Locked up Abroad

Okay, so this was not so much a ‘God-moment” as it was a “coming to God” moment! A friend of mine and I had just finished our tours at the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery in Dublin, Ireland (More on that later!). My friend indulged a bit more at the distillery (HA!), so it was my turn to drive. We headed to Belfast, but after a while started to feel a little lost as the GPS wasn’t working correctly. Sweet! What better way to stumble upon an adventure than to get lost in a country roughly 4,000 miles away from home?! Eventually, we were passing by an enormous stone wall. We didn’t think anything of it at first, but curiosity kicked in as we kept driving and couldn’t see what was on the other side. Finally, we found an entrance and parked across the street. Turns out, it was the extremely old and expansive Glasnevin Cemetery. Not only did I have some fantastic photo ops as the sun was going down, but I also got to learn a little bit about the Patriots of the Republic and Irish history. My friend found her last name on numerous tombstones, and it created a fun game of figuring out who her great- great- great- great ancestors were. A few were patriots of the republic, blacksmiths, priests, and politicians.

After exploring for a while, the cemetery started to look eerie and grey. There had been quite a few people there before, but it seemed as though they had all suddenly disappeared. It was at this moment we realized not only how late it was, but also how far from the gate we had wandered. We head back as the sun made it’s final descent and stars began to illuminate the sky. Brief digression here, but am I the only person who likes to stare up at the stars and ponder how minuscule I am in comparison to all of creation?? It’s a humbling experience for me, and also a wonderful reminder that God included ME specifically as a part of his creation. And he did the same for YOU. How special is that?! While you sit with that amazing thought, I’m going to continue on at the cemetery. My friend and I finally arrive back at the entranceway and, to our surprise, the gate is shut and locked! Um excuse me but nobody told us this place closed up, and there was no signage anywhere. The gate’s height makes it quite impossible to climb, but we don’t panic just yet. Surely, there must be another gate, or a groundskeeper on site who can open the main one. We walk along the stone wall and find another gate, but this one is locked as well. Now happens my “coming to God moment.” I start to feel like we might actually get stuck in this cemetery for much longer than we intended. Surrounded by darkness, crickets, and the shadows of tombstones. I say a quick prayer that God would subside the panic that was building, and guide us to finding an exit; sooner rather than later, preferably. We then see the figure of a man walking toward us. Now, picture being a young female, trapped in a cemetery after dark with your friend, and seeing a shadowy, strange man walking in your direction. I feel uneasy at first, but we had no choice but to ask him if he can help us. Unfortunately for us, he is not an employee or a groundskeeper, but rather, he is in the same predicament! The 3 of us huddle up and make a quick game plan. My friend and I head back to the entrance gate to see if we can find a groundskeeper or anyone in the cemetery museum, while the man continues following the stone wall looking for other exits, or even a place we can potentially climb out. After a few minutes of knocking on doors and looking around, the man appears on the other side of the entrance gate! He says if we follow the stone wall for a while, eventually there is a smaller “wall” that can be jumped. Thank goodness! So we walk for a few minutes and find the spot. The problem is, it’s actually an iron fence with spikes at the top. Now, I could probably climb and jump this thing without injury, but my friend is not so athletically inclined, and she doesn’t feel like potentially getting skewered at this moment. Since I’m obviously not going to leave her, we keep walking. Sheesh this place is huge! After what seems like forever, we see a woman coming down the sidewalk and implore her for help. Thank the heavens, she’s one of the locals and knows there is an unlocked gate just around the corner if we keep walking. We begin walking more hastily, and minutes later, FINALLY find an open gate! Praise the Lord! We walk back to our car under the gloomy yellow side lights, and head toward our next adventure. After this night, you’ll never catch me in a cemetery after dark ever again!

So if you find yourself lost in exploration at Glasnevin Cemetery in Ireland past sundown, you’ve got two options: take the easy way out by finding the small open gate, or take the more adventurous route and climb out over the precarious, spear-headed fence. If I had a do-over, I’d take the fence, because I’m a weirdo adventure seeker/risk taker who loves a good challenge!

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