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Video: Banishing the devil — and witnessing the world’s worst game of chess — in Northern Ireland

If you like in-your-face Christian drama — complete with great Irish accents and choreographed fight sequences — check out this video from Camp Shamrock. The campers created their own skits to demonstrate the Bible lesson they had just studied about faithfulness.
I was blessed to spend about 24 hours at the campsite, in Tollymore Forest Park (not far from where they film scenes for the medieval drama “Game of Thrones”) in Northern Ireland. See our recent coverage of the camp and a feature on one of the organizers, Bert Ritchie, minister for the Church of Christ in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.

(Map by Erik Tryggestad)

Getting to Northern Ireland via London’s Heathrow Airport was not easy, as I explained in a blog post from Coleraine. You can learn more about the years of conflict that Ritchie and Camp Shamrock are trying to heal in this explainer about “The Troubles” (complete with map so you can figure out where Northern Ireland ends and the Republic of Ireland begins). For a more in-depth look at “The Troubles,” I recommend the BBC  History website dedicated to the years of conflict and the Good Friday Agreement that helped calm the hostilities.
I think my favorite moment from the camp — and my favorite photo — came from watching Kevin MacSweeney, the red-haired lad in the first part of the video, attempt to referee games of chess between the boys. MacSweeney and his brother were both former campers who came back to be counselors at Camp Shamrock. Here’s how I describe the chess “matches” in the story:

After soccer and shepherd’s pie, the boys play halfhearted games of chess. Kevin MacSweeney, a red-haired counselor from Cork, Ireland, tries desperately to explain how the knight moves, which few of the boys seem to know, and to keep one of them from stuffing his mouth with pawns.

And here’s a photo that pretty much describes Kevin MacSweeney’s demeanor after the games ended.

Kevin MacSweeney is done with chess. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Filed under: News Extras Photos and Videos Travel Reports

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