Sunday, 31 July 2011

A weekend wedding, but no walk on the beach

It was too wet for a walk on the beach in Portrane this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

Patrick Comerford

I was back in Dublin on Friday to take part in my niece’s wedding on Saturday afternoon. Deirdre Donnelly and Ruaírí Higgins were married in the Roman Catholic Parish Church of Saint John the Baptist, Clontarf Road, Dublin.

The church dates to the appointment of the Revd James Callanan as Parish Priest of Clontarf in 1829. He bought a house that is now home the Holy Faith Convent, and approached Colonel Vernon of Clontarf Castle for a site for a new church. Archbishop Murray laid foundation stone on 16 June 1835, and it opened in 1838. The church was designed by the prominent Dublin architect, Patrick Byrne. The church was enlarged in 1895, with the addition of 17 ft at the chancel end, a new high altar, pulpit, altar rails, sacristy, bell and belfry.

Saint John’s Church, Clontarf... the venue for Saturday’s wedding (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

Father Terry Murray officiated at the wedding, and I was asked to read the Gospel and to bless the rings. The Gospel reading was John 15: 9-17:

Jesus says: “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”

The bride and groom, Ruaírí Higgins and Deirdre Donnelly, with their best man and bridesmaid, Dáire Higgins and Fionnghuala Donnelly, in the Parish Church of Saint John the Baptist, Clontarf Road, on Saturday afternoon

On to Portmarnock and Portrane

Saint Marnock of Portmarnock in commemorated in the new chapel and meeting room in Saint Andrew’s Church, Malahide (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

The reception was in the Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links, which has sweeping views across the sand dunes and the lengthy sandy beach at Portmarnock, and which has its own historic and royal associations with weddings.

The hotel stands on land originally part of the Jameson family estate, and the house was called Saint Marnock’s House, remembering the early patron saint who gave his name to this area. King Edward VII often visited the Jameson family, and on his last official visit in 1907 he unveiled a plaque designed to mark the marriage between members of two great Jameson and Haig distilling families.

The Jameson family had a nine-hole golf course on the site over a century ago, and Portmarnock has interesting associations with Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the wireless, whose mother was Annie Jameson, and with the pioneering aviator, James Mollison (husband of Amy Johnson), who took off from Portmarnock Beach on 18 August 1932 for the first solo east-west crossing of the Atlantic.

Despite the cloudy weather this morning, there was a beautiful view of the sea and the shoreline this morning on the way from Portmarnock along the coast to Malahide, for the Parish Eucharist and a baptism in Saint Andrew’s Church, Malahide.

A window in Saint Andrew’s Church commemorating Richard Wogan Talbot, 5th Baron Talbot of Malahide, 2nd Baron Talbot de Malahide, who died in 1921 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

The church has interesting stained glass windows in memory of members of the Talbot family of nearby Malahide Castle But the connections with ancient links with Portmarnock are not forgotten, and the new extension is known as Saint Marnock’s Chapel.

From there it was on to Portrane, to help out at the bookstall in the big marquee at the sale organised by my Lynders cousins in aid of Heart-to-Hand. This three-day sale takes place each year and raises funds for projects in Albania, Bosnia, Moldova and Romania.

By late this afternoon, thick clouds covered the whole Portrane area, and heavy rain was coming through the canvas of the large marquee and on all the stalls. There was no possibility of a walk on the beach. It was time to go home, in the hope that the fine weather returns for the last day of the sale tomorrow [Monday 1 August 2011].