18 December 2016

Enjoying the winter skies and
sunsets at Malahide Castle

Winter skies at sunset at Malahide Castle this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

Patrick Comerford

These beautiful crisp, bright, clear winter evenings have continued throughout this weekend. Although the weather is due to turn in mid-week, today was another of those surprising winter days, filled with bright sunlight and clear blue skies.

Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent [18 December 2016], and earlier this morning I served as deacon at the Choral Eucharist in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, lighting the fourth candle on the Advent wreath, proclaiming the Gospel (Matthew 1: 18-25), assisting at the Altar, and administering a chalice at the Holy Communion.

The Revd Abigail Sines presided, the preacher was the Revd Canon Dr Maurice Elliott, the setting was Jonathan Darke’s Missa Brevis, and the Communion Motet was Anton Bruckner’s setting of the Angelic Salutation, Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.

After coffee in the crypt, two of went to a niece’s lunchtime birthday party, and then drove further north to Malahide for lunch at the Avoca CafĂ© in Malahide Castle.

Winter colours in the sky at sunset at Malahide Castle this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016; click on image to see full-size panorama in your broswer)

As we arrived at Malahide Castle, the sun was already beginning to set in the west behind the bare winter trees, filling the clear and deep blue sky with streaks of purple, red and orange. These colours in the sky are so unusual in Ireland at this time of the year that they reminded me of the colours on a piece of pottery I bought in Rethymnon in Crete 30 years ago.

After a late lunch, we emerged to the last streaks left behind the bare trees. Anyone within earshot seemed to be struck with awe by the beauty of the scene.

Birds were circling in the skies above, settling on the branches of the trees. But it seemed that every time I tried to capture their movements and sounds they stopped, and just as I stopped filming they started to circle and sing again. It was an easy lesson about the futility of trying to capture nature or trying to reduce it a mere 30 seconds on a camera.

I am back in Christ Church Cathedral tomorrow [19 December 2016] to preside at the mid-day Eucharist at 12.45 p.m. and for the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at 8 p.m. It promises to be a busy week.

Silhouettes in the skies at sunset at Malahide Castle this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2016)

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