Thursday, January 17, 2019


Going Down To Moore St. by Anne Kelly, €140

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It always feels good to go out for a walk, even if it's only around the block and in the freezing cold.

The other day I went down the village and my first port of call, in out of the cold, was my local library. This is a very interesting and pro-active library and I have blogged on it on many previous occasions.

They actually had two exhibitions running. The first came from a local Mixed Media Art Group. There is, in fact, a broad range in the pictures. Four beautiful Dublin street pictures, one of which is reproduced above, really took my fancy. I really love that style. Pictures are for sale, so if you're in Raheny before the end of the month, do drop in.

The second was a beautifully presented eight panel exhibit of archeological artifacts in Norway illustrating aspects of Viking life, and in particular Irish and Christian influences.

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The range of sponsors was impressive - four Irish and two Norwegian.

Commentary was to the point.

And the illustrations were well presented.

Irish artifacts apart, we even had Irish Queen Sunniva, flee Ireland for an island off the coast of Norway, embrace martyrdom there, and become the patron saint of Bergen.

Apart from its fascinating content the exhibition is a masterclass in presentation.

So back out into the cold and my next place of refuge is the local Catholic church, which I'm sure registered some surprise at this infrequent presence. It is one of those big hangars which I'm sure the church must regret building in the hubris of suburban expansion in the 1960s and 1970s. They are costly to heat and as time goes on probably more difficult to fill.

My visit was, however, very positive. Unlike in my day, the church now had a toilet. What heavenly bliss. It also appeared to show some discrimination with not a sign of that rag ALIVE in sight.

And there was a shrine to my favourite saint. The patron saint of extortioners and bankers, St. Anthony. He extracts the maximum contribution from his supplicants, holding back the gift of finding till they have almost bankrupted themselves.

In my youth I ended up owing him more than I could ever pay, so I got the bright idea of taking his name in confirmation to appease him. I have never been visited by any etherial debt collectors since, so it must have worked.

From the look of things he is still in business and thriving. I first saw this idea of putting offerings in a heavy safe bolted to the ground in Berkeley Road church some years ago. Brought me up short then. But on reflection it seemed quite sensible when even relics are being nicked in our local churches.

Wouldn't have happened in my day. People would have been afraid of being smote on the spot.

And this is the safe in case you're wondering.

So we'll leave St. Anthony with this traditional image and pass on to the nuns.

Looking at the available literature I came across the Mission Newsletter from the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart. This seems to be a praiseworthy order with missions in some of the world's most troubled hotspots, bringing literacy and healthcare to the poor and oppressed. Reading the newsletter brought the phrase "liberation theology" to mind. This sort of stuff was being actively suppressed by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and it was only in mid-career, and in very distressing circumstances, that Pope Francis came to terms with it.

For all that was good in this newsletter, it was actually the back cover that caught my attention. So the missions were still appealing for used postage stamps. I remember this well from my youth. In fact it was how I first came in contact with Kenneth McCabe SJ when he wrote a piece called "Autobiography of a Stamp" for the Shanganagh Valley News which I was editing at the time (1958). I have more recently blogged on this most exceptional man who is sadly no longer with us.

And last but not least my local supermarket with which I have a love-hate relationship. But that's for another day.

Today I paused before the automatic door. Had I approached too close the doors would have opened and I would not have been able to read the amazing poster for dementia inclusive shopping. That clearly is also a subject for another day.

What particularly caught my attention was the advice to some poor demented shopper who might need a rest to sit in front of and outside the automatic door.

I'd say this offer, if taken up, would produce many more demented shoppers on the spot and there'd be no end to it.

Anyway, with all of the above, I hope I have persuaded you that it's good to go out for a walk.

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