I am delighted to be nominated for The Blog Awards Ireland 2014 in the Best Arts and Culture Blog section. The Long List in this category includes many of my favourite blogs so best of luck to everyone.
My niece is almost two. My parents often recite little poems and rhymes to her that they told to my sister and I when we were small. Many of the poems they learned as children making some at least three generations old.
One of my nieces favourite poems is How many miles to Dublin? which is always recited while being bounced on one knee. It goes a follows
Hupp, hupp my little horse, hupp, hupp again sir.
How many miles to Dublin? Three score and ten sir,
Will we be there by candle light? Yes sir and back sir.
This is not an Irish poem. According to the book A history of nursery rhymes, during the 19th century the poem was commonly recited to children in Britain as well as Ireland, where the word Dublin was substituted for London or other English towns. This book suggests that this poem may date back even further to Tudor times. Its really interesting to see how simple family traditions can be preserved through the generations.
Green, P. 1899. A history of Nursery Rhymes. London: Greening & Co. Ltd.
This year I joined with thousands of pilgrims in the annual pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick. For those of you who might not know, Croagh Patrick is a holy mountain located on the western coast of May on of the southern shores of Clew Bay associated with St Patrick. The mountain is 764m (2510 ft) in height. Pilgrimage can place throughout the year but the main focus for pilgrims takes place the last weekend of August. The Friday of this weekend is generally the day local people climb the mountain and the Sunday often called Reek Sunday is the main day for pilgrims from a wider geographical hinterland. Each year on this weekend thousands of people make pilgrimage and ascend the mountain to pray at its summit. There is a long history of pilgrimage at this site which I have discussed in a previous post.
Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick 2014
On the morning of the 27th of July I joined with circa twenty thousands pilgrims in the annual pilgrimage to the summit of Croagh Patrick. There are a number of approach route the summit. The majority of pilgrim climb from the townland of Murrisk following a track worn by centuries of feet known as the Cásan Phádraig (the Path of Patrick).
I arrived by car to the base of the mountain about 10.00am. An early start for a Sunday but not at Croagh Patrick, where pilgrims had begun climbing in the early hours of the morning to arrive at 6 am on the summit. I parked my car in one of the fields converted into temporary car parks to cope with the influx of traffic and paid a 5 Euro fee for the day. As I pulled on my walking boots and pack my rucksack with food and water, I noticed many of the people in my car park were having picnics out of their cars , tea and sandwiches, a reward for a pilgrimage completed or perhaps fuel for the climb ahead. To begin my climb I a short distance to a small laneway located beside the car park of the Croagh Patrick visitor centre.
I have climbed this mountain many times over the years in various weather condition while doing research for my PhD thesis but this was my first climb with actual pilgrims. I was slightly apprehensive. I am not a fan of very large crowds and knowing how difficult the terrain of the mountain is I worried crowds the would make the climb uncomfortable however once I began my fears were soon allayed but I was conscious throughout the climb of what was going on about me.
On the main pilgrimage day Mountain Rescue groups and the Order of Malta have a very visible presence and they do really excellent work to help pilgrims get up and down the mountain safely. Croagh Patrick can be a dangerous mountain. Much of the route and in particular the conical top of the mountain is covered by loose shale which moves under foot and can be very slippery in wet weather. The terrain is difficult especially in the final stages. The weather conditions on the summit can be very changeable and temperatures at the top of the mountain can be up to 10 degrees colder than at sea level. It is very important to be prepared for the climb and to have good footware, appropriate clothing water and a stick. As I walked to the summit I noticed blood on some of the stones on the path and I witnessed at least 3 people fall and many more stumble but retain their balance because of their sticks.
The following day I read that there had been 17 casualties on this years pilgrimage with four people taken off the mountain via stretcher, and two helicopter evacuations. On my way up I saw one person being carried by stretcher from the cone of the mountain and one person being air lifted from the mountain during my decent.
The Cásan Phádriag
The pilgrim climb in Murrisk begins at the base of the mountain at a small laneway on the east side of the carpark of the visitor centre. This path takes you passed numerous stalls such as the legion of Mary as well as vendors selling religious items.
At the top of the lane you come face to face with a large statue of St Patrick and get a great view of the mountain looming behind. The weather conditions were pretty good it was a warm day with a slight refreshing breeze. During my climb summit of the mountain was covered with low-lying cloud, that cleared intermittently to reveal the top. I could see people on the summit who from a distance looked like tiny colourful ants.
