20 June 2014

Sometimes it is a joy when
imagination becomes reality

Imagination and reality ... on the beach on the Coast Road south of Malahide this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

Patrick Comerfo4rd

I stayed up too late last night, watching the World Cup. After seeing England being beaten solidly by Uruguay, it seemed their exit from the tournament was all but sealed. There were six Liverpool players on the field, but the one who was playing for Uruguay ensured England’s defeat.

Nonetheless, I was still keeping my hope in Greece. And that hope was badly blistered later in the night as a 10-member Greek squad barely managed to hold out for a score-less draw against Japan.

Greece now has to hope for a win on Tuesday night against Côte d’Ivoire, which has already beaten Japan and lies second in Group B.

The agenda for the Us (USPG) conference in High Leigh next Tuesday has been altered to allow us time to watch England play Costa Rica at 5 p.m. But the result, as they say is academic, and the real clincher in Group D – after Italy’s defeat at the hands of Costa Rica this evening – is going to be the match at the same time between Italy and Uruguay.

Having stayed up too late for my own good last night, three of us went for a late lunch this afternoon in the Gourmet Food Parlour in Malahide. The restaurant is a wonderful location, with full-length windows looking out to the coastline at Robbswalls, the sea, the sands of the Donabate Peninsula, and Lambay Island looking so like a floating whale out in the Irish Sea.

Even there, though, it was impossible to get away from thinking about football – the restaurant also calls itself MU GFP Malahide – no, and to save this ABU fan’s blushes, not after Manchester United, but after Malahide United, whose grounds and premises are shared with the Gourmet Food Parlour.

For a brief moment we had wondered whether we should have continued further north to Bettystown on Co Meath coast. But the reports this week of heavy water pollution in Bettystown and a slow response from Meath County Council put a quick end to that discussion.

Looking out to Lambay Island from the rocks and the sand at Malahide this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

As aunt and niece continued to talk at a table outside after lunch, I walked down to the Coast Road alone and stepped down to the shoreline, where Low Rock leads to High Rock, interspersed with tiny sandy coves and little sheltered beaches.

It was a bright, warm sunny afternoon, and small groups of families and friends were enjoying the sunshine and the water, venturing in to swim, while to the south in the distance, near Portmarnock, a small cluster of sails was a sign of sailing lessons in summer bliss.

Joggers and strollers were enjoying the pathway along the Coast Road, and the walls down to the shore provided extra protection against the breeze, making the afternoon feel sunnier and warmer than it really was. It is a joy when imagination becomes reality.

I was back in time to watch the Italy v Costa Rica match which was being played in Recife in Brazil, and in an idle moment recalled that Dom Helder Camara had once been Archbishop of Recife.

Dom Helder Camara was the Brazilian archbishop who was one of the inspiring figures in Latin American liberation theology. As a young priest he served in the ghettos of Rio de Janeiro, where he began to speak of the unjust structures of poverty: “When you live with the poor, you realise that, even though they cannot read or write, they certainly know how to think.”

It was he who spoke at Vatican II, of God’s “preferential option for the poor.”

His response to those who denounced him as “the red bishop” sums up his theology: “When I feed the poor, they call me a saint; when I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.”

Dom Helder Camara died 15 years ago on 27 August 1999, at the age of 90, but his dreams live on with those who share his values. Yes, sometimes it would be a joy to see imagination become reality.

Dreaming dreams ... a door into a secret garden at Robswalls in Malahide this afternoon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

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