Aug 31, 2015

Amazing Grace in Inishowen

Writers find their inspiration in many ways. For me, it's mostly been Ireland. We have a rich heritage and a stunning landscape which has provided me with an endless supply of ideas over the years.

One of the few remaining places I've always wanted to visit, but have never had the opportunity, is Innishowen in Donegal. So, imagine my delight when my son picked it as one of the places his wanted to explore this summer. From the area's connection to the Tuatha Dé Danann from Shades of Atlantis and providing me with the name of a character in Something Wicked, Innishowen translates to The Island of Eoghan, I couldn't wait to get exploring. 

Innishowen is a peninsula in Donegal on the northern coast of Ireland, tucked between Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly.

I am not the only writer to find inspiration there. Even if you've never heard of Innishowen, you've no doubt heard of the hymn, Amazing Grace.

Many Years ago, a man named John Newton, a former slave trader and rogue, was traveling aboard a ship to England. The ship got caught up in a violent storm. The ship, already in disrepair upon setting sail, was in no condition to weather the storm. Crew used everything and anything on hand to try and keep the ship together despite a gaping hole in the side. With little hope of rescue because they'd been blown off course, Newton, a man who had already brushed death on several occasions was sure he was about to die and prayed to God for mercy.

Although he was convinced God's mercy was beyond reach for a man such as him, it arrived in strong winds that pushed the ship onward. Eventually they came within the sights of Tory Island off the north coast of Ireland. The ship limped as far a Lough Swilly and Newton was saved.

Later he reflected on the almost shipwreak as being a metaphor for how his life and how he had been lost as sea long before boarding that ship. He wrote the first verse of the famous song while awaiting repairs of the ship.

Amazing grace (how sweet the sound)
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Coming up -- Grianan of Aileach

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