On the way up the path was very busy with a constant stream of people coming up and down the mountain passing each other by. The pilgrims were made up of all age groups from as young as 7/8 to people in their 80’s. Some people walk alone while others walk in small groups of friends or family.
People climb and participate in Reek Sunday for many reasons some for religious and spiritual reasons, others to carry on family traditions and other to experience this unique occasion and to enjoy the amazing scenery. As I walked along I saw a wide range of human emotions; a father and his small child quarrelling about the climb, a woman sitting down and spontaneously crying, children racing along like mountain goats and a woman helping bandage the hand of a stranger who had fallen and cut his fingers. There was a great sense of comradery among pilgrims. I noticed people would often stop and help people who slipped or ask others who stopped for their breath, if they were ok. In the final stages of climbing the cone those coming down the mountain would offer words of encouragement “your nearly there now” “Nearly at the top now”. I also noted a handful of people climbing the mountain in their bare feet as part of their penitential pilgrimage.
Climbing the Croagh Patrick on such a busy day means that you must pay extra attention to where you walk. One often needs to manoeuvre and avoid walking in the path of those coming down the mountain as well as those walking ahead at a slower pace or those who stop suddenly in front of you. You also need to be aware of where to put your feet and to try and choose the best path ahead.
Depending on your level of fitness and weather conditions it can take anywhere between 1.5 to 2/3 to reach the summit. It took me ages as I was constantly stopping to take photos.
At the base of the cone of the mountain pilgrims encounter the pilgrim station known as Leacht Mionnáin/Benan. This is a large cairn of stones probably of 19th century date.
Pilgrims preforming the rounds (traditional prayer focused on a number of holy foci ) walk in a clockwise direction around the cairn reciting the following prayers; 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Mary’s and the Creed. Having finished they embark on the final climb to the summit. The steepness of this section of the route and the movable terrain underfoot make this the most difficult section of the climb.
As I climbed upward the summit was hidden from by the clouds. The final stage of the climb is very steep and lots of concentration is needed to keep your balance but almost without realising it the ground suddenly becomes flat and you realise you have made it in one piece to the summit.
The first thing I did was to sit down and catch my breath. I was sitting on the left hand side of the church lots of pilgrims were sitting down in this area too. It wasn’t long before I noticed the cold air and I was very glad of the fleece top I had packed at the bottom of my rucksack. The summit is a large flat area enclosed by a dry stone wall in poor condition on the top are toilets, a small church and a number of pilgrim stations.
The pilgrimage rituals on the summit include visiting the remaining stations or foci of devotion, as well as attending mass and confession. The first station is an unnamed cairn of stones.
The pilgrim kneels at the cairn and recites 7 Hail Marys, 7 Our Fathers, and 1 creed. Next the pilgrim prays near the modern chapel for the Pope’s intentions and walks 15 times round the oratory reciting 15 Our Fathers, 15 Hail Marys and 1 Creed.
Finally, the pilgrim proceeds to the station known as Leabha Phádraig/Patrick’s bed. This is a small hollow defined by a metal railing. The pilgrim walks clockwise around reciting 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys and 1 Creed.
The small chapel on the summit provided the sacrament of confessions begin on the summit at 7:30am and continuing until 2:00pm. The first Mass on the summit began at 8:00am and every half hour thereafter until the last Mass which at 2:00pm.
Traditionally the final pilgrim station of the pilgrimage was a visit to large possible Bronze age enclosure called Roiling Mhuire (Virgin’s Cemetery) on the western side of the mountain. Three cairns of stones are found within the enclosure and the pilgrim walked 7 times round each cairn, saying 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Mary’s and 1 Creed and finally go round the whole enclosure seven times praying. The majority of modern pilgrims skip this final stage and finish their pilgrimage on the summit.
While the pilgrims pray and perform their rounds other pilgrims take the opportunity to relax after their arduous climb many take the opportunity to sit and eat the food they have brought with them or purchased at the food stall that sells tea and sandwiches.
The summit was covered in cloud but intermittently the cloud would clear to reveal the stunning scenery and let the sun warm the weary pilgrims.
