27 January 2013

Trying to capture the full moon in winter

Pink and blue hues from the late afternoon sky reflected in the sands of Bettystown (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Patrick Comerford

It has been a busy and joyful weekend ... a Baptism in Clontarf yesterday, two celebrations of the Eucharist in Saint Barholomew’s in Ballsbridge this morning, and I’m still trying to catch up on some work that got delayed a little with a recent health setback.

It was a real blessing to take part in the Baptism in the Church of Saint John the Baptist in Clontarf yesterday, not just because this little boy is the latest member of the family, but it was a particular pleasure to take part in his Baptism on my own birthday.

We went back afterwards to Clontarf Castle for a gathering of a very extended family. The present castle was built in 1837 and was designed by the Irish architect William Vitruvius Morrison for John Edward Venables Vernon. But it stands on the site of earlier castles – some accounts say there has been a castle on this site since 1172, and the Vernon family lived there from the mid-17th century until 1957.

A baptism on my birthday was a real blessing

Later, we decided to celebrate my birthday at Anar, the new Persian restaurant that opened in Terenure village shortly before Christmas. We started with a mixed platter; then there was Vegetarian Dolmeh for one, which was bell pepper and aubergine stuffed with herbs, rice, and diced fresh tomatoes; and Mahi Polo, which was grilled fillet of salmon in a light lemon and saffron vinaigrette, served with basmati rice mixed with finely chopped fresh herbs, including coriander, garlic leaves and parsley. There was wine, halva and coffee too.

As we dined, the place filled and couples who had not made bookings were being turned away at the door. This place deserves to be the success it appears to becoming.

The full moon behind Saint Joseph’s Church in Terenure last night (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Outside later, the moon was almost full as it rose in the night sky behind Saint Joseph’s Church.

That full moon explained the thrashing of the River Dodder at Ballsbridge this morning, as I went for a coffee between the two celebrations of the Eucharist in Saint Bartholomew’s Church.

At the Solemn Eucharist at 11 a.m., it was a delight to meet, among others in the congregation, a former Dean of Ferns, two students from the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and a former colleague from The Irish Times.

The churning waters of the River Dodder in Ballsbridge this morning (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

It was a cold but sunny morning, with clear blue skies. But by the time I got to Christ Church Cathedral the rain had begun to our down heavily. Initially, two of us thought this had put to an end to our plans for an afternoon walk on the beach on the “Gold Coast” of Co Meath. But we decided to go to Bettystown anyway, and booked a table for a late lunch at Relish.

We stopped briefly at Laytown, where the strong southerly wind was skimming across the top of the brown waves and churning up a sea-breeze.

In Relish, during lunch we spotted two trawlers out at sea, despite the weather. Later, when we walked down to the beach, most of the rain clouds had cleared away, and there was a clear view as far as the Mourne Mountains on the south Co Down coast.

A pink hue in the sky was reflected in the wet sands of the long stretch of beach that was silver-blue in colour as we strolled along in the light of the late afternoon.

Trying to capture the moon in winter is a vain exercise ... through the trees at the Orlagh Retreat Centre (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

By the time we got back to South Co Dublin after 6 p.m., the full moon was rising above the M50. We decided drive up the hills, first into the grounds of the Orlagh Retreat Centre, and then up to Kilakee Car Park above Glencullen, as we tried to catch a view of the full moon.

Here there was a glimpse of the moon between the trees, there a glimpse of the moon above the hills or over the lights of the city that spread out below us. However, each time I tried to capture it on camera it defied my best attempts ... the background was too dark, or I could not get the camera to focus on the distant globe.

But then, I suppose, I should have known that trying to capture the full moon in winter is a vain exercise.

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