Sunday, June 10, 2012

Breathtaking Ireland

We are in Ireland for the Eucharistic Congress which began today, Sunday June 10, 2012.

For the past eight days, though, we have toured Ireland and been thoroughly won over by her incredible beauty. I do not even know what word to use to describe it. If you have been here, you know. And if your heritage is Irish – which both Peggy and I share – then you have this enchanting sense that you have come home. Your suspicion is confirmed when you meet the locals and tell them your name and perhaps your mother’s name. In my case, Carney and Keogh. Right away they start telling you where you came from. County Wicklow, County Clare, County Cork. They know about the famine, for sure. And in New Ross there is a replica of the ships that took the starving emigrants to Canada. The mind starts seeing it happen. ...... My own family on my mother’s side came over both before and during the potato famine (1840’s), as I understand it.

In County Clare and County Mayo you see the mountains. Rocky terrain with mile after mile of stone fences three or four feet high. Again – you see the work going on, in your mind’s eye. And you see the potato fields half way up the mountains. What? Yes that’s right. The land so poor, you see why potatoes were so important.

The other side of Ireland is its ancient history. 1800’s is recent history! You go back to Henry VIII and Oliver Cromwell. Monasteries burned, people slaughtered. Centuries of ‘troubles’ and hatred thereafter. You tour the monasteries with their stone-wall ruins. Many dating to centuries before Cromwell. We toured Glendalough, Jerpoint, Cashel, Clonmacnoise and others. How did those early monks find these places? In the middle of what would have been nowhere? I do not know, but there is a theme. High elevations and rivers or lakes. Almost always making for breath-taking views. And speaking of breath-taking views, the Ring of Kerry and the Cliffs of Moher must hold best in show honours for the whole world.

So now we are back in Dublin. This week is the Eucharistic Congress, and today was opening day with people attending from around the world. Royal Dublin Society Stadium held a huge crowd for a powerful opening ceremony that included Mass presided by Cardinal Ouellet (Canada), said to be a candidate for the papacy. Don’t know about that but I must say two highlights did not involve him, and came right at the beginning, before Mass when Bishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin went straight to the point about the illegal and immoral behaviour of members of the clergy in Ireland against those who should be protected and loved as Christ loved – children. A moving and sincere confession before all the world. Then some youth addressed the same topic, and I think these youth may have been victims. They laid it at the feet of the Church, and apparently they had composed a prayer meant to be said by a repentant Church. I intend to get a copy of that prayer, but I bet it is already in newspapers around the world.

Oh yes. Today was also the first day of the Euro soccer tournament for the Ireland team playing in Poland. Had dinner upstairs in a pub and watched Ireland go out of its mind. Bit like Canada-Russia hockey in 1972 in its intensity. Great to be part of it. More to follow.

2 comments:

Sonali said...

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Sonali said...

Thanks for your posts, I would be waiting for similar interesting posts in future.

Thanks
Marcus White Lisdoonvarna