I also notice people taking selfies on their mobile photos in front of the church or Leabha Phádraig while others posed beside a signs placed here in 2013 which says Croagh Patrick Ireland’s Holy Mountain. I am not sure sure why you need a sign to tell you your are on the summit but those who were photographed beside it seem to like it.
The final part of the pilgrimage is the decent. Climbing back down is as difficult if not more so then the ascent. This is also when most accidents take place. It was here that I found my trusty stick most useful.
Taking part in this pilgrimage was a wonderful experience and I hope I will be lucky enough to take part again in the future. Pilgrims who climb here should also be aware that the constant foot fall of pilgrims and tourists whose numbers can be up to 100, 000 during the year is causing sever erosion of the mountain. To find out more about this check out Mountaineering Ireland website.
Having returned safely down the mountain I ended my pilgrimage here by visiting the nearby sites of Glaspatrick and Kilgeever- posts to follow.
Further reading on this years pilgrimage.
During medieval times Irish pilgrims travelled on pilgrimage to British shrines. One of the most popular destinations was the shrine of St David located in Pembrokeshire in Wales. It not surprising St Davids was such a popular destination given it possessed the corporeal relics of St David and in the later medieval period two pilgrimages to St Davids was equal to one to Rome. For Irish pilgrims a trip to Wales was a lot less expensive and time-consuming then one to Rome.
Like many important pilgrim sites St Davids was at the centre of an extensive pilgrim landscape composed of minor outlying pilgrim shrines/foci connected to the saint. As well as praying at the relics of St David, pilgrims would have also visited some of these minor shrines more often than not prior to visiting the primary shrine. This post focuses on one such site namely the chapel of St Non’s. This site is located in a field over looking St Non’s Bay approximately a mile from St Davids.
St Non (also known as Nonna or Nonnita) was the mother of St David. Her feast day is the 3rd of March and her cult spread to Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. The daughter of Lord Cynyr Ceinfarfog, she was born around AD 475. As a young woman she became a nun at Ty Gwyn near Whitesands Bay (Dyfed). St David was conceived when she was raped by Sanctus, a king of Ceredigion. Tradition hold that the chapel was built on the site where she gave birth to St David. St Non’s chapel is one of a number of sites which claim to be the location of St David’s birth.
Today the site consist of the ruins of a single room building aligned north-south. The walls do not survive to any great height and the present structure cannot be dated easily as there are not any distinguishable features. The alignment of the building is very unusual as churches are normally aligned east-west.
Fenton writing in 1818 states
In digging for earth within the walls of the chapel, stone coffins were found, and part of a curious image of pottery glazed, being the head and shoulder of a male figure. It was hollow, and filled with a prodigious hard cement, and is now in possession of Mr Archdeacon Davies.
An early medieval cross slab, of 7th/8th century date, is located in the corner of the interior of the chapel. When I visited the site in late June there were a number of beach pebble with names written on them, left in front of the slab perhaps as modern votive offerings.
A holy well also dedicated to the saint is located very close to the chapel. The waters of the well flow into a rectangular chamber covered with superstructure with a rounded top. The water then flows into a second rectangular stone trough.
Local tradition holds that the well burst forth from the ground upon the birth of St David.
The well and a small area around it are enclosed with a stone wall. A niche in the wall opposite the well holds a small statue of St Non with out stretched arms. Modern pilgrims have left a number of offering at her feet including a brown scapula , money and rosary beads.
The oldest written account of pilgrimage here is found in a 15th century poem and concerns the pilgrimage of Edudful ferch Gadwgon and her sons. The text records that Edudful visited St Non’s chapel and holy well on her way to St Davids. When she arrived here she washed her head in the holy water. She also prayed at an image of the St Non, most likely a statue and lit candles before the altar in the chapel. When her pilgrim rituals were complete she proceeded to her primary destination St David’s where as part of her pilgrim rituals she left an offering of wax and money (Cartwright 2007, 190).
On Sunday Edudful comes
to pray sincerely to God;
puts her head in the well,
raises her hands merrily,
worships the holy image,
lights the large, yellow candles,
and puts all of them on the altar;
From there she passes to
the good close of St David’s church;
makes an offering of crimson wax
and money and kisses the saint; ( ibid after Johnson 2007, 371)
Browne Willis (1717) writing in the 18th century quotes an early 16th century description of the well by George Owen of Henllys
There is a fine Well beside it , cover’d with a Stone-Roof and inclosed within a wall, and Benches to sit upon round the Well (ibid., 190).
