Holiday Travels and Holiday Seasons

Hello from a rainy and busy day in Dublin! As always it has been a very diverse several weeks full of work in the parish, many OCH activities and lots of fun. After the October bank holiday, we unexpectedly had a short holiday of our own because the schools were on their midterm break. After a First Communion mass on Sunday morning, Susanna, Geoff and I took advantage of our time off and headed south to Cork. We stayed with our friend Kathleen who studied with us at Notre Dame and is currently completing her master’s at University College Cork. Kathleen showed us around Cork and we all enjoyed exploring the culture and food scene. When the rain let up on our only full day there, we set off for the Blarney Castle. We knew kissing the Blarney Stone was a big item to check off our touristy Irish bucket list, but we were all stunned by the gardens and grounds that surround the castle. The mixture of the much-needed serenity after living in Dublin; autumnal sunlight streaking through the changing leaves; immaculate and exotic flowers and plants; the Blarney House that seemed straight out of a Jane Austen novel; and having time to leisurely stroll through it all made this one of my favorite days since being in Ireland. In Cork we also connected with some fellow members of the Notre Dame family in Ireland, Brett and Nathan, who are chaplains for the year at UCC. They showed us around great local pubs, gave us a tour of the campus, and showed us some of the most iconic spots in Cork like the English market. This short, unexpected time away to explore and relax was a great way to recharge before a very busy holiday season!

Teach Bhríde Dublin takes on Blarney Castle

We had a week of Halloween celebrations here in Dublin, including the annual party at OCH for the students. This was the first time I’ve celebrated Halloween in such a big way in a long time, and boy did we celebrate! House of Brigid was tasked with decking the party room in cobwebs, pumpkins and ghosts, and we got to lead the students in various silly (and sometimes gross) games throughout the evening. The students came up with amazingly creative and hysterical costumes—the winners of the group costume posed as the Oscar Wilde statue and the rock that resides across the street in Merrion Square Park. Perhaps the funniest part of the night, though, was attempting to spray my hair a violent shade of red-orange and pin it up to pass as Ron Weasley.

We solemnly swear that we are up to no good…

In Harold’s Cross we are moving right along with our First Communion and Confirmation programs, and we just led our second catechetical session with the sixth class students. We have also started thinking about Christmas programs and carol services, which has made us all realize how fast our time here is flying. Before we bust out our Christmas tree, though, we are keeping busy coordinating the Thanksgiving mass and dinner for OCH. These next several weeks will be a lot of balancing our normal workload—school visits, CBL meetings, choir practice—with planning and rehearsal sessions for all of these exciting holiday events. (To sum up the craziness of the season, imagine us having meetings to plan Thanksgiving before Halloween has actually happened when the city is decorated for Christmas.) While all these different activities can occasionally feel overwhelming, the consistent opportunities to strengthen my relationships with friends and colleagues, with my housemates, and with God add so much love, joy and comfort to my life; even in the busiest times I can acknowledge how excited and encouraged I feel to be serving and growing in so many ways.

 

With love & endless French press coffee from Dublin,

Rikki