Landing safely on Ireland’s shores marks the origins of one of the world’s most beloved hymns.
Although everyone knows this beautiful, uplifting hymn, Amazing Grace, not many people know its Irish origins.
The haunting hymn Amazing Grace was penned by the anti-slavery advocate John Newton when he landed in Donegal, safe, having survived a shipwreck. His arrival on Irish shores marked the beginning of his conversion to Christianity and the start of a life of good work. He wrote the first verse in Buncrana, County Donegal.
“Up until that point, he was self-described as a wretch. He was involved in the slave trade.
“He was traveling to Liverpool from Africa and because of the trade winds they had a very circuitous route.
“He was caught in a violent storm and found himself crying out for mercy. He thought: ‘what mercy can there be for me, a wretch?’”
The ship managed to make it to safety, but Newton “stepped ashore in Ireland a changed man.”
Even though he remained active in the slave trade for another six years, he later became a staunch opponent of the industry.