Cartwright (2007) suggests the superstructure over the well was more substantial than it is today. The present covering may date to the 19th century but it was extensively restored in 1951.
The waters of the well are said to have healing powers and to be of particular use for eye complaints. In 1811 the following account of the well is given in Fenton’s Historical Tour Through Pembrokeshire
…a most redundant spring arched over, and at one time inclosed with a wall. The fame this consecrated spring had obtained is incredible, and still is resorted to for many complaints. In my infancy, as was the general usage with respect to children at that time, I was often dipped in it, and offerings , however trifling , even of a farthing or a pin, were made after each ablution, and the bottom of the well shrone with votive brass.
The immersion of children in the waters of holy wells were carried out at many Irish sites in the 19th and 20th century such as at St Moling’s well at Mullens in Co Carlow and at St Keeve at Glendalough.
A second chapel can be found a short distance from the well, in the grounds of St Non’s Retreat house . This chapel which has an ancient appearance was built-in 1934 by Mr Morgan-Griffith a solicitor from Carmarthen who had it built for his wife who had converted to Catholicism.
The building was constructed with recycled stones from cottages and possibly also from monastic buildings at Whitehall.
The modern chapel is dedicated to Our Lady and St Non. Within are a number of beautiful stain glass windows of the William Morris school depicting Welsh saints including St Non see image below.
The base of this window depicts a scene of St Non and her son St David arriving in Brittany by boat.
Another interesting feature within the chapel is the altar which incorporates numerous pieces of medieval architectural fragments.
Today the Passionists are the owners of the property and they have granted the Sisters of Mercy a licence to occupy and manage St Non’s Retreat Centre and chapel.
The ruins of St Non’s Chapel and holy well has a long tradition of pilgrimage. The stunning scenery and peaceful setting at the site makes it a must see for modern pilgrims. The modern church of Our Lady and St Non is also a lovely place to spend some time. Although there are no accounts of Irish pilgrims travelling here I suspect the majority of Irish pilgrims to St Davids would have also visited the site.
Cartwright, J. 2007. ‘The Cult of David’, In (eds.) Evan, J. W. & Wooding, J. St David of Wales Cult Church and Nation. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 182-206.
Fenton, R. 1811. Historical Tour Through Pembrokeshire Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & co., 112-113
Johnston, D (ed) Gwaith Lewys Glyn Cothi. Walse: Welsh University Press.
Rees, N. 1992. St David of Dewisland. Llandysul: Gomer Press, 21-24.
In June of this year I went on a tour of St Fin Barre‘s Cathedral in Cork. This was an amazing experience. During the tour the symbolism and the meaning behind the carvings and statues of the building was explained and in turn I saw the building in a very different light. I was so impressed by the tour that I asked my guide Martin Dier the Cathedral Administrator to write a post about the Cathedral. So I am delighted to introduce this guest post by Martin which focuses on the central doorway of the west gable of the building.
St Fin Barre’s Cathedral the western portico doorway
The Cathedral of St. Fin Barre is a masterpiece of engineering. It was created by the famous British architect William Burges and built-in the Neo-Gothic style and completed in 1879. The current building is the latest in series on the site, with early Christian roots going back 1400 years to the year 606AD. Tradition holds this was the site of an early monastic settlement of St Fin Barre.
The current building was built-in the style of the French Gothic structures popular in medieval times. The Cathedral is unusual on many levels and importantly all of its designs spring from a single mind giving a uniformity of style, which few other Cathedrals can boast. Everything from the super structure to the stained glass, the door hinges to the communion table are all from Burges.
Symbolism and hidden meaning
The secret language of symbolism is built into the fabric of the building and every part of the Cathedral is placed there for a reason, nothing is as it seems, nothing is random. There are several iconographic themes running throughout the building and the front of the building contains a wealth of symbolism that can be read like a book.
Looking at the magnificent western portico the eye is initially lost in the carvings, the tracery and the sculpture. However, if one pauses certain images will seem familiar and one thing leads to another which can lead one on a spiritual exploration of one’s own soul.
This post explores the central doorway in the western wall of the Cathedral which tells the tale of the five wise and the five foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) which relays the story of how living the wise and prudent life is rewarded in eternal life.
