join us. It’d be the first trip for all 6 of us since Christmas two years ago. The first thing we had to do was figure out where. We ended up in Donegal mainly because:

  • we’d never been there and wanted to see it,
  • we found a cool looking Airbnb on the coast.

Friday morning 5 of us piled in a car and headed north. Brenna has just started school and took a bus to Letterkenny after her classes.

The first stop was a last minute diversion in Co. Tyrone. Liz wanted to see if she could find her grandmother’s family farm and we ended up having tea at her dad’s cousin’s home. While the stop was not as brief as predicted, it was a good start to the trip.

Once back on the road we headed to the Beltany Stone Circle.

It was an overcast day, but you could see for miles from the top of the hill.

There was also a very cool looking forest near the circle.  Hannah, Erin, and I did a little exploring while we waited to Liz and Méabh to join us.



After the Stone Circle, we drove to our Airbnb near Falcarragh. The roads from Letterkenny to Falcarragh were narrow, to say the least. But they did go through the Glenveagh National Park, so the scenery was amazing. (but since I was driving, I don’t have any photos.)

We got to the house, unpacked and turned right around and went back to Letterkenny to eat, get food for Saturday and pick up Brenna.

Photos from Falcarragh:

We didn’t do a lot of sightseeing while we were there…other than what we could see in the car. Since we were near the Glenveagh National Park we did make a couple visits there.

Glenveagh National Park and Castle

First off, the castle was impressive and the gardens and park were beautiful. But, like so much of Ireland’s history, the story of the castle involves overt cruelty from those in power to those on the margins. (You can read about Capt. Adair and his inhumanity here.) 

Yes, that is a heated swimming pool. Although it does take 12 hours to warm up.

On the bus back from the castle to the visitor’s centre, I recorded a brief video in slow motion.

Glenveagh National Park from bob wilson on Vimeo.


Sunday was the drive home. This we did stop a few times to admire the scenery.

So that was our weekend in Donegal. While our focus was more on resting than sightseeing, we did decide we need to plan a vacation there some point and see more of Donegal!

Posted by bob in ireland

Re-seeing Dublin

One of things I love getting to do is show off Dublin to people who come to visit. Whether it is ministry partners from the States, or colleagues in Communitas, having a day or two to walk people around the city and share what we are dreaming is one of my favorite things!

Over the past couple of days Marcus Fritsch, who is part of Communitas’ global leadership team was in town…and we did a lot of walking around.

Each time I give one of these ‘tours’ I get a chance to re-see some things about where I live, and I always notice a few things I haven’t noticed before. I wanted to share a couple things I saw again while walking about with Marcus.

This is a cemetery about a 5 minute walk from our home. While there are many gravestones that look quite old, some are very new. It is such a peaceful place.

If you watched Saturday Night Live this past weekend, one of the skits opened with a quick shot of the Dublin Convention Centre for no apparent reason.

With the recent headlines about Tuam and Magdalene, it was freshly heart-breaking to re-see the famine memorial and remember another awful crime visited upon Ireland and its people.

If you are wondering about the guy on the ground…that is Marcus looking for a good shot.

I’m assuming the decorating job at Abbey Court has to be new, because I can’t believe I never noticed that before.

One of the things that jumped out at me about Communitas when I first went to their web page was that they have a picture of the Ha’Penny bridge on their front page. I figured, they must have a lot going on in Dublin. I have no idea what the two guys on the side are doing.

This will always be one of my favorite views of Dublin. Looking out at Dublin Port and the Dublin Mountains from Clontarf.


Posted by bob in Dublin, 0 comments
Our Week in Madrid

Our Week in Madrid



Last week Elizabeth and I were in Madrid for a five day assessment with Christian Associates. We’ll be sharing more about this process in our newsletter. It was a good time made possible because our 20-year-old daughter took time off from work to take care of her 3-year-old sister. After five days with Méabh, I think Hannah was glad to get back to work. Thanks Hannah!

Wanted to share a few of my favourite pictures from the trip.

The Approach to the Madrid Airport.
Not quite as green as Ireland. But 80 degrees Fahrenheit in late October was quite nice.

The Apple Store
The first thing we saw when we exited the Metro at Plaza de Sol was the Apple Store. Since there isn’t one in the Republic, it’s always nice to see one.

Two quick stories about the Apple Store in Madrid. I was having trouble with my iPhone not connecting to the internet. My mobile company (Meteor) bumped me up to their higher level tech people on Thursday, and I still haven’t heard back. So I figured I’d try the Apple Store. While I was getting something out of my pocket to show the person helping me, a paper fell out of my pocket. Liz and I both bent down to pick it up. That really hurt.

In the end he couldn’t solve my problem either. But I was looking over his shoulder while he was doing research and figured it out. Apple really should hire me.

Plaza del Sol
While in Madrid, the meetings we attended were at the Oasis Church. This is the view from their balcony. For perspective the Apple Store is on the right hand side of the photo, and the Metro we came from is the rounded glass structure right in front of it.

Just off the Plaza del Sol was this building which I never took the time to figure out what it was…but the chariots on top were impressive.


Sin Gluten – Sin Leche

One of the challenges in eating out is the fact that Liz needs to eat gluten free and dairy free. Traveling in a place where they don’t always speak the language adds to the challenge. Thankfully there were quite a few very good gluten free places in the area of Madrid we were in.

The Prado Museum
We had a bit of free time on the weekend, but only visited a couple of tourist-y places. And although Liz and I came into the marriage with very different interests, visiting museums has always been high on both of our lists.

 Plaza de Cibeles
We passed the Plaza de Cibeles on our way to the Prado…One thing about taking photos in Madrid rather than Dublin is that there is this very bright light in the sky there that is almost blinding at times.

Plaza Mayor
One of the entrances to the Plaza.


A view inside. We didn’t spend too much time here because, well…while I enjoy street entertainers, there a number of performers here who seemed to think annoying people was the way to go. Now, their Spiderman was interesting…

There were a couple protests while we were there…I’m not sure what they were protesting as I don’t speak Spanish…but it was impressive to watch one group take over a main street and refuse to let a car get through.
Second protest sounded angrier…but they were weren’t blocking traffic was nice.

The Palace

Last but not least…

Dublin has some very interesting living statues down on Grafton Street, but the variety in Madrid was impressive…these are three of my favourites.
Statue2 statue3
Chess-guy, or whatever his name was was my favourite…when people gave money, they also received a ‘thank you wink.’

So, those were some of our highlights from a great week in Spain.


Posted by bob in personal, 0 comments
New Year’s Day Flooding

New Year’s Day Flooding

This morning I was getting ready to make breakfast for everyone, but needed to go out & buy some eggs (since last night’s egg nog used the last of them.)

While driving along the coast, I noticed that the water looked higher than normal. I drove down a bit further and saw that we had a bit of flooding over night. Thought I’d share a couple pictures of the damage.

This gives you an idea of how high the water was:



This one shows how high it had risen before beginning to recede (there was an amazing number of soccer/footballs in the debris.)



Further down the Promenade:IMG_7379 IMG_7378 IMG_7409

Measures were being taken to deal with the flood:

Sandbags were put out…


People were barricading their driveways… IMG_7402

And the Coast Guard was out too…IMG_7403

A few other photos are up over here if you’d care to see them…

While we did have a very wet New Years, it was almost 50 degrees Farenheit!

Hope your new year is off to an interesting start as well!


Posted by bob in Dublin, 0 comments