Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Youghal - Ireland June 2017


Tourist Centre Youghal

View of Clock Tower


Views from clock tower
I was invited to Youghal 6 years ago by Walter Verling, after he had read my book.


Cromwell spent winter here to rest and recuperate, making the Old Priory his headquarters. Sadly as work was being done we were unable to go inside, however Walter arranged for us to visit a private garden in the grounds. The Priory was well known for its healing and a sanctuary for lepers. We were shown the many medicine bottles that were dug up in the garden, which shows its history. We prayed at the wall adjoining the Priory that Youghal will once again be a place of healing.

Shirley praying with Walter

This wall is the original Priory.

Medicine bottles found in the garden, proof this was a place of healing.


We also gathered at the Old Imperial Hotel with a lovely group of Catholics. Some had read my book, but many hadn't. They were all transfixed as I shared my story and read the letter of apology from our journey in 2002 of which each had received a copy. One gentleman was moved to tears and was sure that this was God healing his town.


Saturday began with an amazing interview on Community Radio Youghal (CRY) radio. Noel, the presenter was visible moved as he encouraged me to read the letter of apology over the airways. We later learned that many people had heard the interview, some of whom came to St Mary’s Church later in the day to hear more.

After this we travelled to Tallow, and a group of Carmelite nuns.

I shared our work over the years and read and presented the letter of apology from Huntingdon. They were moved.


It was a small gathering in the Lady Chapel at St Marys Church that afternoon and it was a joy for me to meet up again with our friend Luke, Walters son. Before I began my talk, a lady came towards me with a huge smile. She had read my book and wanted to meet me. She was only going to stay 10 minutes but stayed the whole time. Afterwards she asked if we would go and pray at her shop at the site where a Dominican Priest had been hanged (before Cromwell’s time), which we did later. As one gentleman left the church that afternoon he said “I could feel the Holy Spirit working here today”. What more can we ask.


We travelled miles across the area to pray at sites that had been affected during the time of Cromwell. One such place was Castlemartyr.

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 We also met historians in Killeagh who were very interested in our work and want to keep in touch.
Water Gate. Locally known as Cromwell Arch. 
When Cromwell left Ireland in 1650, he went through Water Gate, known locally as Cromwell Arch. When Phyllis from Northern Ireland joined us she felt God had given her a word for Youghal “It’s time for new beginnings”. Jesus said that “He came to give life, life in its fullness” and that is what we prayed. Someone once said to me “Cromwell left Ireland sick” so we prayed in the opposite way, life and healing.  Youghal is a place of healing.



The day we left a gentleman who had been deeply affected by my story said to Katie “There’s a chink of light over Youghal now".  Glory to God. What He has begun He will complete.

Monday, 29 May 2017




On 12th May, Annette and I travelled to Durham to an event to commemorate the Scottish soldiers buried there from the Battle of Dunbar. Skeletons found near the Cathedral had been identified as those boys and young men taken prisoner after the battle. The university gave us a tour of the laboratories showing us how they came to these findings. The aim of the day was also to respectfully commemorate all the lives of those imprisoned in the Cathedral in 1650. The plaque, shown on the left, is mounted on stone from the battle site in Dunbar and is situated in the library café above where the remains were found.


The day was far above our expectations and we felt honoured to be there. The respect and dignity that the university have given these men blew us away. They have gone to great lengths not to exploit the situation by carefully selecting interested parties. We were told that this was the biggest ever archaeological investigation of its kind. They have traced the lives of the men who survived and were shipped off to America. They visited their descendants, one of whom was present that day.

I wish I could put it into words what this meant to us. Tears came to our eyes several times as we listened to the speeches. The Vice Chancellor spoke of the men with such feeling, as though they were his brothers. Evensong in the Cathedral was also very moving as the prayers spoke of the men’s ordeal. We then gathered to rededicate the existing plaque in the Cathedral. The men will be reburied later in the year.

Listen to the speeches here ..........




Two days later I was speaking at a Churches Together event at Ely Cathedral. This was so appropriate as not only did Cromwell live here for a time, but some the Scottish soldiers who survived Durham were sent to dig the drains in the Fenlands surrounding the Cathedral. We hadn’t planned it this way but God had! The evening began in the Chancel where I spoke, and then we processed to the Lady Chapel where I presented the letter of apology that we took round Ireland in 2002 to an Irish Catholic Priest.



The feedback from this evening has been very encouraging. One gentleman emailed saying “I am usually very conscious of time, but on Sunday I wasn't even tempted to look at my watch”.
God is good!

In the days before Ely, the team along with one of our Advisers, Rev Sheila Anthony gathered to pray on Earith river bank.  Earith (one of Sheila's parishes) was one of the places that the Scottish prisoners were brought to and where they began their hard task of digging the fens.