This was a very popular story during the medieval period and had several mystery plays, carvings and works of art associated with it. The wise virgins all have their heads covered as a display of their purity and hold their lights aloft in flame. They are on the right hand side of the bride groom, the side associated with strength, virtue and favour.
In contrast the foolish virgins are bare headed and look despondent after wasting all their oil for their lamps.
The Virgins all stand on decorated pedestals. The decoration in turn contains symbolism connected to the story. Beneath the feet of the first wise virgin the doors to the wedding party/heavens doors are open.
In contrast the first unwise virgin (on the left hand side of the bride groom) stands on a pedestal which depicts the same doors but this time it is closed. Indicating those who do not prepare for death and live just lives may find the gates of heaven closed to them.
In contrast on the left hand side of the bride groom the flames are crossed and inverted.
Then on the side of the wise you have the organ whilst on his left you have the music of the lute which is a frivolous “pub” type music, leading one away from salvation.
Next on the side of the wise you have the pelican who in medieval mythology became a symbol for Christ as it was thought to prick its own breast to feed its blood to its offspring so that they might live.
This is contrasted with a locked treasure chest showing us that the way of the foolish leads us to the place where we become locked out of the treasures of heaven.
And finally on the side of the wise you have the cup of eternal life, the eternal spiritual food contrasted against the earthly bread and wine that when consumed do not satisfy the soul.
Standing between the wise and foolish virgins is the figure of the bridge groom who symbolises Christ. His face is turned away from the foolish virgins.
The imagery of death and judgement is again picked up in the tympanum above the door with the dead rising from their graves and being met with life ever lasting on the side of the wise virgins or damnation on the side of the foolish. Notice the angles are helping those on the right rise to heaven while pushing those on the left into hell.
The original idea by Burges was that the dead would be naked and that the fires of hell would be extending half way across the façade, but Victorian prudishness forced the fires of hell into a whisp of smoke and the dead to be fully clothed before judgement.
The place of this doorway in the west is also significant as the west-facing aspect of the carvings is also the direction in which the sun sets every night thus linking the idea of death and rebirth to the rhythm of the daily cycle.
The journey of the wise soul continues inside the building in an almost linear progression with the narratives in the windows from the old and new testaments illuminating the path to heaven which culminates at the high altar. Here the image of the fishing net is used to signify that heaven is like a net cast into the sea that gathers all types of fish/people (Matthew 13:47). The stylised fishing net not only shows the fish but the different classes of man from rich to poor.
So the exploration of ones soul progress from the outside to the inside and from judgement to salvation happens symbolically at the Communion Table through Christ who is again referenced in allegorical form as the fish.
The above text was written by Martin Dier.
This post highlights just one of the many hidden themes that run through this stunning building. If you visit here and I hope you will, do consider taking a guided tour as it will really bring the building to life. Below are the opening times and contact details for the cathedral.
A few weeks ago I had a fantastic holiday exploring parts of Wales and England. One of the most amazing places I visited was a tiny medieval chapel called St Govan’s chapel in Pembrokshire, Wales.
St Govan’s chapel is located at the base of a cliff, a short distance from the village of Bosherston. The site has an Irish connection as Govan is supposedly an Irish saint.
The present chapel dates to c. the 13th century and it may have been built on an earlier structure. The chapel can be accessed from the top of the cliff by climbing down a series of steep steps.
The church is a small single single cell room built into a rock cleft and it has a vaulted ceiling.
A stone altar is built against the west wall and a number of steps lead into a small recess in the cliff face . Folk tradition says the marks of the saints ribs are visible on the rock face (see plan church below).
The interior of the church is very plain, in the south wall there is a piscina and a window.
Traces of plaster remain on the north wall.
Tradition holds that an Irish monk called St Govan founded a hermitage here in the 6th century. While sailing across the sea he was attacked by pirates. During his escape the cliff opened up enough for him to hide until the pirates left. In gratitude, he decided stay here and live as hermit. St Govan lived within a small cave in the cliff. The current church is thought to be built over the cave and the saint’s body is reputedly buried under the altar.
The chapel floor once had a holy well which has dried up. Below the church are the remains of a second holy well also dedicated to the saint. The spring is now dry. In the past pilgrims visited the site as the waters of the wells were reputed to cure eye complaints.
