Posted by: Elder and Sister Hambelton | September 15, 2012

Our First Trip to the Emerald Isle

Our mentor and ERS supervisor retired August 1st. In our last meeting he asked us to “take on Ireland,” so in September we made our first trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland. In many parts of the Scotland/Ireland mission there are very small branches and wards with long distances between units. It is not practical for each of the units to have employment specialists available to help members with employment needs. So we suggested to the mission president and the ERS that we train Senior Missionary Couples in these areas with first level information and resources to help members with employment needs. They agreed and so we headed to Ireland to meet with Stake Employment Specialists in Belfast and Dublin and to train Senior Missionary Couples through out the two countries.

In four days we trained 7 senior missionary couples at meetings in Belfast, Dublin and Limerick, trained and supported Stake Employment Specialists in Dublin and Belfast, addressed a General Priesthood meeting (Sister Hambelton’s first), and presented a mini-seminar to Young Single Adults in Belfast. We travelled the length of the island. Our hosts in Belfast, Elder and Sister Blickenstaff helped us with directions and tips for traveling in Ireland and gave us a brief tour of Belfast and recounted the history of the building of the Titanic, and the “Troubles,” the decades of violence and protests in Belfast that divided neighborhoods and turned the city into an armed camp of paramilitary groups, civil rights protestors, police and the British Army. Life has returned to normal now, but feelings and sectarian divisions still run deep and color politics and life in Northern Ireland, and arrests are still made weekly in the more radical neighborhoods.

Before returning to Scotland, we drove up to the Giants Causeway (a natural wonder of 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns) and down the beautiful Northern Ireland coast, and then visited the Ulster Folk Museum, a turn of the century village composed of actual buildings built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s removed to this museum site with artifacts and furnishings of the period. They also had docents in period costumes to explain the life and times of city and rural life in Ireland in 1910. We then caught the ferry for Scotland and Edinburgh.

Here are a few pictures from our trip, more extensive galleries of the sights in Northern Ireland can be found in the links in the left column.



  1. Great idea to train the missionary couples! Can they train their replacements?? Gorgeous Ireland! Sigh . ..

  2. Wow, this brings back so many memories! I’ve seen some of those sites and served in some of those areas. All the best!

  3. They are keeping you very busy! Lucky missionaries to be trained by you. I see you worked with the Brosnahans. We leave tomorrow for our bike trip in Italy. I am not ready! I thought I would have a letter to you by now but, no. I think of you often. Love your posts and photos. Such a beautiful area of the world.

  4. Sounds like your mission continues to go well. We wish you continued success. Mary Ann and I have just completed our Welfare Services Mission and will miss it very much. Take care and stay dry.


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