Sunday, 1 November 2015
It was more like early summer
today than the start of winter
Although the sun was low all day, it was almost like the beginning of summer today, with bright sunshine, blue skies and, eventually when I got there, blue skies and golden sands at the beach in Malahide.
The day began with the Choral Eucharist in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, where I served as deacon, reading the Gospel and assisting at the administration of the Holy Communion.
Arriving at the cathedral, the day was already bright, sunny and warm , and it was difficult to believe that we are about to face into winter.
Today [1 November 2015] is All Saints’ Day, and this was reflected in the readings (Wisdom 3:1-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21: 1-6a; and John 11: 32-44) and the hymns, including ‘For all the saints, who from their labours rest,’ written by Bishop William Walsham How (1823-1897) as a processional hymn for All Saints’ Day and set to the tune ‘Sine Nomine’ (‘Without Name,’ referring to the great multitude of unknown saints) written for this hymn by Vaughan Williams while he was co-editing the English Hymnal (1906) with Percy Dearmer.
After coffee in the crypt, two of us went to Malahide Castle for lunch at the Avoca Café. The castle has a setting that is almost appropriate for an Irish fairy tale, and the place was full with families and tourists enjoying the exceptional opportunity to spend the afternoon in the open.
From Malahide Castle, we made our way to the beach at Malahide, where it seemed like a perfect day for sailing, with clear views across to the Donabate and Portrane peninsula.
A few people were out on boats and kayaks, one man was paddling a surfboard, a few children and a dog were enjoying the out-of-season opportunity to paddle in the water, and – despite the warning signs – one brave or foolhardy man took the risk and got into the water for a swim.
All along the coast road from Malahide through Robswall to Portmarnock, people were out walking in large clusters, enjoying this exceptional, unseasonable, sunny day.
But it is not going to last for long.
On the way back to South Dublin on the M50, fog moved in from the east coast and came down like a blanket on much of Dublin.
But while it lasted, this was a beautiful All Saints’ Day.