Saturday, 19 January 2013

Sea and snow on a winter’s afternoon

Snow on the mountains at Kilakee this evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Patrick Comerford

Living so close to the M50 in South Dublin has so many advantages – close to the mountains, close to the sea, and still within easy distance of the airport and the city centre.

Early in the afternoon, two of us went down to Bray for a walk on the beach. Bray is only 20 minutes away, and on our way we could see the snow covering the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains.

Driftwood caught in the incoming tide in Bray this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

This afternoon’s walk was cold and crisp. But despite temperatures close to zero, there was a good number of walkers along the promenade and the pebbly shore.

Down on the shoreline, the waves were rolling and breaking, and while Bray Head was clear, in the distance between the gaps in the houses it was possible to glimpse some snow on the mountains.

Gusto Italiano ... a good choice for coffee in Bray this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

Bray has many good caf├ęs and restaurants, and my favourites include Campo de Fiori on the sea front and Sapori de Campo de Fiori around the corner on Albert Road. But this afternoon for the first time I tried Gusto Italiano on Quinnsborough Road, between the Dart Station and the Main Street.

It proved to be a delightful choice. It’s a tiny place, and it was too cold to sit outside. But we got a table in the cosy balcony area above. The coffee was excellent, the attention was great, and the hand-made biscotti were a genuine treat. This was a taste of real Italy, and on a winter’s day it had me looking forward to a week in Sorrento later this summer.

A balcony view at Gusto Italiano (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)

We had one quick walk back along the Promenade, and on the way back decided there was still enough daylight to have a firsthand look at the snow in the mountains.

We turned off the M50 and drove up past the Hellfire Club and Forest to Kilakee Car Park on the borders of South Dublin and Co Wicklow, overlooking the city. The road further south through the mountains to Glencree and the Wicklow Gap has been closed and traffic was being diverted back down to Glencullen. But the car park was full, and in the fading light of the evening clusters of families were enjoying the snow-covered slopes and making snowmen.

Enjoying the snow at Kilkaee in the fading lights of evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2013)


‘Angels: Heavenly and Fallen’

Patrick Comerford

The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies has announced preliminary details of its 14th International Summer School in Cambridge later this year.

The summer school returns to Sidney Sussex College this year, and runs from 14 to 19 July.

This year’s theme is “Angels: Heavenly and Fallen.”

The speakers will include Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, the Revd Professor Andrew Louth, Dr Sebastian Brock, Aidan Hart, Father Ian Graham, Professor David Frost and Dr Marcus Plasted.

Enrolment is possible on the IOCS website at (with secure payments through WorldPay)

or you can send a cheque together with your enrolment form or you may pay by credit card by ringing +44 (0) 1223 741037.

Further details are available from:

The Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies,
Wesley House,
Jesus Lane,
Cambridge CB5 8BJ,
United Kingdom

(Telephone: +44 (0) 1223 741037, email:

Sidney Sussex College in the snow this time last year ... the IOCS summer school in Cambridge returns to Sidney Sussex College this year (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)