Sacred chanting on the Emerald Isle will mark 30 years of blissful service.
The title read, “Now Irish Eyes are Smiling”, an article in the Back to Godhead magazine by Mathuresa Dasa covered the installation ceremony of Sri Sri Radha Govinda, the presiding deities at ISKCON Northern Ireland’s Govindadvipa temple. The year was 1986, Ireland was still in the midst of a guerrilla warfare conflict, and it was a cover feature and multiple page spread in the publication that was the mainstay of ISKCON media coverage in the pre-internet and social media era. The installation of the most beautiful Deity form of Radha and Krishna came just under two years after the Hare Krishna island, locally known as Inis Rath (island fort), was purchased by the devotees.
The temple building, an old manor house, once witnessed top business families, associates of Lords and Ladies and even the famous Winston Churchill, all of whom used the scenic area of Upper Lough Erne in the border Lakelands of Ireland for hunting. Now it was claimed as a religious settlement and home for Krishna and His devotees, continuing the other tradition of the region, monastic settlements and religious prayer albeit previously in the Christian tradition.
In weeks of rain, mass activity and imported help, a crew of devotees excitedly worked to prepare for the big event the installation of Their Lordships presided over by Satsvarupa dasa Goswami. Late night construction, sewing and cooking all climaxed in a splendidly sunny day when Sri Sri Radha Govinda were greeted by hundreds of people eager to see this ancient Vedic ritual for calling God into His murti form. Multiple fire sacrifices were held simultaneously, dignitaries spoke, the local community came for the first ‘open day’ on the island. Entertainment continued in a major festival atmosphere, which was covered by the television, national and local media. A helicopter repeatedly brought people high overhead to witness the spectacle. The first arati/worship ceremony took place and everyone thronged to see the beautiful forms that have now graced Govindadvipa for 30 years!
Fast forward to 2016 and ISKCON worldwide are celebrating 50 years of serving founder acarya’s vision for an international and worldwide society that preached love of God, Krishna, on a mass scale. Ireland is also celebrating the 30th anniversary of the installation of the most beautiful forms of The Lord, Sri Sri Radha Govinda. Like many other centres, changes in management, fluctuations in resident numbers and financial demands have been issues, but still the worship goes on. Some of the same personnel are present and Their Lordships look as beautiful as ever. Others that were involved all those years ago will also attend the celebrations witnessing how the legacy that they were involved with at the start still continues.
A weekend of kirtana (congregational sacred chanting) is planned to mark the 30th Anniversary, commencing on 22nd July (Friday evening) and finishing on 24th July (Sunday evening) with a focus on kirtana being the fundamental way to preach love of God in this age and accessible to all. IT is expected that this will build into the annual Govindadvipa kirtana festival reflecting the revived interested and mood in the movement. While facilities are limited and simple, camping is available and the devotees welcome people to join in this celebration. It is hoped that those who have had the great mercy of visiting and seeing Sri Sri Radha Govinda will share memories and support the occasion and these can be done via a Facebook page by following the link where readers will also be kept up to date on scheduling and sponsorship/birthday gift opportunities. Simultaneously a crowd funding appeal has been launched to repair the temple on Go Fund Me.
With memories come videos and photographs, reflecting the pre-digital age, and invitations to share these between devotees from the global community are open. These can be uploaded up-loaded to the Facebook link or emailed directly for inclusion to firstname.lastname@example.org. Devotees old and new are welcome to participate and devotees worldwide can get involved by logging onto the Facebook page where birthday gift ideas and necessities are listed, sponsorship opportunities and updates to the schedule.
Facbook: Sri Sri Radha Govinda 30th Anniversary 2016
Facebook: Krishna Daily Darshana
Temple fund campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/5swd4r2k[ inish-rath ] [ ireland ] [ radha-govinda ]