Happy 4th July evening!

Celebrating the 4th of July at the opening of The Pub with no Beer / photo credit Marie Allen

It is the 4th of July, Happy Independence Day. The fourth of July, like US culture, is embedded in the minds of most of us in the UK and Eire. This year it takes on an added significance as since becoming involved with Medium, at the start of 2017, it has largely been Americans encouraging me and reading my stuff.

Indeed this post will be published in Iowa at around 6 in the afternoon while it will be midnight here in the UK. It was Erika Sauter that had the belief in me to write for Hope and Dreams and she knows how thankful I am.

I was searching for a story that I could tell about ‘The Fourth of July’ and as I did I remembered the photo displayed.

In 1992 I left Galway, Eire and returned to Northern Ireland to live in Banbridge. I had spent 2 years in Galway studying Theology though by the time I had finished any ideas that I had of being a pastor had gone.

A friend knew I was unclear what to do next and invited me to be part of a new church community in Banbridge. I didn’t have any other offers so it was to Banbridge I would go.

It was as I was travelling to Banbridge, having spent the summer acting as a tour guide for US athletes in England, that I began to think about what was I going to do when I got there.

From around the age of 17, I had been living my life according to a vision that I would be given. What I mean by this is I would pray to be shown what I should do and then wait until I knew. When I say ‘vision’ it could be pictorial but it could also be an inspirational idea.

Christ Unites Ireland has been given in a dream, an impromptu trip to Carlow had come as an inspirational idea and moving to Galway came as an opportunity. It was now September 1992 and I needed a new impetus or vision for what to do next.

It was while I travelled on the boat and then coach that the idea of ‘A pub with no beer’ came into my vision.

Great was my surprise when I arrived at Banbridge shared my impression and was informed that the building in which the Church met had been originally designed for ‘A pub with no beer’.

I set to task and managed to secure a place at the University of Ulster Business school to progress my idea. Many obstacles were faced some hard decisions were made which meant, in the end, it was not a business but a charity venture.

There was one point when I became frustrated and gave up on the idea when the very next day a person appeared on my doorstep and gave me a sum of money to make it happen.

It was on the 4th July 1993 that we opened and in tune with the date it was an American Independence Day theme.

Now the not so good bit, it lasted 6 months. Yes, I felt failure though equally, I felt that I had gone with the vision and had pulled it off if only for 6 months. Better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all.

So to all you Americans, as the day is ending here, may you have a good 4th July evening there.

See you tomorrow


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