The location of St Govan’s chapel is amazing and there are spectacular views of the sea and coastline. I really recommend a visit it is a truly special place and I know you wont be disappointed as this site has really got a “whow factor” that you dont find too often.
Site Notice Board.
Last year I attended the pattern/patron day celebration in honour of St Laserian at Old Leighlin, Co Carlow. I had planned to write this post the following day but life got in the way as it so often does, and before I new it days, weeks, months and over a year had gone by. So better late than never.
Old Leighlin is a small sleepy village a short distance from Carlow town. St Gobban founded a monastery here in the 7th century. He was succeeded by St Laserian also known as Molaisse , who became the patron saint of the site and surrounding area. In 630 AD, during Laserian’s rule, a synod was held here to consider the correct time for the celebration of Easter (see my post on the Easter Controversy). Laserian died in AD 639 and tradition holds he was buried here and it is likely his grave was visited by pilgrims from an early date, although the site of his grave has long been forgotten.
Following Laserian’s death the settlement prospered and grew in strength and influence, becoming one of the foremost churches in Leinster. By the 12th century it became the see of the diocese to which it gives its name. All that remains of the medieval settlement are the medieval Cathedral church, a holy well, bullaun stone, two early medieval cross slabs and early medieval stone cross. Following the reformation the Old Leighlin Cathedral came into the possession of the Church of Ireland and it continues to function as a place of worship. I will discuss the medieval and post-medieval evidence for pilgrimage at a later date.
Today as in medieval times St. Laserian is the focus of a yearly pilgrimage at Old Leighlin on the 18th of April. The modern pilgrim celebrations at Old Leighlin takes place each day on the saint’s feast day, when an ecumenical service is held at the Church of Ireland Church (medieval cathedral of Old Leighlin) followed by a procession to the nearby holy well dedicated to St Laserian. This year in 2014 the feast day fell on Good Friday and it was held Easter Sunday.
The service is normally presided over by two bishops, the Anglican Bishop of the United Diocese of Cashel , Ferns, Leighlin, Lismore, Ossory and Waterford and the Catholic Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, highlighting the importance of St Laserian within both diocese.
In 2013 the ecumenical service was held in the evening at around 7.30pm. The Cathedral which is dedicated to St Laserian is a very beautiful structure.
The Cathedral has many interesting features such as a magnificent stain glass window designed by Catherine O’Brien, in the east gable. The window depicts Irish and Universal saints Moling, Bridget, Fiach, Canice, Patrick, John, Paul and Laserian.
The 2013 service was presided over by Right Reverend Michael Burrows, the Anglican Bishop of Cashel, Waterford, Lismore, Ferns, Ossory and Leighlin, as the Catholic diocese of Kildare and Leighlin was without a Bishop at the time. As well as commemorating St Laserian with prayers and hymns, 2013 marked a special occasion for Old Leighlin, with the unveiling of an icon of St Laserian that had been specially commissioned for the Cathedral.
The Old Leighlin pilgrimage is one of only a handful of modern Irish pilgrimages that incorporates a procession. Following service all of those present lined up and walked behind by the bishop(s) and clergy of both churches in a processional walk, from the Cathedral along the main road which skirts alongside the north wall of the Cathedral graveyard to St Laserian’s holy well.
The procession began outside the church leaving via the main church gates and on to St Laserian’s holy well a few hundred metres to the west of the church.
As the procession approached the holy well a band who had been waiting patiently in the car park, beside the holy well, began to play music as the pilgrims approached.
The well is located within a landscaped green field that slopes sharply to the south. The clergy gathered at the well, located at the base of the slope. Most pilgrims gathered at the top of the slope with a second group standing around the rag tree near the holy well.
Once everyone was assembled a short prayer service then took place and the waters of the wells were blessed.
Following the blessing of the water, and despite the rain most of the pilgrims assembled at the well to drink or take home its water. Many pilgrims had brought plastic bottles with them to carry the water home.
The evening ended on a very social note with most people heading to the nearby local community hall for a very welcome cup of tea, cake and a chat.
Each summer from mid June until the end of August the Old Leighlin Cathedral is open to the public from Monday-Friday from 10.a.m. until 4 p.m so I hope this post might encourage some of you to visit, as it is an amazing place. I plan to write another post about history of the Cathedral the more ancient pilgrimage traditions at the site later in the year so watch the space.
Links to information on Old Leighlin