SOS Journey Through the Midlands of Ireland Part 2

SOS Journey Passes Through Longford and Surrounding Villages

Our first stop in Longford town was at John Kelly's business, John Kelly is a Councillor in charge of local affairs . He said he would second the motion passed by the previous chairperson. Again we distributed leaflets and put a book in the library. When we told the local paper about our SOS-Journey they immediately got a journalist to greet us. We introduced Falun Gong to him and gave him our press pack, which had further information. He told us that he would try to get the photographer to take our picture. He would call us back later as soon as this was arranged.

Following this we headed toward Edgeworthstown. It was situated a long distance away. After half an hour it started to rain lightly and then it started to rain very heavily. We persisted in walking and after walking for another half an hour a kind gentleman stopped to give us a lift. When we mentioned Falun Gong he told us that he had received a leaflet before in the UK. He dropped us to the next town and wished us the best of luck. This town was very small. We started putting leaflets in the shops, one shopkeeper told us instead of putting the leaflets on display in the shop he would put them in the newspapers that way they would be delivered to all the local homes in the area. He told us where we could find the local councillors, we delivered a package and headed to the next town.

Granard was supposed to be situated 12 kilometers north of Edgeworthstown. Although this distance is not very long it seemed much longer under the weight of our bags. We were carrying over three thousand leaflets between us and some press packs and personal things. Our walk was through the Irish countryside with a house every 500 meters, winding roads and bounding hills. It took us two and a half hours to reach the next place. At times it would appear that there was a town ahead but as we continued to walk, the lights of the town would change into some houses. After a while we began doubting whether we were travelling in the correct direction as it seemed we had travelled for over 20k when the town was supposed to be much nearer. It was already late so we decided to stop at a house and ask this person if we were near a town called Granard. It turned out that the town was only beyond the next hill, we introduced Falun Gong to this lady and gave her a leaflet.

Eventually we reached Granard, we placed leaflets in a local garage and then found a B&B (Bed and Breakfast). We waited in the pub of the B&B while the host checked whether there were any spare rooms. We took off our bags and sat down. The practitioner who travelled with me was tireless when spreading Falun Gong, he immediately got back up and clarified the truth to everyone in the bar. I had practised forbearance when enduring hardships but this veteran practitioner practised Truth, Benevolence and Forbearance as he clarified the truth of the persecution although already very tired.

SOS -travellers meet local people of great kindness

During the third day of our walk, the kindness in people's hearts shone ever more brightly; it radiated as people helped us on our way. There was a lot of places to travel today and as there was a lot of places to visit - between this town and the next we took a local country bus. At first it was only ourselves and the bus driver on the bus so I went up to him to tell him about Falun Dafa. When we told him that we were trying to help people from being tortured in China because they practise Falun Gong he told us that he wanted to help. His name was Jimmy and all the local people knew him. He said that we would pass a couple of small towns on our way and that he would stop and would let us put leaflets in local shops and hand out some leaflets before we set off on the path again. After people on the bus saw us doing this they all wanted to know about Falun Dafa. Jimmy asked for a few leaflets and started to hand them out to people getting on the bus; he was an extremely kind hearted person. When we reached our destination he told us where the local library and county council was situated.

First we placed a book in the library and then headed toward the county council offices. We got lost on the way and had to ask a local man for directions, as it happened this man would help us clarify the truth again later in the day. We got some information about local councillors and we tried to meet them. We went to the local newspaper called the Anglocelt, again we were greeted with a reporter immediately, and it was the same man who had helped us earlier. We talked to him for some time about Falun Gong and he said he would try and run something in the next issue. Before we headed to the bus for the next town by chance I passed the office of a national government minister. He wasn't in his office at the time but his secretary did her best to track him down for me. As it happens he was in a debate in Dublin were questions were raised about Falun Gong. When he eventually came on the phone he told me that he supported what we were doing and would send me a report about the debate as soon as he got it. I left the press pack about Falun Gong and the persecution for him and then caught the bus. After having some activities in a small town called Clones we walked to a big town called Monaghan and found a B&B as it was already dark.

The People of Monaghan Town Welcome the SOS Travellers

On the fourth day of our journey we started to tell the truth about Falun Gong in Monaghan. When we arrived in the town we met a local man called Francis Meehan. We handed a leaflet to him. When he saw Zhao Ming's picture on it, he said "I saw this man in Dublin, I must write to them [the Chinese and Irish authorities] now". We told him what we were doing and he was very keen to help. At the time he was on his way to work but went out of his way to show us where the local newspaper was situated. He was a very popular man and all the local people greeted him. We would have found it difficult to find the newspaper by ourselves as it was hidden down a little side street. When Francis found no one was there he phoned a reporter and booked us an appointment for later that day. He then took some pictures for us and got a local person to take a picture of the three of us. He told us the local information we needed to know and said he would watch to look for our article.

We donated a book to the local library and then visited the local radio station. The DJ said that he had no time on his show today but invited us back in a week to do an interview live on air. We had some time before we would catch the bus to the next town so we decided to practise in front of the local courthouse. We put out a banner and the two of us practised the standing exercises. After a few minutes a man asked me why we where meditating in public. I told him about Falun Dafa and the persecution in China. When I looked around there were quite a few people watching us, workers stopped working, shop assistants came out of their shops and local school children all looked on curiously. As I talked to one individual more would come and listen.

Four days walking we had only practised in public three times. Each time people came up and asked us about Falun Dafa. In Monaghan there are a lot of good peopleand they wanted to know how they could help as soon as they heard the truth. I asked them to contact the local government minister who supported our efforts to end the persecution of innocent people in China. A local schoolgirl said that she would ask her school if we could do a presentation there.

We were told that the chairman of the local council lived in a small neighbouring town called Carrickmacross. We decided to go and visit him (it was not on our previous decided route). The town was medium sized and we put the leaflets in the shops and restaurants. We discovered the chairman was a farmer who lived just outside the town, so we started our walk out to meet him. When we got there we discovered he was not home, we wrote him a letter and continued on our journey. When we checked our money we discovered we only had about enough for the bus home and we had also run out of leaflets. We decided to end our journey and head home.

In a world that seems to have lost most of its virtue it was refreshing to meet people who had virtue in abundance.

Afterword: Back to Monaghan

As appointed with the Northern Sound, a local radio station of Monaghan, we went back to Monaghan for an interview live on air on Friday the 1st of December. Three practitioners went there, we also took the opportunity to spread Falun Gong to the local people. The radio gave us a 20-minute on-air slot, which gave us the chance to clarify the truth and introduce the Fa (principles of Falun Gong) to the listeners. The reporter cut one of the advertisement breaks (5 minute) to give us more time to speak about the persecution in China.

After the show we practised and distributed leaflets to the local people outside the Courthouse. A lot of people were curious about Falun Dafa and many people took leaflets. We also placed leaflets in the local shops and restaurants as the leaflets we had placed there a week before were all gone. It was a good day and many people learned the truth about Falun Dafa.

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