Ireland: God at Work Past & Present

Just as God used St. Patrick, God is using believers like the Mulhollands today in Ireland to change lives.

Each year nearly 3 million people watch St. Patrick’s Day parades in major U.S. cities. Photos courtesy of Kelly Mulholland

In Dublin, Ireland, almost a million people joined in the St. Patrick’s festival last year, a multi-day celebration of concerts, outdoor theater productions, and of course, parades.

An unsurpassed view of the parade (above) comes from Kelly and Kate Mulholland's third-floor apartment, overlooking Main Street in Ireland’s capital.

Kelly, a Campus Crusade staff member, says, “God gave us a home right in the middle of everything.” Even camera crews joined their party to film from their window.

Among the din, some lose track of the holiday’s roots: St. Patrick was a missionary in early 400 A.D. to Ireland who incorporated Irish traditions into his lessons of Christianity.

Kelly and Kate celebrate the continuation of that Christian legacy in college students’ lives in Dublin.

Neil Dexter (inset), a freshman at Trinity College in Dublin, first met Kelly at his friend Matthew Broderick’s house.

During dinner, Matthew’s mother told how she became a Christian after taking a Campus Crusade college survey in Galway, Ireland, 30 years before. 

She had been involved with a spiritual movement in Galway which led to 1,000 Irish coming to faith in Christ. In Ireland, the 1970s were exciting for the Campus Crusade movement. But by the 1990s, nothing was left.

In September 2007, Kelly and Kate’s ministry started out slowly, and with challenges, due to closed campuses and distrust from some of the local leadership of other organizations. 

However, over the past 2 years, Kelly and Kate’s faithfulness and perseverance are bearing fruit. Relationships have grown through the influx of spiritually-interested freshmen -- people like Neil. "Now there are more students to mentor than staff members have time for," says Kelly. He and his wife are the only two Campus Crusade staff members in Ireland who focus on college students.

When Neil learned that Kelly was mentoring his friend Matthew, and talking with others about a relationship with Christ, he wanted to do the same. 

“He is eager and excited to tell others about his faith,” Kelly continues. Neil had no solid theological foundation and “he is like a sponge to learn,” meeting for 2-3 hours each week with Kelly, along with Matthew.

“Knowing that I am 100% a sinner and 100% loved by God -- that has really changed my perspective on my life and how I’m living for God,” says Neil. “[My faith] has become more real to me and a chord has been struck in my heart.”