Clan Cottages in Scotland – Queen of Ordinary – November 18, 2014

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Clan Cottages – Scotland

Sometimes things happen in such an amazing way, it is unprecedented.  I loved the movie Brave Heart when I saw it, but I really never wanted to see it again because it broke my heart.  After visiting the William Wallace Monument in Edinburgh and climbing all the way up the 250+ stairs, seeing the real sword that belonged to William Wallace, and over looking the city from the tower built to honor him, I reconsidered.   I would definitely watch the movie again because it had become personal.  I had been there in the Scottish Highlands, seen the people and lands that he loved and was willing to die for.

We were scheduled to stay in the Clan Cottages after having been to the William Wallace Monument on our first day in Scotland and after driving through the Scottish Highlands.  I had always wanted to stay in a stone cottage with a thatched roof.  Imagine my surprise when we pulled in to our new lodging for three days and it was exactly that!  They were recently built, but in keeping with the landscape and the traditions.

What did we do that first night?  Our tour guide had bought the movie Brave Heart and had it ready for us to watch, on a foggy evening at the foot of a rocky mountain, beside stream that lead to a Loch.  It was mind boggling to be there, having heard the history or William Wallace, seen his actual huge broad sword, and the monument the people erected in his honor.  It was almost as if we could step out the door and into that other place in another time.

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The stay in the clan cottage was a joyous one.  Beyond the Brave Heart experience, it was in a beautiful setting with sheep in the pastures, swans on the lake and sunsets on the loch that would steal your breath away.

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Our stay at the Clan Cottage was one of my favorite parts of Scotland.  From the photos, I hope the reasons are obvious.  It was a place where I could walk at the end of the day or early in the morning before our day’s tour began and talk to God.  I had many questions about why Scotland had been in my heart and prayers for so many years, and why I was there at that particular time.  Scotland had just voted to remain part of the UK – such a parallel event in keeping with William Wallace’s struggle to free Scotland.

Many times among our destinations and activities I felt like the whole thing was a dream.  God’s blessings in my life to bring the trip about were too many to number.  I was sure I was there for a purpose more than to be a tourist and take photographs.  I’m still asking God those questions about having been there, and every day probably for the rest of my life I’ll still be giving thanks for the journey.

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“The Quiet Man” – Queen of Ordinary – November 10,, 2014

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One of the best surprised on my recent trip to Ireland was on the day we went to fly falcons at the school of falconry.  We had parked the car and were walking toward the facility where we would work with the falcons when we realized we were standing in the very place where part of The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara had been filmed.  What a joy!

The Quiet Man has long been one of my favorite movie classics.  I loved the images of Ireland, their customs, lands, and homes portrayed in the movie.  I don’t know if the little lady inside heard my squealing with delight, but she came out of the Danagher’s home and started talking to us.  She is the daughter of the man who owned the cottage when the movie was filmed way back in its day.  John Wayne and her father had become friends.  Maureen O’Hara had been a lovely young woman who was kind to everyone and had returned in recent years to visit this woman’s mother before she passed.DSCN5329 DSCN5318

Every detail was a delight.  She and her family along with community members had been extras in the movie.  Then she took us inside her house!  There was the table where Squire Danagher knocked the dowry money to the floor!  There was the China that Maureen O’Hara had served her brother and works from in the film.  All around the room I saw things I recognized from the movie.  The suitcase John Wayne had carried at the beginning of the movie was sitting on an honored shelf.

She was the sixth consecutive generation to live in the house!  When a door unexplainably opened and closed by itself, as if someone had come into the room with us, she looked, but never missed a beat in her story telling, and never made reference with what had just happened.  Maybe some other family members had dropped in on the fun.

It was all such a blur and we were in a rush to get to our appointment at the School of Falconry that we cut short what I would have loved to lingered with.  BUT I surely didn’t want to miss the lesson in falconry.

My brother had said if he was going with me, the only place he really knew he wanted to see in Ireland was the place where The Quiet Man was filmed.  I had no idea we would be there.  In the village, the bar where the big fight scene took place was still standing.  A statue of John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara was on the square.  A shop was named for the movie.

Our tour guide had not arranged this lovely encounter.  Truly, it was a gift from God – a point of joy for us and for the Danagher daughter.  Sometimes we plead with God for things we think we want and sometimes he just surprises us with a gift because He knows the desires of our hearts.DSCN5289 IMG_5939