29 August 2019

Valentia Island

For fifteen years of our lives while we were still in the Church of England, we would still, in late August, be spending seven weeks at one of the loveliest places I have ever known: the island of Valentia, off County Kerry near the bottom left hand corner of Ireland. The sort of jokes the English make about the Irish, are, in Ireland, made about the people of Kerry; and, in Kerry, are made about the people of Valentia. But they are, in my view, marvellous people, friendly, articulate, ever curious. We went there because, during the summer months, the Church of Ireland opened up a church there for the holidaymakers (there being no Church of Ireland parishioners permanently living there), and provided a chaplain's house.

I am reminded of Valentia every morning as I say my Latin (EF) Mass; you see, during our visits I got to know, very well, the Parish Priest, Fr John Shanahan, a gracious, generous, and well-read man. Having mentioned to him that I stood in need of an Altar Missal, and Did he have a very old one that his church wouldn't miss, I found a very nice 1950s missal in a bag on my doorstep. It must have been bought back in the glory days of the Irish church; during the Marian Year of 1954, commemorating the centenary of the Proclamation of the Dogma of the Immmaculate Conception, when the then Parish Priest had a derelict slate quarry transformed into a very creditable representation of the Grotto at Lourdes. On Assumption Day Fr John and I used to go there and lead his congregation (with the addition of one or two of my Church of Ireland people) in the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.

If you want to go to a holiday spot with fishing, water sports, regattas, ogham stones, ancient monastic sites, fossilised tetrapod footprints, choughs, razorbills, gannets, fulmars, puffins, seals, dolphins, oysters, scallops, lobsters, subtropical gardens, fantastic walks ... you can't do better than Knightstown, Valentia. And don't forget to say your rosary in the Grotto.


Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. Beautiful. Thank you

Dan Hayes said...

Dear Father,

Yes,Valentia is very impressive. I recall that RTE (the Irish BBC) once had a grotto concert there that, due to the vagaries of Irish weather, was nearly flooded out.

coradcorloquitur said...

How does one get to Valentia? I want to go.