Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Are you looking forward to
a white Christmas this year?

Snow at Askeaton Friary on the banks of the River Deel (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

Are you dreaming of a White Christmas?

With only a week to go to Christmas, I have been busy preparing services and sermons, season liturgical and preaching resources for priest and readers in the Diocese of Limerick and Killaloe, carol services, crib blessings, Christmas dinners, mulled wine and mince pies with parishioners in the Rectory … as well as a funeral, visiting Saint Mary’s Cathedral in Limerick, committee meetings in Limerick and Rathkeale and school visits in Rathkeale and Askeaton.

I was in the Rathkeale No 2 National School twice this week, speaking at the school assembly about the meaning of Christmas, and at the reception this afternoon after the children’s play and carol service.

I was also in Colaiste Mhuire twice in the past week. This is the community secondary school in Askeaton, and I am a member of the Board of Management.

I was asked to present a mounted and framed copy of one of my photographs of Askeaton in the snow to two exchange students who are returning to Spain after spending a term in Ireland.

The photograph shows the Franciscan Friary in Askeaton in the snow. It was taken last year when I was snow-bound in Askeaton and was forced by the bitter weather to cancel a planned visit to Warsaw.

The wording on the back of the photographs reads:

‘The Franciscan Friary of Askeaton lies by the River Deel to the north of the village of Askeaton, Co Limerick. The Friary was founded either in 1389 by Gerald FitzGerald (1335-1398), 3rd Earl of Desmond and Lord Justice of Ireland, or in 1420 by James FitzGerald FitzGerald (c.1380-1462), 7th Earl of Desmond.

‘The extensive remains of the Friary and its surroundings represent an imposing mediaeval architectural landscape that was probably planned intentionally in the early fifteenth century. The Friary’s cloister is intact and an image of St Francis is carved into the cloister arcade to remind the Franciscan friars of their patron saint as they went to and from Divine Office.

‘Askeaton Friary, Winter 2018, Photographed by the Revd Canon Professor Patrick Comerford, Priest-in-Charge of the Rathkeale Group of Parishes and Precentor of Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick; member of the Board of Management, Colaiste Mhuire, Askeaton.’

Perhaps these photographs will remind these two teenagers of life in Ireland and what winter weather is like here. Perhaps they will make some of the staff members who were at these presentations wistful for a white Christmas.

Reminders of a white Christmas … with staff and students in Colaiste Mhuire, Askeaton, this week (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

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