Raise a Glass

This week featured some of the fun of wrapping up a year of life here in Ireland.

Molly and I shepherded our fourth and final group of Kennedy Park students through their class mass, celebrating Mary, the Mother of God, in mass on Tuesday while Jess and Kurt’s sixth and final group from Scoil Mhuire celebrated the Sacred Heart of Jesus yesterday. We also teamed up to give the second-class students from Scoil Mhuire their tours of the Clonard churches and sacristy, allowing them to learn about the chapels and all the trappings of the sanctuary.

It’s also a time for social lasts as many of our friends call on us for one last hurrah. Yesterday, Kurt took me with him to Gorey, where we met his spiritual director and our friend, Fr. Tom, who had recently been transferred to a parish up there. Kurt treated Tom and I to lunch, and Tom showed us around Riverchapel/Courtown, his new home. Today, Sr. Mary and Sean took us up to Glendalough for one last pilgrimage and hike through the valleys and hills of Wicklow.

Tonight, we host the folk group for some desserts in our house, ahead of our last Sunday mass and our humble contribution to the first mass on Monday for Pat Duffy – who will be ordained a priest of Ferns on Sunday. Monday, our pal Fr. John-Paul is taking us on a tour of Enniscorthy to see the castle, 1798 centre, and rest of the 1500-year town. We’re also invited out to dinner with Ruairi and Therese next week.

But wait there’s more – we had the privilege of being the audience for Scoil Mhuire’s 6th-class show: Disney’s Mulan, complete with faces-painted-white ancestors, an army of Huns, and a burly bunch looking to “make a man out of you” (though their voices have not yet broken). We were delighted by their performance. It’s quite the testament to the commitment that the faculty/staff makes at Scoil Mhuire to giving their students great opportunities to discover their gifts.

On a side note, Kurt and I have finished our quest to patronize every pub (at least those of respectable repute) that we could in Wexford. A pint at The Wren’s Nest last night took our count to 18. We can proudly report that the best pint of Guinness is tapped at The Sky and the Ground while our favorite place to sit down for a pint and chat is The John Barry.

We have a tradition (ND alums have a tradition!?) in Teach Bhride when we have drinks with each other and with friends and visitors: after clinking our glasses for a “cheers” or “slainté,” we tap the glasses to the table in a nod to those who aren’t with us, can’t be with us, or wish they were with us. We’ll begin going our separate ways from the Teach on July 1, so we’re coming up on the part where that now-familiar tradition will have to reach across the Atlantic from our places in the US to include the people we’ve come to know here.

This is my last pass on this blog, but I’ll continue keeping my personal blog as I move on to Palm Desert, CA, and Xavier College Prep HS. A hearty slainté to all our friends, family, and fans, and ma we cheers to each other in thanksgiving and tap the glasses to the table in a nod to Teach Bhride 4’s imminent beginnings in Ireland in August.