The Word on the Week

Cruising into Dublin

It has become a common sight to see ocean cruise ships packing the harbour in Dublin Port. We have become a destination of choice for those cruises sailing in more temperate climes whose passengers might just prefer the soft weather here to the baking sun over there!

Whatever brings them here the sight of ships 7 decks high have given way to a monster of 9 decks and 330m in length. These ladies have to be towed in backwards as they cannot, at present, turn around. However a pier is being removed as part of a major docklands redevelopment which will enable even the largest Cruise liner built (its 360m) to turn and sail under the eye of the ports four tugboats.

In order to cater for future expansion of maritime traffic the harbour area and channel are being deepened from 7.5m to 10.5m. Dublin port is fortunate in that the flow of water in the Liffey is sufficiently strong to scour the bed and prevent it from silting so to a large extent it maintains itself.

Some consideration has been given to the sea birds which nest in the area.

At present there are colonies of two types of tern. The renovations include a floating bird island to provide nesting space for them!

Of course ‘Cruising’ means something else to those interested in matters equestrian. It was a famous stallion, bred on the farm next door, who, for 5 years dominated the horse jumping scene in the latter years of last century.

He died last September at the age of 29 but has left many progeny around the world.

He is in the news again as his DNA has been successfully cloned, the first in Ireland, producing Cruising Encore and Cruising Arish. The latter has sired a foal which resembles Cruising’s attitude so much that it has been named Cruisitude!

It may be only a matter of time before they clone humans! One thing however that can never be cloned is the new birth. Each person born from above is unique – born of the Holy Spirit (St John Chapter 3 verses 3-9). Jesus answered the religious leader, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

(Probably Jesus was reminding him of Ezekiel 36 verse 25-27 – I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from fall your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.)

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”