05 November 2019

A few days in Bratislava,
the capital of Slovakia

The Arcadia Boutique Hotel on Frantiskanska Street is in the heart of the old city of Bratislava, a building that dates back to the 13th century (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Patrick Comerford

I am in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, for the next few days, celebrating some landmark dates in the family. I arrived on a Ryanair flight from Dublin earlier this morning [5 November 2019] and I am staying in the Arcadia Boutique Hotel on Frantiskanska Street, in the heart of the old city.

I have already strolled through the old town this afternoon, and the attractions on the doorstep include Saint Martin’s Cathedral, Gothic churches, palaces and castles, the Museum of Jewish Culture, the banks of the River Danube and the other sites that make this a charming European capital.

During the Third Crusade (1189-1192), it is said, the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa stayed at a building on this site. The hotel building claims to date back to 1290, with memories than date back seven or eight centuries, housed in mediaeval buildings that have been transformed into a romantic hotel, but retaining its vaults, old ceilings and winding corridors.

Evidence of a Celtic settlement in the area in the 3rd century BC has been found in the cellar, archaeological research has revealed indications of a Roman settlement at the site, and objects from the 12th and 13th centuries have been found in the hotel grounds. Inside, the building retains fine works in wrought iron from the Renaissance, Baroque and Classicism eras.

Františkánska Street was originally a street leading up to Bratislava Castle, and buildings were built on only one side of the street. The original buildings included the Franciscan Church with the Chapel of Saint John the Evangelist, the monastery garden and the Franciscan monastery.

In the first part of the 15th century, this street slowly developed into an area for craftsmen, including stonemasons, knife grinders and coopers, who worked alongside the city wall.

The building served as the headquarters of the Hussite movement in Bratislava in 1432. As a legacy from that time, a chalice as the symbol of the Hussites was carved in stone into one of the arcades in the building.

The hotel’s cellar, now used as a wellness area, is the oldest part of the building and offers a fine example of Gothic vaults. On the first floor, there are examples of late-Gothic wall ornaments and stone window frames.

The arcades in the central courtyard area, which now forms the hotel’s lobby area, are among the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in Slovakia. The Renaissance-era vaulted ceiling in the cocktail bar is decorated with Baroque ornaments.

During my few days here, I hope to post on this blog about my visits to churches, castles and the cathedral. I am planning to visit the remaining sites of Jewish Bratislava tomorrow [6 November 2019], and may even take the bus to neighbouring Vienna, the capital of Austria, which is about an hour away.

Join me over the next few days on this blog, if only for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, as I explore what for me is a new venture in a new European capital.

Parts of the hotel are said to dates back to the 13th century (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2019)

Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin
notes in ‘Newslink’ November 2019

Victor Gardiner conducts the Harvest Auction in Askeaton

Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes

Rathkeale, Askeaton, Castletown and Kilnaughtin

Priest-in-Charge: The Revd Canon Patrick Comerford,
The Rectory, Askeaton, Co Limerick.

Bishops’ visit

Autumn is soon going to turn to winter, the leaves are falling, and November is a time to look back and to remember. But this is also a time for new beginnings, and new school boards are coming into office. The Sunday before Advent, when we celebrate the Kingship of Christ was once known as ‘Stir Up Sunday’ … a reminder that soon we begin to prepare for Christmas.

November also sees the Bishops of the Church of the Church of Ireland as a group visiting the Diocese of Limerick and Killaloe, with the Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, on the weekend of Friday 15 to Sunday 17 November. This initiative of the Primate gives the bishops an insight into parish life in each diocese.

The weekend theme is the Disestablishment 150 theme, ‘Free to shape our Future.’ Each bishop is visiting a group of parishes, and Bishop John McDowell of Clogher is visiting the parish groups of Limerick, Adare and Rathkeale. The bishops will also join Choral Evening at St Mary’s Cathedral at 5 pm on Saturday.

Parishioners are encouraged to attend the cathedral evensong, when Archbishop Michael Jackson of Dublin is the preacher. It is followed by a buffet meal in the cathedral for all – bishops, clergy, congregation – with an opportunity to continue the conversations.

Harvest decorations in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton

Harvest Thanksgiving and Auction:

Canon Aisling Shine, of Raheny and Coolock and Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, was the guest preacher at this year’s Harvest Thanksgiving in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton. Victor Gardiner conducted the Harvest Auction in Askeaton Community Centre.

The Harvest, the auction and the collection at the Fifth Sunday service in September, have raised over €800, which is being distributed between the Anglican mission agency USPG; the Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal; the Children’s Ark Cancer Support unit in Limerick Regional Hospital; and Shannon Estuary Mud Search and Rescue.

Clothes Swap:

The autumn ‘clothes swap’ in the Rectory raised €800 towards a playground, supporting a baby with Downes’ Syndrome and his family, an irrigation system and a new road provided by Sue and Kevin Kelly in Amagdoul and Timscrene, villages in the Ourika Valley in Morocco.


● Congratulations to Kenneth Smyth, Deegarty, Askeaton who won ‘the Machine of the year Perpetual Shield’ at the National Ploughing Championships in Carlow.

● Congratulations to Victor Smyth, Deegarty, Askeaton, on his engagement to Gillian Morey from Cork.

● Congratulations to Andrew and Carol Langford on the birth of their son Conor, a brother for Harry and Jonathan.

● Congratulations to Isobel and Tim and Isobel (nee Griffin) Spriggs on the birth of their daughter Ebony Grace, a sister for Alexander and Charlie, and to her grandparents, Gerald and Kay Griffin, Newbridge, Askeaton.

● Congratulations too to Susan and George Shorten on the recent birth of a new grandchild, Rory George McCarthy.

November Services:

Sunday 3 November (IV before Advent): 9.30, the Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton; 11.30, Morning Prayer, Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin, Tarbert.

● Sunday 10 November (III before Advent, Remembrance Sunday): 9.30, the Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Castletown Church; 11.30, Morning Prayer and Remembrance Sunday Commemoration, Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale.

During the visit of the Bishops of the Church of Ireland to the Dioceses of Limerick, Killaloe and Ardfert, and Tuam, Killala and Achonry, parishioners are invited to meet the bishops as they visit groups of parishes, and in Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick:

● Saturday 16 November: 5 p.m.: Choral Evening, Saint Mary’s Cathedral, with bishops, clergy, readers and parishioners. Followed by buffet meal in Cathedral for all.

● Sunday 17 November (II before Advent): 9.30, The Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Saint Nicholas Church, Adare, Co Limerick (with Bishop John McDowell of Clogher); 10.45, A service in the Tralee and Dingle Group of Parishes (with Bishop Ferran Glenfield of Kilmore), to be confirmed (watch the Parish Facebook page)

● Sunday 24 November (The Kingship of Christ): 9.30 a.m., Morning Prayer, Castletown Church; 11.30, the Parish Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Holy Trinity Church, Rathkeale.

Harvest decorations in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton

This is an edited version of the Rathkeale and Kilnaughtin Group of Parishes notes in the November 2019 edition of Newslink, the Diocesan Magazine of Limerick and Killaloe (p 30)