Rise and Shine: It’s Time for Mass (and Women’s History)
By Victoria Rudd
Today, January 27, we traveled the short distance from Templeglantine to Duagh for a mass at St. Brigid’s Church. I was expecting a traditional Catholic mass, as those I have attended in the past. I quickly realized, though, that this was not going to be the case. Father Pat Moore and the rest of the congregation very kindly welcomed us preceding the mass. Everything was as I had experienced before, albeit quicker than American Catholic masses, until the Lord’s Prayer. As the congregation said “Our Father” I continued reciting the prayer in English, until I quickly realized that it was being said in Gaelic! I listened intently to the beautiful Irish language being spoken in unison. When it came time for communion, the choir started singing “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comforts me…” and I innately began singing along, until I realized they were singing “Let It Be” by The Beatles! The icing on the cake was the following song: U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”! Father Pat even incorporated the message of this famous Irish band’s song into the mass. The experience I had at Sunday’s mass was unforgettable and unlike any I have had before.
After mass we were invited to have a lunch made by Father Tom’s cousin, Betty, in the house next to the church. Having spent the past three weeks frequenting various restaurants, pubs, and fast food joints, eating a homemade meal was quite a treat! As we sat with Betty during the lunch, I came to find out that all of this food was fresh, containing no preservatives. She described how, years ago, each member of a village shared his or her food with all the neighbors. Trips were only made to the stores once or twice a year, usually for things such as tea or sugar. Betty was disappointed with how food is now being imported and contains preservatives. After tasting her cooking today, I share her sentiments! The difference between fresh products and those that are preserved is incomparable!
Having satisfied tummies, we learned about Irish women’s history, specifically those in rural areas, impacts in the early 20th century from Mary McAuliffe. She has a very personal interest in these women, especially those who were part of The Organization of Women, better known in its Gaelic form as “Cumann na mBan.” Her grandmother became a part of this organization, earning three medals for her contributions to the organization. She told us about the various ways they helped in the War for Independence and the Civil War. While we had previously heard about women’s contributions to the 1916 rising in Dublin, we were able to gain a new perspective about this group of supporters in more rural areas. From hiding guns under their skirts, to maintaining safe houses, to handling the Black and Tans when they came to the family houses, these women contributed in an unbelievable number of ways. What I found to be most shocking was the age of most of the women who joined this organization. They were generally in their late teens and early twenties! When Mary told us this, I tried to put myself in this situation, risking my life as a mere teenager in the hopes of a creating better country! It is definitely unfathomable!
Inspirational Words and a Pub in the Bogland
By Christina Tognetti
After we met with Mary Mcauliffe we got the chance to sit down with Father Pat Moore and listen to some stories and a few wise words. I found what he had to say to be very inspiring. He started with a story that created the foundation of his faith. He said that when he was in high school two people died. This caused him to start asking himself philosophical questions about what comes after this life and how there must be more. He then went on to describe how he believes that one can form relationships with Christ and that this relationship nourishes us just as food nourishes us. I found everything that Father Pat Moore said to be deep and inspiring in some way which made me really enjoy listening to him speak.
He then set a silver chalice down on the table in front of us. He explained that in the 1700s it was forbidden to have mass in Ireland so people would hide their practices. He continued by saying that in 1923 a farmer was cutting up peat (accumulated partially decayed vegetation used to fuel fires) and delivered some of the peat to a priest living in the very house next to the chapel we were sitting in today. The priest was throwing the peat into the fire and while doing so found the silver chalice in it. Father Pat explained that this chalice is small enough to be hidden up a sleeve so it was probably used to say mass long ago. He said that this chalice is so special because it’s incredible “how that bit of silver found its way back to where mass was being said again”. It is crazy to think about but Father Pat said it’s things like this that bring a thread of hope.
Father Pat taught us that bringing hope and happiness to the Duagh community is important. One way this happiness is created is through their drama and humor in the community. In order to raise money for a new sports and leisure complex they put on plays based around comedy. The first two plays were titled “Wart” and “Pimple.” They are made to make people laugh and uplift the spirits of the community. The plays were so popular they raised 10,000 euros in only four nights.
Just as he was finishing up his talk with us he said a couple very wise words that I scrabbled to write down as everyone was getting up to leave because I didn’t want to forget them! The first thing he said was “if you send the right notes out into the universe the people that need to hear it will.” This was so great to me because it’s so true. You don’t need to get a message across to everyone but just to the important ones. The second thing he said was “the opposite of depression is expression.” He was commenting on how great it is that we as a class write things down because we express ourselves by doing this and that we should continue to do so.
After mass and lunch we went to Roche’s Pub to meet Jimmy Roche and his wife, who own the pub, along with a man named Joe Harrington who is the former mayor of Limerick. Joe told us about that area we were in called Lyreacrompane and how it became a bog because people cut down all the trees so the land became bog land. Also he said that the area is made up of “town lands” which are all one square mile areas that have different names and communities. Joe also explained that there is a Dan Paddy Andy festival there every August that is very popular. After a few of the girls and I had a nice conversation with Jimmy Roche and his wife over a few drinks while some of the boys played a couple fun games of pool we headed out and continued on our way to Killarney where we will be spending our last week in Ireland! Later we learned that our visit made it onto the Lyrecrompane website.