22 May 2011

An afternoon of bliss in Skerries

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul … Looking across the fields at the mills in Skerries towards Holmpatrick Church and the sea beyond (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

Patrick Comerford

This has been a busy weekend. At Evening Prayer yesterday, we marked the end of the NSM (Non-Stipendiary Ministry) course with the presentation of diplomas and certificates. Some of the students will be back for future graduations, but there is going to no further intake on this course.

Who knows what next year holds in store?

Later, at the celebratory bar-be-cue, the MTh students made thoughtful and generous presentations to their NSM colleagues, and the weekend came to a close this morning with our end-of-year Eucharist, at which I presided.

As students bade fond farewells to each other and exchanged dates and details for the deacons’ ordinations that continue through to September, I caught a taxi into the city centre. The area around Christ Church Cathedral has been sealed off in preparation for President Barack Obama’s visit to Dublin tomorrow, but two of us strolled in the rain from the Chapter House down Lord Edward Street to The Larder in Parliament Street for lunch.

Once the rain eased off, we drove out to Skerries, where someone had asked for a copy of one of my photographs of the Harbour for her daughter who is now living in England.

The pebble garden at the back of The Olive is an attractive and enticing sun trap on a Sunday afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

The rain continued to hold off as we then went for coffee in The Olive in Strand Street, my favourite café in Fingal area.

Peter and Deirdre have now opened a new pebble garden at the rear of the café, and with today’s winds but warm sunshine this proved to be a suntrap and yet a gentle oasis of calm this afternoon as we sipped a double espresso and an Americano.

Back out on Strand Street there was an extra buzz in Skerries – the sixth formers in the Community College had graduated this morning, and there was a strong feeling of families having fun together.

Blue skies and blue waters at the North Beach and the Harbour in Skerries this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

From there, we walked up to the cove-like North Beach beside the Harbour, and then on by the Sailing Club and out onto the harbour and the pier. Despite all the weather forecasts, this was a beautiful, relaxing afternoon in Skerries, with sunshine casting a silver sheen across the harbour waters.

We walked back along the South Beach, with clear views across to Rockabill and Shenick, before picking up the papers in Gerry’s, and driving out to the mills. On my last visit I had missed photographing the thatched four-sail windmill.

On the road back to Dublin, it was past 5.30 but they were still playing cricket at the Hills Cricket Club. North Co Dublin is a stronghold of cricket, and earlier in the afternoon as we were passing by Kenure, I noticed there was a lively game going on at Rush Cricket Club.

If the summer sunshine truly arrives this year, I can imagine a few relaxing weekend afternoons in Rush or Skerries watching cricket, walking on the beaches, strolling around the harbours, or simply sipping coffee in the pebble garden at The Olive. That would be bliss, would be a blessing for both my soul and my body, and would do a power of good for my sarcoidosis.

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