History

Kelly and Susan Curry met at the University of Kentucky and were married in 1977. Kelly became an  accountant and quickly moved up the corporate ladder, eventually becoming the Chief Financial Officer for Health Management Associates, a Fortune 500 hospital management company located in Naples, Florida. But as Kelly became more successful, he found himself empty of life, peace, and joy. In 1993, Kelly and Susan attended a CBN seminar in Virginia Beach and departed with a new purpose to life.

Earnestly praying for the Lord’s direction, Kelly and Susan soon felt their life was about to take a radical turn. In October of 1993, Kelly shared a passage out of Deuteronomy 11 with Susan, expressing what he felt was a call to Ireland. Susan immediately remembered a vision she’d had of a thatched roof cottage while praying earlier that same year. She’d journaled the event, but she had not shared it with Kelly — the vision now made perfect sense.

After graduating from Ravencrest Bible College and starting FICM, Kelly and Susan found themselves on Irish soil in 1996. Their first experience of Ireland was in the city of Cork, where a rock concert had brought 70,000 youth to the city. Both Kelly and Susan heard the Lord speak to them about the youth of Ireland: they needed a safe place of their own.

A month later, the Curry’s settled in Galway. They showed the Jesus Film in local hotels and opened their home up for Bible studies. But the vision for a safe place for Irish youth burned in their hearts. After several failed attempts to rent space for a coffeehouse, they found a building on the edge of downtown. This dilapidated building had once been a army barracks and had most recently been a youth hostel. After much hard work, this old broken down building became a beautiful coffeehouse café and bookstore.

The greatest crowds to frequent An Tobar Nua were the local secondary school (Junior and High School) students. The students in Ireland have no lunch program so many started coming to the café for their lunch hour. After a while, they started to hang out in the afternoons and weekends. The ministry started a discipleship Bible study, hosted Christian bands, and introduced an active prayer/counseling ministry.

Within a couple years’ time, planning began on a major expansion to house added and growing ministries. In 2005, work crews began construction on a 9,000-square-foot addition and a 3,000-square-foot renovation to create prime space for conferences, retreats, counseling offices, classrooms, dorm rooms, staff apartments, and expanded kitchen and dining areas. The An Tobar Nua ministries now occupy 15,000 square feet of space dedicated to sharing the love of Christ.

In 2007, classes for the Emmaus Scripture School and the Ministry Experience Program convened for the first time in the new classrooms. Students from Ireland and abroad come for in-depth Scripture study and hands-on ministry extending the outreach even further. Expanded classroom and dining capacities have provided a convenient and comfortable setting for seminars, workshops, support groups, weekend retreats, and weekly prayer gatherings.

At present, the ministries of An Tobar Nua reach far beyond the Galway community. Colleges send students from various countries and universities to join in the Study Abroad program, as well as post-graduates that choose to volunteer for 6 months to 1 year, or longer, through the Ministry Experience Volunteer program. The student ministry programs at At Tobar Nua are reaching schools all over the country. The counseling programs not only provide help and assistance for a local client base but also provide training for professional counselors and hosting Mind You public mental health events.

As a ministry, An Tobar Nua is deeply grateful for the obvious hand of God in this journey and look forward to growing in more avenues of outreach not only in the heart of Galway, but in the whole of Ireland.