Today began with a final lovely walk to the nearby small harbour of Ervallagh, where, although there was cloud cover, the temperature was benign and the views once again glorious. En route we passed someone having their breakfast.
When we returned to the house, we had our own very traditional Irish breakfast, cooked by Chef Noelle. It was delicious.
We then headed back to Dublin via Galway, arriving in time to watch England qualify for the semi-finals of the World Cup! A good day!
Tomorrow will be our final post as we return to Rome in the afternoon. We will join the Abbey House community once again for Mass and coffee and Jane will plant a rose in front of the grave of her grandaunt, Sister Claude.
We leave you for today with two pictures from the garden of the Burkart family house where we enjoyed, with enormous gratitude, both unstinting hospitality and the glories of the Connemara coast.
After a night spent in the seaside town of Bundoran, where we had a wonderful walk along the cliffs after supper, we worked together on a forthcoming letter to all the members and then set off for the nearly three hour journey to Galway, to visit the Poor Clare community there. On the way, Noelle realised that our route would take us via the shrine of Our Lady of Knock, so we took a small detour to briefly visit and pray at the shrine. Whilst there, we bumped into Sister Lucy from the Gorey community (whom we had earlier met at Bray) who was there for the day with Carmel and Sheila Ann. Another very providential and happy encounter.
We then continued to Galway and to the Poor Clare convent, which is situated beside the Cathedral there. The community came there in 1642 from Athlone, to where the founding members had come in 1629, after their formation in the Gravelines Poor Clare convent. It was extraordinary to realise that the Poor Clares have been in that very place since before Mary Ward died.
We had a lovely hour with some members of the 10 member community, hearing about each other’s history and our shared history. We all felt very at home with one another and grateful for our shared Mary Ward heritage. We also exchanged gifts – from us, a set of the postcards of the Painted Life and copies of “Go Close To Him” and “The Little Book of Mary Ward” and from them a copy for each of us of their recent book (which hit the bestseller lists in Ireland in 2012), entitled “Calm the Soul – A Book of Simple Wisdom and Prayer”. We left the community with a great sense of having been blessed by our time there. For anyone interested, their website is http://www.poorclares.ie. On it, they have some information about their history, including the part played in it by Mary Ward. They also told us that they would post some photos on their Facebook page before the end of the day so any Facebook users might like to have a look at those.
We then continued to Roundstone, on the Connemara coast, to stay in the family house of Mary Burkart until Saturday, when we return to Dublin. Tomorrow’s post will, therefore, contain fewer words and more pictures of the glorious countryside and coastline of this more than beautiful part of Ireland.
The day began with a visit to Loreto College, 53 St Stephen’s Green, where Jane’s mother and aunt were at school. We were shown round by Meghan, Noelle’s niece, who could not get over being in school in July!
As you can see from the pictures below it is a beautiful Georgian building, which carries a great deal of IBVM history, including the tragic death of six members of the community in a fire in 1986. May they rest in peace.
We then visited the Provincial House and team, both IBVM and lay, at Beaufort House for coffee and, of course, scones and cake! Members of other communities in the Dublin area also joined us. Once again, it was a gathering full of memories and laughter.
Then began the journey north to Coleraine, which we broke in the beautiful location of Laytown, where, naturally, we had lunch!
Two and a half long hours driving (for Noelle) later we arrived in Coleraine, having seen Ireland once again in wall to wall glorious sunshine. We joined members from Coleraine, Omagh and Belfast for supper and once again stories were shared, in particular this evening about Sister Consiglio, one of Jane’s grand-aunts, who spent many years teaching in the school in Coleraine and, latterly, regularly playing the organ in the parish church, where she went to God whilst playing at Sunday Mass in 1982. It was just the death she would have wished. May she too rest in peace.
We continue our pilgrimage in Coleraine tomorrow with a visit to her grave and from there to Letterkenny. Thank you for coming with us…
Today has been a lovely day of encounters of all kinds. We have also learnt to write the blog backwards through the day so please begin reading this from the bottom upwards! Tomorrow we look forward to our visits to the two communities of Dalkey and Bray. And a final image for today – the plaque underneath the bust of Teresa Ball which was in Loreto Abbey Rathfarnham from shortly after her death and which is now in Abbey House. It marks the fact that Teresa Ball brought the Institute to Ireland after her seven years of formation and community life at the Bar Convent in York.
Before and during lunch we had lovely conversations with many of the community, some of whom had come specially to meet us. We really enjoyed our time with them.
We began today with Mass at Abbey House, at which the priest presiding delighted us all by welcoming the two of us and saying of Mary Ward, that “she had twins”! After Mass and coffee we visited the Abbey cemetery, in which Teresa Ball is buried, together with very many Loreto sisters from the past two centuries. One of these is one of Jane’s great-aunts, Sister Claude Glynn.