Cill Mhantáin

We left Kilkenny (Cill Chainnigh) for Wicklow (Cill Mhantáin) on Friday morning passing through County Kildare (Cill Dara) to make it for lunch with Jane, her mom Sally, and her two boys, who Fr. Kerry knows from his parish in Caringbah, and arrived after 1PM. We wanted to visit the Kilkenny Design Centre when they opened at 10AM.


After lunch, we settled in at the Grand Hotel of Wicklow across the street from St. Patrick’s, the local Catholic parish. We had signed up to celebrate a couple of masses there, as the assistant pastor was heading out on vacation, and the pastor had two churches to cover. So Fr. Kerry took the Saturday 6PM mass, while I concelebrated. And I would take the Sunday 10AM mass, while he concelebrated. The pastor, Fr. Donal, had a 7PM mass at St. Joseph in Rathnew (Ráth Naoi), about 45 minutes away, and a 9AM on Sunday. Needless to say, he was happy to have us fill in. We had dinner with Jane’s family after mass.

At 11:30AM the parish celebrated an annual mass at the old Franciscan Abbey across from the Grand Hotel. It was a short walk down the hill from St. Patrick’s. After mass, there was food and music and games. We visited with many people who were much impressed that they had an Australian priest and an American priest at their parish mass and picnic. So I remembered my people at St. John the Evangelist in Waynesboro at all three masses. Who knows where we will be next Sunday? Then after a short respite at the hotel, we joined Jane’s family again for an evening barbecue. Sally’s brother Mickey and his wife Marie were there. The last time we were in Wicklow in 2012 we had dinner at their home. It took me a few seconds, but I did remember them when they came up to meet us after mass. We had a great time, and I invited them all to Waynesboro when we dedicate the new church. So get ready folks. I might need some help housing some Irish guests! The Australian will stay with me.

While at the picnic, we met a local historian, John Finlay and his wife. From the Irish Independent, “In 2013, John released his publication ‘Footsteps through Wicklow’s Past.’ The well received book contains 261 pages and charts the evolution of Wicklow town from the first settlers to the end of the Civil War and beyond. The book is also illustrated with over 170 colour photos and is available from Bridge Street Books. All the profits go to local charitable causes.”


Monday morning after breakfast, Sally came by after dropping the boys off at summer camp. We said goodbye … or as they say in Ireland:

Is féidir leis an éirí an bóthar leat,
Is féidir leis an ghaoth a bheith i gcónaí ag do chúl,
Is féidir leis an ghrian Shine te ar d’aghaidh,
Titim an bháisteach bog ar do réimsí agus,
Go dtí go gcasfar le chéile sinn arís,
Bealtaine Dia a shealbhú tú ar an dtearmann a lámh.


And translated for the rest of us:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Next stop, Cork (Corcaigh).

Rolo B Castillo © 2015

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