16 March 2012

The setting sun bursts through on Saint Patrick’s Eve

The setting sun on Saint Patrick’s Eve ... seen from a mound beside Saint Patrick’s Church of Ireland parish church in Donabate this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

Patrick Comerford

The announcement that Archbishop Rowan Williams is retiring at the end of the year and moving from Canterbury to Cambridge to become Master of Magdalene College in January hardly came as a surprise this morning ... rumours of a move like this had been flying around in academic circles in Cambridge when I was there earlier last month, and Magdalene was one of three colleges I heard named in conversations over the dinner table and in combination rooms.

This is a return to Cambridge, for Rowan Williams was an undergraduate at Christ’s College, where he studied theology, and he returned to Cambridge in the 1980s as a lecturer and Dean of Clare College

I first meet Dr Williams at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury in 1998, when he was Bishop of Monmouth and I was part of the media team, including reporting for the Church of Ireland Gazette.

The news came late in the morning. It had been raining for most of the morning in Dublin, but by lunchtime, two of us decided to head north to Laytown and Bettystown on the “Gold Coast” of Co Meath for a walk on the beaches.

The grey clouds that had brought the rain earlier in the day were still cloaking the coast and stretched out east on the horizon and north too, so that it was only possible to catch the outline of the Mountains of Mourne on the coast of Down.

A window box in the courtyard at Relish in Bettystown, Co Meath, at lunchtime today (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

We postponed our walk and opted instead for lunch in Relish, overlooking the beach in Bettystown. We were given a table near one of the two bay windows, and enjoyed a leisurely hour or more over our meal.

An ugly spot on the beach in Bettystown this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

Although the low grey clouds were still hanging in the skies when we had finished, we went for a walk on the long, sandy stretches. The tide was out, and there were few people on the beach at Bettystown this afternoon. Close to the Neptune, an apparent burst pipe was gurgling its content out onto the beach, uncontrolled and looking like a horrid little volcano.

Grey skies but beautiful sands on the beach in Bettystown this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

But the stretch of rippled sand was unspoilt otherwise, and despite the lack of sunshine or warmth we enjoyed our stroll.

Thousands of daffodils stretching over the horizon in a field in Gormanston, Co Meath, this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

In Gormanston, we stopped awhile to admire a filed full of thousands and thousands of spring daffodils, stretching over the brow of a hill and on to the horizon.

Sunset in Portrane this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

We then visited Portrane briefly, and just as we are about to drive back to south Dublin, the setting sun started to break through the clouds and bathe the Portrane and Donabate peninsula in glorious shades and hues of red, orange, pink and purple.

Standing on a small mound in the churchyard of Saint Patrick’s Church of Ireland churchyard in Donabate, I snatched a closing glimpse of the setting sun. It was an appropriate setting to see the setting sun on the eve of Saint Patrick’s Day, and a splendid close to the day at the end of a very demanding and hard-working week.

No comments: