It all started as a walk on the beach at sunset with Puppy Stan. The horizon was pencilled out and had me looking foward:
Puppy Stan was in pensive mood and was basking in the here and now:
We couldn’t resist driving out along the Copper Coast just to see how it looked in the gloaming.
Driving along, I was very conscious of the word ‘year’ and how the Irish language seems to capture ‘last year’ and ‘next year’ so much more deeply than English does.
‘Last year’ is ‘An bhliain seo caite,’ literally,’the/this year spent/used up,’ and ‘Next year’ is ‘An bhliain seo chugainn,’ literally, ‘the/this year toward us.’ I love the way the Irish is so much more dynamic and, indeed questioning, than English.
Pondering on all this, I nearly missed the fact that the door of the Catholic Churchv in Bonmahon was ajar. I couldn’t resist stopping and seizing the opportunity to go in and see how it was looking.
The building that is now the church has served a host of different functions as a little notice on the gate post outlines.
It was originally built as a Temperance Hall as drunkenness had been a major problem for the mining company that was operating in the 1800s. A locally based temperance movement led by priests managed to wipe out drinking in 1839 through exhortation by the usecof “Temperance Police.” From 1840, the miners could come tobthe Hall, join the Temperance Band and drink non-intoxicating beverages.
The building was used as a famine-relief centre in 1846-7 and then became a fever hospital before being converted into a church.
The church was empty when I was there and I could feel its past enveloping me. My instinct was to light candles in memory of those who had spent time there in so many different capacities:
Another part of me longed to ring the big bell outside the church to summon all the members of the local community for a celebration of the very last Friday of 2016.
But I didn’t have the guts. Maybe when I am older and grayer and decked out in purple, I will!
For now, it’s time for bed as The Wishing Stones Ritual for New Year’s Eve is almost upon us.